The Grizzly Gazette

The Student News Site of Los Osos High School

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Digital Footprint Follows

Like the footprints left in the sand behind you as you trail along the beach, your participation with any aspect of the online world has a similar effect. Digital footprint isn’t as forgiving, it doesn’t get washed away by the shore rising, it’s permanent and can alter the way you are viewed by others.

Most people tend to limit what they view as a “digital footprint” to posting on a popular social media app like Instagram, but it is much more than that. Every online subscription, review, shopping cart, or even acceptance of cookies on a website builds up to create your personal digital footprint.

Sometimes you aren’t the only one contributing to your own digital footprint. Installing cookies allows organizations to access your information. The information can then be compromised through a data breach.

It is likely that you have heard of or have been taught about digital footprints in some capacity, whether it was in school as teachers warned that you should be wary of what you’re clicking on, posting, or you were informed of it through some sort of social media. However, as much as this topic is brought up, it seems that less and less people care about what they are sharing on social media. There is a newfound disregard for the line of what should be posted or commented on public platforms.

This is unfortunate because those choosing to carelessly post certain genres of photos and videos, along with comments pertaining to certain topics, don’t seem to understand how easily this can follow them into the future and cause major issues.

In the moment it doesn’t seem like a “harmless” TikTok posted on an account with less than 100 followers could ever seriously damage your life, but it’s fully possible that it can. This could be true unless your video included underage drinking, something that included derogatory terminology, or a political viewpoint that could be deemed as offensive.

Finding this information is no exasperating task either, especially when your accounts feature your first and last name as the username. There isn’t an  issue with this if what you share is wholesome and shines a positive light on you as a person, but it has a polar opposite effect if taking a look at your feed would cause a stranger to immediately consider you a problematic person.

These actions have consequences and it’s clear most people realize how much they can ruin their life by just their digital footprint. 

Your brain might forget about your footprint on social media but that’s the only place that will be as forgiving. Digital footprint is like a ghost you can’t shake, it always has the ability to creep up on you and scare you at the worst times.

The worst part about it is as a person, you are subject to change, and you can stop it. The person you were two years ago could be a totally different person from who you are now, but by documenting and sharing things without thinking you are can make that era permanent.

You can fall victim to this ghost when applying to the college of your dreams. The place you’ve been working towards for a majority of your life could reject you when they stumble across your questionable digital footprint. There isn’t a 100 percent chance that the admissions officer will search you up in order to find information, but it’s an incredibly risky game to play with your future.

It doesn’t stop after your acceptance, there have been multiple events that involve college students getting kicked out of school when offensive content that they created or participated in is leaked and gains the attention of their school’s board. 

A negative footprint can also prevent your ability to get a job, employers often background check and focus on social media before hiring someone.

Besides jobs and colleges, your digital footprint can be something your family sees in the future so you should seriously consider what you include in your neverending online time capsule.

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