encouraging our students to create a positive digital tattoo

what is your digital tattoo or footprint?

As part of our Online Safety Training earlier in the Autumn term, we learnt about digital footprints. We want our students to understand that when they visit a website, share a photo or make a comment on their social feeds or websites, they are leaving a digital footprint that other people can see. Your digital footprint is all of the information that someone shares or that is collected about you.

A lot of the information that we share can be seen by others. If you search online for a product you are interested in you will notice you then receive a lot of ‘remarketing’ advertisements on your social feeds or pop up advertisements on websites that you then visit. This is because companies can track your activity on their sites and can then target you for advertisements.

Similarly, information that you share, comments you make and sites you search on could also be seen by a potential employer years in the future.  

Your Digital Tattoo can be both good and bad. It could show impressive things you have done that you are proud of. It could also show things that you will be embarrassed about later.



how to encourage young people to protect their privacy online


Here is some advice about privacy:

Check and set your privacy settings correctly

Lots of social media sites will set accounts to public by default. Students are encouraged to make sure they check them and change them to private as this lets them control who can see their posts and whether they will appear on search engines.

Do not post anything that you are not sure of – think first

We never know who will see photos, videos or comments we put online so we ask students to think about how others might react before they post anything. Even apps like Snapchat can be screenshotted and shared. We tell students to never share their address, phone number or the name of their school online.

If you regret something you have posted then delete it!

There are lots of ways to delete things about yourself online. We advise students that it can help to close or delete old social media accounts they don't use anymore as well.

Search your name – if you find something then others can also see it

Typing your name or your username into a search engine can help you find what’s easily available about you online. We suggest checking what data their device is collecting. Devices like phones and fitness trackers can collect data about us without us realising. Every device is different so we encourage students to search online to find out if your data is being used.

Set permissions for apps and websites

Lots of apps will ask for permission to use your data when you install them, including things like your contacts, photos and messages. We warn students to be careful about what they agree to and pick apps and browsers that protect their privacy. When they visit sites and are asked whether they accept cookies, we encourage them to make sure they check what the website says about how they’ll use them before they agree.

Live streaming

Students should be aware of their content and conduct and know that there is software out there that allows viewers to record and publish their live streams.

Be careful what you like

We tell our students:

  • Not to post or agree with anything that may be offensive or in appropriate
  • Not to share inappropriate photographs of themselves. If they are unsure then they should ask someone else but we advise they should go with their gut. If they fear it may not be appropriate then do not share.
  • To disable their GPS (location) while they are at home to allow for better privacy.
  • To take regular breaks from the internet.  

how can we delete things we have shared and now regret?

  • We tell students they can ask the website to take their comment or post down
  • We advise them to change their privacy settings and then remove any ‘friends’ or followers they do not know or trust.
  • If someone shares a nude or sexual photo or video of them they should know this is against the law and that they should report it.
  • If they cannot remove something then we encourage them to edit it instead.
  • We stress the importance of reporting bullying online to the social platform.

create an online digital tattoo to be proud of and be kind to others

girl on floor on ipad

During our training, we learnt that it is wise for young people to incorporate some suggestions in order to create an Online Digital Tattoo to be proud of. Their Digital Tattoo will remain with them in the future and may be seen by potential universities they are applying to or to future employers who may use Cyber Vetting as part of their recruitment process.

Here are some ideas to make a positive impact:

  • Blogging is good – It is good to have a blog that highlights personal interests, charity and fundraising work they may do.
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin – we advise students to follow universities and future employers and engage with their posts – if they can see you are interested in them this will look impressive.
  • Website – we advise students to create their own website so they can control and publicise their creativity and interests.
  • Share positive parts of their life we ask them to try sharing things they would be happy with anyone else seeing, things they are proud of.
  • Be kind and supportive to others - we advise positive comments to other people, and for them to try to always be supportive and positive.  

find out more


read more articles about online safety

  • here is our article from Safer Internet Day about the potential dangers of online gaming

Learn more

find out more

  • find out more about UK Guardianship with Bright World and how to join our programme

read more from the NSPCC

  • read more about online safety and how to report concerns