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1. Introduction to Understand Your Digital Footprint

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Every time you go online, you leave behind data -- or information -- about yourself.

The online information about you that exists as a result of your activity on the internet is called your digital footprint.

People may look at your digital footprint to find out more about you, such as college admissions officers, potential employers, companies that would like you to buy their product, and even criminals. For example, potential employers can view information about you on your social media accounts or even your friends’ accounts.

Or companies may be able to see your search or purchase history.

They can use this data to develop opinions about you, make assumptions about your likes and dislikes, and try to sell you things. Sometimes you are aware of the data you are leaving behind -- for instance, when you fill out a form, make a purchase, post a comment, or upload a photo. Other times, it’s not obvious that you are contributing to your digital footprint. You may be unaware that you leave data behind when browsing the internet, or that your location might be embedded in the photos you post.

It is important to be aware of all data you create on the internet so you can decide if you want to share it or not. In this lesson, you will think about all the things that make up a person’s digital footprint and list them in a spreadsheet. Then, you will mark all the actions you take and use conditional formatting to paint a picture of your digital footprint. Complete this lesson by yourself or with a group. If you are working in a group, get together with them now. If you don’t have a group, ask your teacher.

This lesson uses Google Sheets, but you could complete it in any spreadsheet application or even with pen and paper.

To work on this lesson, sign in to your Google account.

Open a new tab in your browser, and navigate to Google dot com. If you are not signed in, do so now.

If you do not have a Google account, pause the video and create one now.

To begin, open your Google Drive. Have one person in your group create a new spreadsheet and rename it.

Share the spreadsheet with each person in your group.

Then, move on to the next video to start painting a picture of your digital footprint. Now, it’s your turn: Sign in to your Google account, And open and title a new spreadsheet.


  1. Sign in to your Google account.
  2. Open and title a new spreadsheet.