So, what is meant by your digital footprint, well whenever you use the internet you’re leaving a series of digital footprints. These footprints are the lasting impression of all the activities you perform online. Your digital footprints can be seen by others, particularly if you are using social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Sometimes these footprints can be hidden, such as your order history on Amazon, your PayPal purchases, or your searched terms on browsers like Google or Bing. Although most users on the internet cannot see these particular footprints, they are still lasting impressions about you stored online. Therefore, you need to ask yourself if you trust every website and service that you use to keep your data secure and use it appropriately.
Though it is impossible to have no footprint if you use the internet, there are ways to reduce your footprint. This video explains what your digital footprint is and how to reduce it.
All the information that you share online contributes to your digital identity. Your identity is made of what you share online, however, it may include things you didn’t consciously share. For this reason, you need to carefully manage your online activities and curate your online identity.
Many individuals form multiple identities online. Sometimes this is to keep personal, business, and/or study in separate digital spheres to stop personal issues from blending into professional spaces. Others construct online identities as pseudonyms to isolate their true selves from their online activity. This can be to protect personal information about themselves, to hide something they think is embarrassing, or to cover up criminal activity.
Having multiple identities online in most cases (with the exception of criminal activity) is completely fine and often the services people use online encourage this. This doesn’t mean making yourself a completely different person online is okay for example Facebook encourages people to connect with friends and family whereas LinkedIn encourages people to act professionally and connect with colleagues and business professionals. This leads people to act differently on each service, creating unique identities for each service. This kind of isolation is useful as it ensures what you share is appropriate to the audience. However, just as you may be creating your own digital identities, you need to be aware that other users are also doing the same.
Check out this site for some more useful tips on managing their digital footprint.
As it’s approaching Halloween I thought it appropriate to theme this week’s post on digital wellbeing and some of the fears that may be caused by the digital world. Namely stress and anxiety which may sometimes feel as if it is coming out of nowhere (a bit like a flying pumpkin), but is likely in part due to our developments in the digital world. Whilst technology has many major benefits there are some downsides when it comes to our mental wellbeing.
One of the biggest impacts on our digital wellbeing is our phone usage the persistent messages and notifications mean that we are constantly distracted by continuously checking our phones. A UK study found that we unlock our phones roughly 85 times a day, and use them for about five hours each day. This means we are unable to focus our attention and consolidate things into our memory, causing us to feel more and more ‘goldfish-like, which can be quite distressing in itself.
So how can we avoid this? The most obvious choice is to turn off your phone although this can be difficult for some people and you may need to keep your phone on if you have responsibility for other people. So if you can’t turn off your phone there are ways you can minimize these distractions. You can temporarily hide your notifications by turning on do not disturb in the iPhone Control Centre or on an Android device by going to Digital Wellbeing and parental controls turning on Focus mode. Here are some instructions for how to do this on those devices. There will be similar instructions available online for other devices.
Another important aspect of our digital wellbeing is our usage of phones at bedtime. You get into bed intending to go to sleep, but you just want to check your phone to find out something unimportant like tomorrow’s weather or scroll through your feed. Then an hour later, there you are watching a totally random video about monkeys. Looking at our phones when we should be sleeping over-stimulates our brains, making it harder just to switch off, and exposes us to blue light from the screen. Research suggests that blue screen exposure can reduce melatonin production, which interrupts our circadian rhythm (sleep-waking cycles), making it harder for us to fall, and stay, asleep. Unfortunately, poor sleep tends to mean poorer resilience and higher levels of anxiety and stress.
The best solution as before is to turn your phone off and maybe do something else before bed like reading a book. However, if you really need to keep it on you can adjust your phone’s lighting using Bedtime Mode (Android) or as previously mentioned Do Not Disturb (iPhone).
While in the past there was often a clear boundary between where work-life ended, and home life began… this area is now very much grey. This may not be as much of a problem when you are a student but is something you must be aware of when entering the working world. Most of you will have your work emails on your phones meaning you are constantly available and contactable. This makes it very difficult for us to ever truly disengage from work and relax.
Appoint a gatekeeper. Don’t have the willpower to self-regulate? Appoint a loved one as a technology gatekeeper. If you’re really struggling
This is a more expensive option, you could consider getting two separate devices. One device is dedicated to work the other for your free time.
