Your digital footprint. Or is it yours?

This is a guest post by the @digitalsisters who are Emma and Charlotte Robertson, founders of Digital Awareness UK. I first met Emma and Charlotte at BETT 2015 and I was really impressed with their approach to e-safety. I asked them to contribute to my blog and they kindly agreed.

When we deliver our Employable Digital Footprint Programme in schools, we challenge students to think about what they would like people to find when they “Google” them. And not just any people – potential employers, teachers or Universities they might want to apply to attend.

One of our favorite classroom debates questions “should you be judged by a future potential employer based on something silly you posted 10 years ago?”

We like it because usually the ‘no’ argument leans towards people believing in freedom of expression – whether that’s in relation to politics, religion, your music taste or even your ex-girlfriend! The very purpose of social media, especially for young people, is that it’s a platform for them to reveal their identity and voice their opinion. If political correctness and clean imagery were a key requirement for social networking it probably wouldn’t last long!

The ‘yes’ argument usually leans towards the opinion that if you choose to post a silly picture of yourself or even a racist comment, which could offend people, you have to expect that people will judge you for it moving forwards.

Your digital footprint is the trail of information you leave behind you when you do anything online – the things you buy, the keywords you search for, the comments you make on Facebook or your profile picture on Twitter. Michelle Clark has done a fantastic TED Talk on digital footprints and the impact they have on young people today:

As time passes, we’re slowly starting to discover that not only do these behavours get sold onto third party marketing companies; they can also be used as a character reference.

Research by ExecuNet showed that 77% of recruiters said they used search engines to find background data on candidates and 33% admitted they eliminated a candidate because of what they found online. This is where things get interesting. If you “Googled” a candidate and found this picture, would you consider hiring them?

Sellotape Selfie

So whether students like it or not, when it comes to the crunch they may get judged based on something they’ve done 10 years ago.

However, there are also many plus sides to having a digital footprint. You can purposefully create things online to ensure that when employers or Universities do Google you, they find something that showcases you in a more positive light. This could be a careers blog, an infographic CV or well-populated LinkedIn profile.

Once students have done a clean up of their digital footprint (if that’s what they wish to do)! We focus on the positive side, and brainstorm creative ways to get yourself noticed online.

There are five simple steps you can take to helping to protect your digital footprint and this is something we hammer home to our students:

1. Check the security settings on all your social network profiles to ensure the content you’re posting is as secure as you want it to be
2. Use nick names if you don’t want to use your real identity
3. Delete old, disused social profiles such as Bebo, which may contain content that doesn’t reflect you in a positive light
4. ‘Report’ any content of you that you wish to be deleted to social networks. Or work with Google/the webmaster of any website you feature in to get it deleted. Click here [hyperlink: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/4628134?hl=en%5D to find out how
5. Moving forward, think before you post!

Digital Awareness UK use leading YouTube stars, hackers and social media specialists to inspire students to enjoy using social media safely. If you’d like to work with them to help bolster your e-safety efforts, get in touch with Emma and Charlotte at http://www.digitalawarenessuk.com or tweet @DigitalSisters


Cyber Safety: Social Media, Cyberbullying and Sexting (Year 10 Presentation)

This is a copy of a presentation I gave to Year 10 students on Cyber Safety. It covers social media, cyberbullying and sexting. Although this is heavy going I think it is still important when talking about this subject matter that you also talk about how positive social media can be, when used appropriately.



Professionalising The Use Of Social Media: Research in Practice (Presentation)

This is the presentation I gave at the Research in Practice annual meeting about Professionalising the use of social media. It was a great morning and I met some amazing people who are really interested in using social media.


Developing An Effective E-Safety Policy (Presentation Included)

This is one of the presentations I gave at the ‘How to Deliver an Effective Computing Curriculum’ day by Government Knowledge on 12th November.

Special thanks to Alan MacKenzie (@esafetyadviser). For more information head over to his website: www.esafety-adviser.com

FB Guide_trimmed

Use Facebook in School: Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

A couple of months ago Facebook published ‘Facebook Guide for Educators’ which I was lucky enough to contribute to. Here is a taste:

“Schools are beginning to use Facebook Groups to communicate with students. This is a very powerful tool for sharing information and collaborating with students from a safe distance. Facebook Groups do not require members to be friends with each other. Members of the Groups can exchange files, links, information, polls and videos very quickly. Anytime someone contributes to the group its member will receive a notification. If you have the Facebook smartphone app these can be pushed to your device. Facebook Pages can also be used to create a central Page for students and teachers to share information”

Matt Britland,

Head of ICT at Kingston Grammar School

This is a fantastic document for those who are thinking about using Facebook in their institution or even those who are already using it.

The document includes lots of information about how Facebook can be used, case studies, guidance on privacy settings as well as how you can introduce Facebook at your school.

You can download the guide below:

Facebook Guide for Educators

I have recently completed a trial of Facebook use in my school which you can read below:

Using Facebook Groups in School

You can also read a guide to social media in schools below:

Social Networks in School

If you would like more advice on social media or would like me to come and speak at your school, head over to Realise Learning and get in touch.


Top 5 Tips on Using Social Media in Education (Presentation)

I have just finished a webinar for Optimus Education entitled ‘5 Top Tips to Safely and Effectively Utilise Social Media as a Tool to Support Learning’ and I wanted to share the slides. Have a look and feel free to download if you like it.

On the 15th October I am also speaking at ‘Design and Deliver an Outstanding Secondary Computing Curriculum‘, again, for Optimus Education. It will a great day and you can sign up using the link.

If you would like a speaker at a school, conference or webinar head over to www.realiselearning.co.uk.


Assembly – Online Reputation (Presentation included)

On monday, I did a presentation to the middle and upper school on ‘Online Reputation’.

It is a really important topic and I feel our kids need to know the importance of having a positive online presence.

The adapted presentation is available below:

I also would like to thank Alan Mackenzie (@esafetyadviser) for his help.