How Students’ Digital Footprints Can Affect Them Long After They Leave Your School

Digital citizenship lessons often focus on Internet safety, online predators and cyberbullying.

While those conversations are vital, students need always to be aware of what they do online and how their posts, photos and comments can impact them beyond their K-12 years. Here are just five ways that students’ digital footprints can impact them long after they leave your school.

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]Colleges admissions committees and hiring managers.
Colleges and employers are looking at what students are doing online. Often, what’s online comes with little context or no explanations at all. If the first impression comes from an unsettling post on a social network, many students might not have an opportunity to redeem themselves.

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]What’s on the Internet will never go away.
Students have to be mindful that the delete button isn’t a magic trick to make a photo, post or comment disappear. Remind them to keep this in mind when they’re sharing sensitive information like addresses, phone numbers or personal details about their lives.

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]A picture is worth 1,000 words.
A photo from a fun birthday party or spring break trip might not have the same sentimental value to someone unfamiliar with the person who posted it. While students only see a good time with their friends, outsiders could read more into what’s happening in a photo. For example, does that red Solo cup have water or alcohol in it?

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]Parents and teachers know how to use the Internet.
Students often try to keep their activity on social networks and mobile apps from parents and teachers. What they often neglect to realize is that adults can be pretty savvy with technology too. Without much digging, parents or teachers can stumble upon student posts and profiles.

shutterstock_136558250 [Converted]With maturity comes regret.
The older we get, the more we think about the silly things we did as a child, a teenager or even as a college student. It’s hard for students to imagine even themselves a week from now let alone years from now. Make an effort to help students think a bit more into the future.