Matters

What goes online, stays online

Digital footprintEvery time you use social media, buy or sell something online, visit any kind of website, send or receive an email, find your way using a mapping app or save a photo to the cloud, you add to your digital footprint. The same goes for downloading music, making Skype calls and using voice assistant. Every time you post a photo of your children or your friends, you add to their digital footprint too.

When an ad for something you've shown interest in online pops up on Facebook it's because of your digital footprint. When you don't get on the shortlist for a job because of something you posted five years ago, that's because of your digital footprint too.

Your digital footprint is part of your online history and can potentially be seen by other people or tracked and held in databases. In the most serious cases, it could lead to your family or friends becoming victims of fraud or identity theft, it could put your children at risk of criminal activity and your records could fall into the wrong hands, including perpetrators of organised crime.

Thankfully, there are simple steps that you can take to reduce and change the nature of the impressions that you leave online. Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and Get Safe Online have put together some expert tips to help you minimise your digital footprint, or make sure it's a good one. To improve your online footprint just visit www.getsafeonline.org/yourdigitalfootprint

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