Digital Footprint

Digital footprint: How Does It Matter for Students?

As a parent, you must love the footprints of your child on the sand when you take them to the seashore. But not all footprints are good, especially digital footprints. In today"s tech-savvy and modern world, we are surrounded by various websites, apps, gadgets, etc. Students use them too, just as frequently as their parents. Whenever your child creates an account on a website or an app, there are different types of information that are requested: name, contact number, email, birthdate, and much more. Some may even capture the residential address. Do you know where all of this information goes? As a parent, it is important for you to be aware of a digital footprint. 

What is a digital footprint for students?

It is essential for students and their parents to understand what a "digital footprint" really is and how it might affect them when they utilize digital services. The internet. A digital footprint is the trace or record left by the activities you perform online. Your social media activity, information on your personal website, browsing history, online subscriptions, photo galleries, and movies you"ve submitted—in short, anything bearing your name. Digital natives, such as today"s students, never think before putting their names on anything digital, so their digital footprints could be quite large. For students who have grown up in a social and digital environment, educating them to realize where and how they are susceptible is possibly the most important step.

Digital footprint examples

Here are some examples of digital footprint.

  • IP address

  • Search history

  • Photos and videos

  • Device information

  • Social media posts

  • Online comments

  • Online reviews

  • Newsletter or course subscriptions

  • Online shopping preferences

Types of digital footprint

There are two types of digital footprint - active digital footprint and passive digital footprint.

Active digital footprint

  • An active digital footprint occurs when students voluntarily reveal personal data with the aim of publishing information about themselves through a social media platform or website. 

  • When a user logs into a site or publishes a post with a verified username, this sort of footprint is saved. Sharing posts on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a common example of this.

  • Not only do students leave digital footprints when they post on social media handles, but also when they complete a survey or subscribe to a subscription.

  • Students must understand that whatever they publish or share online with friends may be viewed by individuals they don"t know, so it"s important to control their digital footprint wisely.

Passive digital footprint

  • This sort of information is gathered without the students" knowledge. 

  • When a student uses an internet service, their digital footprint may be saved in an electronic database. 

  • The data kept may include the user"s IP address, the date and time the footprint was created, and how the user arrived at that specific page. All of this data contributes to the digital footprint, which may later be examined or distributed.

  • In an offline environment, a digital footprint may be saved locally in directories that can be viewed by various kinds of administrators to determine what activities have been conducted on a certain device.

  • As the name indicates, "passive" digital footprint is one that is created passively without the user being aware of it.

What happens to your digital footprint?

Your digital footprint is frequently used to gather personal information about you, such as demographic data, passwords, purchase history, and interests. 

Cookies, which are small files that websites keep on your system after your initial visit to track user behavior, might be used to collect information. 

When you shop online, companies frequently set cookies on your computer, allowing them to follow your actions from website to website and develop tailored promotions based on those actions.

Why are digital footprints worrisome?

Society criticizes a person in real life based on their online behavior. When data is made public, it is rather permanent and cannot be deleted. The person has no or limited influence over third parties who utilize it.

  • The significance of data might be misconstrued, affecting both your career and personal life.

  • Before hiring new employees, companies will examine their digital reputations and behaviors.

  • Cybercriminals are continuously looking for methods to make your life more difficult by generating phony IDs.

How can students safeguard their digital footprint?

It"s time to figure out how students can lessen their digital and carbon footprints.

  • Establishing privacy settings and limiting who may view your social media streams can help to create boundaries between the private and public domains.

  • Account management is critical. Whether it"s a social network account or a shopping portal account.

  • Take caution in all digital activities and limit the sharing of information.

  • Students should be encouraged to Google themselves on a regular basis to observe what shows up when they type in their complete names.

Pros and cons of a digital footprint for students


  • Establish the trust factor with organizations and get better career opportunities.

  • Identify fraudulent activities quickly.

  • Personalized social media and professional profiles add more weight and value.


  • Organizations can sell or distribute  the personal credentials for monetary benefits.

  • Advertisements and spam messages will bother students all the time.

  • Risk of identity or data theft.

  • Damage to personal reputation.

  • Unsolicited messages from businesses and brands.

  • A bad digital footprint may result in the formation of negative sentiments about a particular student.

Students create digital footprints whenever they go online, whether inside or outside of the classroom. It is vital for parents and teachers to establish a secure online environment for pupils to learn, play games, and browse the internet. Students should understand how they are being followed digitally and what data they are sharing online. Instructors and parents should promote secure internet use and ensure that  students understand exactly what they are doing digitally.