Digital footprints


At our workplace,  or in our surrounding where we live,  it is quite impossible not to know others’ business. As a  parent, we build around our kids an environment of trust and security.  It makes them unaware of the dangers of the social media and therefore very vulnerable to the dangers that are present in the social media. It is our duty as parents to make our kids aware that they must make  informed and responsible use of the Internet. Confrontations or direct advices are normally not taken positively by many of us because of various reasons beyond reasoning. The more educated we are, we and our children normally think that no one is really qualified to advise us on the responsible use of  the internet. Emotions play up and spoil the genuine intentions.
The need now, more than ever before, is to communicate the messages of responsible use of social media using the form which is more acceptable by everyone. The advice must be given in disguise by the authority. We, as parents need to identify what our children like the most, be it  poetry or music, we need to use the same as a tool to advice them on internet addiction. The social media tools which we are habituated to, can ideally be used to reach out and propagate messages such that it is heard and understood.
The Internet is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to us.  It cannot be held responsible for our behaviour or misery. Social media cannot be blamed for our inability to understand how it can be used to empower ourselves, our family and society as a whole.
There was a time when our teachers were the authority on most of the matters. I am doubtful now that they have that kind of authority over their students for the simple reason that they are out of sync with  technology, or they fail to explore and express their field of expertise. It has been observed that we do not  possess the passion that is needed to be a teacher. Most of us are teachers for the simple reason that we must do some job.  We as teachers must have a clarity between condemnation and observation by a parent. Being defensive to every comment will not make us a good teacher or a good human being.
There is enough knowledge present in public domain which can be accumulated if we are willing to perceive. Receptivity happens only when our level of perception is tuned. Truly what is needed is our ability to understand things as is, rather than to hear the things which makes us proud and happy.
Most of the time we are faced with the truth that contradicts our current path and it is difficult to accept it. It is very hard to make certain behavioural changes. Addiction to social media and internet is harmful to your productivity and personal well being. Behavioural change is certainly possible with the personal commitment. We must create awareness around us about the digital footprint. Digital footprint is very similar to carbon footprint which impact our physical environment, the digital footprint can impact our personal livelihood. It is the fact that we leave our browsing history in the world wide web and if we are not careful enough there is a possibility that we may get trapped in this web.

By signing in and by giving strong password to a online resource, you cannot claim that you are safe with the application you are using. Every interface in your digital device records and keeps logs of your navigations and actions for many reasons. When we make a choice  to make our life  go public it is difficult to keep it as a secret. What we record, we may delete from the digital interface which we are using, but is it really getting deleted? No way, lot of things don't get deleted. Social media has a social graph which has a global map of every one, how individuals are related, the family, the friends, the people, who you chat with, each and everything is recorded. It is a place where our life events and interests are stored. There is a serious consequence for leaving our thought and actions on the social media. There are universities which study the applicant's social media interactions, profile pages and comments he has posted. There are many instances that they ignore the application because  the applicant’s profile page cannot be approved. It is not only universites, the social media exchanges are utilized by the enquiring employers. Employers do their research before signing you, your digital footprint is a decisive factor in getting your dream job. The freedom of expression exists for only those who are ready to sacrifice their career.
It is not only what you post that is recorded as your digital footprint. There is something called data exhaust which constantly keeps record of your activities, i.e. if you own a digital device. Data exhaust is the data generated as a byproduct of  peoples online actions and choices. The website you visit, The mobile application you use or the online services you consume leaves your digital footprint. You are leaving your data exhaust every day as you speak to your family or friends on the phone, text messages you send, posts on your social media sites and apps, or by just walking through your city by holding your smartphone or smart watch which records the places you visit and the path you travel. Different antennas are picking up your GPS data and that is the reality. The business's you deal with online, study these data exhaust to improve their services as well as to know your preferences so that they can offer you the choices you would like to make for their benefit.

Whether it is facebook, youtube, instagram or whatsapp, before you upload and download please slow down. Take time, think,  consider, how would this instant information impact your  hopes and dreams. How could these careless communications be interpreted or published. You never know  what you may become in future, and your opponents will dig deep into your past, using your digital footprint, where you do not have any words to defend yourself. What is the solutions for this self created trouble? How can we really be safe. If aspects of your life are private you should keep it that way. You need not post every step and achievements of your life on the social media. We don't have to constantly co-exist only by the Internet connection. There is a whole world out there which you can perceive with your five senses. You can reach out outside the social media where you may leave a memory in the minds of others but please, do not leave your  digital history for scrutiny by unknown people.
So once again, when you sign in and post in social media, be thoughtful who you tag, because we understand our digital decisions have lasting impact. Life has no control Z to undo the decisions. Use the internet for your personal growth. It is a remarkable resource to our personal growth if you make intelligent decisions. If we empower ourselves to  censor what we enter through our keyboards, life will be beautiful.