How To Actually Delete your Digital Footprint

Helping students understand their digital footprint is an integral part of being a good digital citizen. Knowing that you leave behind a little trail of digital breadcrumbs as you conduct your digital life is useful  – and can even help you in some scenarios (like when you need to hunt down something you remember seeing online, but don’t remember exactly where…). But what happens when you need to delete your digital footprint (or more likely, a part of your digital footprint)? Perhaps you made a few too many online faux-pas, or you’re finding too much of your personal information out there – a likely scenario for students who may not be well informed enough to not put their personal info into every site that asks! The handy infographic (via) below looks at some ways you can begin to erase yourself from the internet’s memory…at least a little bit. Do you have any other tips and tricks? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Keeping Up With Your Digital Footprint

If you find yourself in need of ensuring that your personal information is more than just a click or two away from prying eyes, there are a few steps you can take.

  1. Deactivate the primary accounts that you know you have (social media accounts, in particular)
  2. Search for yourself to find things you may have forgotten about (like that old MySpace account, etc)
  3. Falsify undeletable accounts. If you find an account that you want to delete but can’t – just change all of your personal information to….not your actual information. Think of it as throwing the internet off your trail.
  4. Unsubscribe from mailing lists. It will keep your inbox less cluttered, too.
  5. Delete search engine results
  6. Contact webmasters (when necessary) and ask them to remove information that you can’t remove yourself
  7. Consider data clearinghouses (like Spokeo, Intelius, etc). You’ll probably have to jump through some major hoops to get your information taken off of those.
  8. Check in with your phone company
  9. Delete your email. I’d say this is a pretty drastic measure, and unless you’re headed for the witness protection program or have some other similarly extreme situation, is probably not necessary.

digital footprint