Lesson 5: Digital Footprint

You will be thinking about the actual content that will go into your personal website in future lessons. This lesson will help you articulate what personal information you choose to share digitally and with whom. It also reinforces the notion that much of the information that you choose to share digitally falls largely out of your control the moment it is released.

You will begin by individually identifying appropriate audiences with whom you would be comfortable sharing given pieces of personal information. Then you will look at several social media pages to determine what sorts of information people are sharing about themselves or one another. Last, you will reflect on what guidelines you think are appropriate for posting information online.

The ultimate point of this lesson is not to scare you, but rather to experientially bring you to realizing precisely what level of control you don’t have in releasing information into the web.


Students will be able to:

  • Understand and explain reasons that it is difficult to control who sees information published online.
  • Understand and justify guidelines for safely publishing information online.


  • Digital Footprint – The collected information about an individual across multiple websites on the Internet.

Warm Up (10 min)

Your Digital Footprint

  1. Consider what websites you have given personal information to. In your Word Online file for this class, come up with a list of websites that you have accounts on (even if you use sign in with Facebook, Google, or similar).
  2. Record your responses to the following in your Word Online file for this class:
    1. What kind of information do you think these websites might have about you?
    2. What information do you know you’ve given to a website (eg. your email address)
    3. What information might you have unknowingly given to a website (eg. a picture with your home address)
    4. What information might other people have shared about you without your knowledge or permission (eg. tagging you on Facebook)

Activity (30-40 min)

How Much Do You Care About Privacy?

  1. Get the activity guide to “When Does Your Privacy Matter?” from your teacher.
  2. Individually, complete the grid on the front side of the activity guide. Think critically about the consequences of each audience having access to each piece of personal information. What might seem like an innocuous piece of information might have far reaching consequences depending on who has access to it.
  3. Once you have completed the privacy grid, get into pairs. Look for cells in each grid where your partner marked a different answer than you did and discuss your choices. Respectfully debate when you disagree on an issue. While there are no right or wrong answers here, it’s useful to hear how others may have considered consequences (both positive and negative) that you didn’t think of.
  4. After the small group discussion, complete the reflection questions on the next page of the activity guide.
  5. Were there any places on the grid where your discussion with your partner changed your perspective? If so, what were they?
  6. Share places where you changed your mind.
  7. Turn in the completed handout

 Investigating Social Profiles

Goal: Explore how small pieces of personal information spread across multiple sites on the Internet can produce a fairly detailed picture of a person, known as a digital footprint.

  1. Get the activity guide to “Social Sleuth” from your teacher
  2. Go to Lesson 5 in Code Studio and do it.
  3. Turn in the completed handout when you are done.

Wrap Up (5 minutes)

  1. The activities today focused on how social media websites contribute to a digital footprint. As we prepare to publish our first web pages, you’ll need to think about how those contribute to your digital footprint.
  2. In your Word Online file for this class, come up with a checklist that you can use to determine what should, and shouldn’t, be posted online.

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