Your digital reputation is based on the traces and activities you do while online. The term digital foot print is used to describe the trail, traces or footprints that people leave online. It is up to each individual to protect their digital footprint. All of your online content adds to your digital reputation, which may affect your future study and employment prospects. This includes: memes, text messages, emails, posts, images, photos, videos, comments, likes and dislikes, online memberships or groups, websites you visited and even your search history.
8 steps to improve your Digital Reputation
Start today! There are easy and practical steps to improve your online reputation.
1. Protect your content and give yourself a Digital Check Up. Reduce the risk of being catphished. Turn on your privacy settings and review your friends list.
2. Remove content you can control. You can take control of what you let other people see. Ask your friends to remove any content you don’t like. This includes images, memes and posts.
3. Remove content from sites you can control by contacting site administrators or using the eSafety Commissioner’s assistance.
4. Start making positive posts and let others see you for who are and what you do.
- Be positive by looking at what you can do rather than just focusing on the negative.
- Be nice online and compliment friends.
- Be yourself and someone real, not an artificial construct of selfies. Let’s face it everyone’s on to instasnap fakery nowdays.
5. Don’t gossip. Online gossip can turn into bullying very quickly. Once you post it consider it published forever.
6. Build offline time into events: no more head down on the phone or a constant stream of selfies. Technology should compliment your life and not take over your social arena. Give yourself time to focus on relationships and the real world around you.
9. Limit Advertising and use privacy
7.Build offline time each day and include day off of social media. Focus on your real life and work you have to do. Include a one full day of being offline.
8. Plan your time online and make it meaningful. Get the most out of your time online. We need to establish a realistic time balanced with real life.
- Think about what you are going to do and set a goal. Is it making a post? Checking a friend’s account? Just surfing online?
- Set a time limit and stick to it.
- How and when are you going to get offline, or have a concrete exit strategy.
- Think about what you will do to stop and how you will stop
- Know the cues from your parents when they are upset.
- Prioitise real life over gaming.
Digital Check Up
1. Do a web search or ‘Google yourself’ and use other search engines such as Bing, Duckduckgo or Qwant. Remember to use nicknames and different spellings. Do a general search, image search and news search.
Using a privacy based, no track search engine will bring back different results, not just the ones suggested for you by popular tracking and monitoring search engines.
Be thorough and also check social media to see if someone has made a false account pretending to be you. If they have report them immediately and seek help from a responsible adult.
2. Check your privacy settings
Take the time to search them and check what you’re sharing in: chat, images, posts, likes and account details.
Your ‘Likes and dislikes’ say a lot about you.
3. Review your friends
It’s amazing how many fake, catphish, accounts there are online. If you are suspicious of an account use ‘google images‘ to see if the images are attached to any other accounts.
4. Your friend count should be realistic
Reduce your risks of your identity being stolen or being victim of someone social engineering. Do you really know these people. Don’t rely on friends of friends saying oh, I know them. Talk to your parents about your friends list.
Use strong passwords and individual passwords. Using a single source login (aka using Facebook or Google) is a convenience but what are you giving up in privacy?
6. Check ‘Terms of Service Didn’t Read’
Check out TOSDR to see what information you are allowing service providers to collect about you.
7. Delete old social media accounts
Delete accounts on old platforms. Older social media platforms aren’t as maintained as newer ones and content may become accessible by hackers. Save off older photos and delete them.
8. Delete secondary social media accounts
You’re only fooling yourself if you don’t think these can be tracked or linked to you. This is another reality check for those with extra accounts. They can all be linked back to you and your hidden or private content will cause you more than harm than you think long term when it becomes public.
9. Maintain your devices.
Take responsiblilty for your online activities and reduce your risks to online exploits:
- Install software updates
- Run virus checks regularly
- Delete Apps you’re no longer being used however remove account details and user data.
10. Take responsibility and start being positive online today!
Something has gone wrong online
Breathe and Pause. Saying ‘don’t panic’ won’t help how you feel, nor does saying that lots of others have faced it before either. Just realise its not an exclusive club and you are not alone. It also means processes have been put in place and there are a lot of people with resources to help you! Use those resources.
Do not approach the person in real life. Look after yourself and take a breath. Understand that you are physically safe and do not risk being alone with the bully or culprit. Do not respond to them and….
OK. Less talk more action….
Tell someone you trust immediately, that’s the trick here, reach out to a responsible adult as soon as you can. A responsibile adult is someone like your parents or teacher, school cyber safety champion or school counsellor. They have your best interest at heart, they can provide support and will not judge you.
Everyone makes mistakes.
Think before you post
As a rule of thumb if you think at any stage ‘could I get in trouble?’ do not post, do not hit enter or do not like it!
Use the online THINK and SPACE guidelines which may help you decide what to do, regardless of whether it is a written post, an image or video.
T H I N K !
Think before you post online. Would my Grandma be ok with me sending this?
Consider the possibilities and THINK:
T: Is this true?
H: Is this hurtful?
I: Is this illegal?
N: Is this necessary?
K: Is this kind?
S P A C E !
Give yourself some space and just pause before your like or hit enter: Consider giving yourself some SPACE:
S: Stop, you don’t have to post anything.
P: Pause, get up and walk away, the longer the better.
A: Assess, THINK what will happen if you post it.
C: Check, talk to a responsible adult. What do they say?
E: Execute ONLY if it passes, otherwise DELETE it and move on. Be positive online!
If at anytime you do need to pause … its a good indication you shouldn’t send it online.