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Have you noticed how you leave your footprints behind when you walk on a beach? I know you feel good about leaving a mark on every life path. It’s not safe to leave a footprint on the internet. “Leaving a footprint on the internet??” If this is the first question that strikes your mind, you need to be aware of digital footprints. With the progression of humanity, technology has taken a giant leap. Nowadays, we are surrounded by several apps, portals, websites, etc. Whenever we log into a website or app, they want us to register our personal data, such as our name, phone number, email address, age, birthdates, and many more. Some apps wish to access our home address too. Haven’t you ever wondered where this information goes? If you have yet to think about this, it’s high time.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have made their place permanent in our standard dictionary. Do you remember a day without these apps? Not only adults but children are also addicted to these apps nowadays. Now, let me tell you what happens when you use the internet. We cannot help leaving a trail of information behind with our posts, reviews, and subscriptions. Did I miss Online shopping? Yes, this also contributes to our digital footprints.
Sometimes you contribute to digital footprints unknowingly, as the websites can track your activity by installing cookies on your device. Apps can collate your data without letting you know. Once an organisation can access your data, they sell to any third party. What is worse? Your personal information could be compromised as part of a data breach. So, leaving a digital footprint means giving these organisations your data willingly. How did you voluntarily provide them with the information? Do you remember clicking “Yes, I accept cookies” when you logged into any particular website? Yes, that is how they took access from you.
Do not be scared already. This blog will educate you on eliminating your footprint. So, take a deep breath and proceed further.
Digital footprints are also known as digital carbon footprints. There is a difference in digital footprints. Some are active digital footprints, and others are passive digital footprints.
An active digital footprint occurs when a user deliberately shares his information with a social networking site or any website. This active participation requires them to register with their name from their device. Not only posting, you leave digital footprints by filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter also.
Can you get rid of digital footprints by not posting on social media? That is not going to happen anyway. You already voted for digital footprint and privacy breach when you signed up as a consumer. Though there are some ways to erase your digital footprint, passive footprints are hard to remove. They are created without the users’ knowledge. When do passive digital footprints occur? It happens when the website collects data like the number of user visits, origin, and IP address. You will not realise that your data is going somewhere because this is a hidden process. Your likes, shares, and comments are tracked and suggested to you specific content. In other words, this process is called users’ behaviour analysis.
In this 21st century, explicit knowledge of digital footprints can help everyone reduce digital footprints. But before knowing how to reduce digital footprints, we must know what impacts it creates and why this process needs to be controlled. Edward Snowden made a historical impact in the last decade in his effort to protect data. He protested against this data stealing and protected our fundamental rights. Therefore, you receive that popup message while entering a website, “Do you want to accept all cookies?” The website still steals your data, but this time with your permission.
Digital footprints are a concern because:
Now, you have all the initial information about a digital footprint. It is time to know how you will reduce your digital and carbon footprint.
Be in charge of your Google search results. You make way for people how easily they can access your information. Keep the privacy settings up-to-date on your profiles to remain private on social media platforms.
Manage your accounts crucially. Be it a social media account or an account on a shopping portal.
Nowadays, you can design your life the way you want. So, uninstall and log out of the apps you are not using anymore.
People often wonder how to find someone’s digital footprint. This is the experts’ job, to be precise. A record of your online activities is your digital footprint. Keeping that record is not easy but controlling them is. So, understand the pros and cons of digital footprints.
Leaving digital footprints does not put you in grave danger. You must be more careful about your online presence to keep your offline life unaffected. Nowadays, your child is also using your phone. Unknowingly, they can click on “Accept all the cookies.” So, there is no use in keeping this information to yourself. Act on it and educate your child too. Proper knowledge of digital footprints for kids is essential in this age of smart gadgets.
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