Online reputation

The things online that you have liked, shared and commented on, as well as what others have shared about you, may shape what other people think about you; this is your online reputation.

Questions you may have:

  • Why does my online reputation matter? Open or Close

    Your online reputation could affect how people think about you or even behave towards you. In particular, your online reputation may play a part in big decisions about your future, for example whether someone will offer you a job you apply for.

  • What is a digital footprint? Open or Close

    Your digital footprint is the mark that you leave behind when using the internet and can shape your online reputation. Your digital footprint is made up of the content you create, post and share; as well as the content that others post, and share, with you and about you.

  • How do I see my own digital footprint? Open or Close

    The best way to see your digital footprint is to search your name online. Using a search engine, find out what information about you is visible to the public. If you have a common name, you may find it helpful to add other key words, such as the place you live or the name of your school, to the search.

  • How can I remove negative things appearing when people search my name online? Open or Close

    If you have shared something online that you regret (e.g. an embarrassing photo or offensive joke) the best thing to do is delete the original post.

    If someone else has shared something negative about you, start by removing any tags that link directly to your account and asking the person who posted the content to delete it. If they refuse, there may be options to report it and have it deleted that way.

    Sometimes you may find that lots of people have shared something, making it difficult to remove completely – in this situation it’s important to speak to an adult you trust for help and support.

  • Will privacy settings protect everything I share online? Open or Close

    Privacy settings are a really useful tool to help protect the things you share online, but they are not a guarantee that your content is secure. Your friends or followers can screenshot your content and share it on, or they may show other people using their device.

  • What should I do before sharing or posting something online? Open or Close

    Take time to think – how will this reflect on you now and in the future? Be careful not to share personal information, content that might upset or offend others, or content that you may be embarrassed by in the future.

  • I’ve posted something online that I regret, what can I do? Open or Close

    Firstly: don’t panic. Take it down as quickly as possible, to limit the possibility of it getting shared on. If you think you might have upset somebody with what you shared, reach out to them and remember that saying sorry can be really powerful! If it does come up in the future, be honest and acknowledge what you’ve learnt from your mistake. Remember, nobody is perfect and people will always make mistakes – it’s just that yours happens to have been recorded on the internet!

  • I’m spending more time online than before, how might this affect my online reputation? (COVID-19) Open or Close

    Your online reputation is shaped by the things you like, share, and comment on, as well as the things that others post about you. If you are spending more time online right now, thinking about your online reputation is as important as ever. There are steps that you can take to manage and protect it, like using privacy settings. It is helpful to regularly audit your social media apps, to make sure you know who can see your activity. Remember, whatever you share between friends can still be shared further, so think carefully about the content that you post. Lots of people are doing amazing things online during the pandemic – so if you have done something to help others, why not use this time to create a positive footprint!

Top Tips

  1. Use a search engine like Google and look yourself up online regularly to see what your digital footprint looks like.
  2. Check your privacy settings on the different apps/services you use to ensure you’re protecting the content you share.
  3. What you share online could be a part of your online reputation forever. Think carefully before posting.
  4. Deactivate and delete old accounts which you no longer use to remove out-of-date content from your digital footprint.
  5. Make a positive footprint! The internet is a tool so make good use of it – raise money for charity or do something creative for people to find when they search your name online.

Created with support from AT&T