Primary: Digital tattoo

Once stuff about you goes online there is no knowing who will see it, or when they will see it.

What’s the issue?

Things that are posted online may seem like they are ‘here today, gone tomorrow’, but this is not the case. When images and videos of our ‘bad hair day’ or latest crazy exploits are posted online they can end up anywhere in the world and be re-used in ways that we never intended—even years later.

Why does it matter?

  • Other people cannot see inside your head, so the ‘you’ that they know is the one you show them through what you say and do. This includes your offline self and your online self.
  • We form impressions everyday about people we don’t know personally. We use whatever information we have to do this, for example, pieces of their work, pictures of them or comments they made in a forum. Other people will form opinions of you in exactly the same way.
  • Digital material is no longer under your control once it has been shared, even if it is only shared with people you trust. Once stuff about you goes online there is no knowing who will see it, or when they will see it.

Advice

Prevention is better than trying to mop up later

Think twice before putting material online what would this look like to your grandparents, your teacher or your friends? What about in 10 years time?

Keep things in perspective

Be realistic about the impact of what has gone online—if it is a bit embarrassing but otherwise harmless, learn from the experience and move on.

Be clear about who you want to be online and offline

Let other people know that you don’t want them putting embarrassing material about you online.

Printable advice sheets

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