Fear Of Missing Out is essentially a type of social anxiety that arises from the fear that you are missing out on something; maybe an event, work or social opportunity, a communication, a connection, or just something that you might like be a part of. So we want to be connected ‘just in case’. Many people probably have considered leaving social media but the majority decide not to, because of FOMO. Ironically, the more connected we are, the more likely we are to experience FOMO because it is often caused by the posts we see on social media sites like Facebook. This leads us to believe our friends and acquaintances are having exciting and/or interesting experiences in our absence.
Relish feeling out of the loop. Great things will sometimes happen when you aren’t out there and sometimes you’re not invited. But you are likely missing out on way more boring things than exciting. You just have to admit that sometimes you will miss out like everyone else and sometimes it’s nice just to have moments to yourself
Take a break from social media. Try staying offline for a day, a week, or maybe even a month and it will likely put in perspective what is really important. You will realize life is much the same only you are less worried about what other people are doing. If you wanted you could even go as far deleting you social media apps but that’s up to you.
Use software to prevent FOMO. There are Apps available such as Forest for iOS, Space for Android, RescueTime for Windows, or SelfControl for Mac. All these generate reports to help you see just how much time they spend online and set time limits. Most phones already have inbuilt features for checking screen time as you can see.
We can’t help but compare ourselves to others, and social comparison theory suggests that we use these comparisons to evaluate how we think and feel about ourselves. Social Media, encourages this, as it is full of information that can be used to rank our apparent social success (e.g. friends, likes, shares, followers).
These metrics are problematic because if we don’t get enough likes on something we post, or if someone has more likes or friends than us, it can make us feel inferior especially if one day you get a load of likes then the next barely any. It’s almost like you think you are getting a treat with all those likes but in fact, it’s a trick. Furthermore, the disparity between real life and what people post on social media means that we often see an extremely edited ‘highlight reel’ of people’s lives. This links back to FOMO with this false impression that others lead a more interesting life than yours but in reality, it has its ups and downs as it does for everyone.
We previously talked about limiting time spent online but there are more ways to prevent social comparison. Here are some boundaries you can put in place to protect yourself:
Unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself.
Set a timer that lets you scroll for 30 minutes. When time is up, step away.
Turn off your phone when you’re with your family and friends.
Don’t feel obligated to reply to every comment and message
When you feel a need to check social media, ask yourself why. Are you bored, uncomfortable or seeking affirmation?
I hope this has provided some useful information about your digital wellbeing and given you some helpful solutions to many of these issues. if you have time why not watch this video which explains many of the ways you can optimise your phone for your digital wellbeing.
Today we will be taking a look at digital communication through Microsoft Teams. Teams is used to have online lessons or business meetings which include audio, video, and screen sharing. Teams allows you to communicate with your teacher’s fellow students or colleges. In Teams, you can also access any files your teacher or employer may ask you to upload or complete. You can also send your completed work by attaching your documents. If you are interested you can find out further information on the Microsoft website.
First, let’s start with a video that explains the use of Teams and how to communicate like a pro.
Most of the information you need is provided in this video but here are some useful tips for you to use when in a Teams meeting.
Hover over Turn camera on to preview your video.
Preview how you appear: Select Blur my background to blur background or select More background effects to preview other backgrounds or add your own.
Apply and turn on video.
Share your screen:
Select Share content to present your screen. You can share:
Raise your hand and show reactions:
Under Reactions, choose how to engage in a meeting:
Select Raise hand to let others know you’d like to speak without interrupting the conversation.
Choose a reaction like Applause or Heart to show how you feel.
Spotlight a video:
When a featured speaker’s talking, spotlight their video so it’s the main one everyone sees.
On meeting controls, select More options (…) and choose:
Gallery: Default view 3×3 layout
Large gallery: 7×7 layout that shows up to 49 people at once.
Together mode: Lets you feel like you’re in the same shared space space in the meeting
Create and open breakout rooms so you can hold smaller, more focused discussions.
On the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms.
Choose how many rooms you need and how to assign participants.
Select Create rooms > Start rooms
You’re on Mute
Don’t forget to unmute yourself if you want to talk (though if it is a really large meeting you may be unable to talk unless you are hosting). For those of you who have already used Teams, this has probably happened to you, you neatly explained your point only for someone to say you’re on mute.
Stickers and Memes on Teams
Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t spare a bit of time and have a mess around. Here is something a little more fun, this video explains how to use stickers and create memes through Teams.
Now it’s time to end the call, make sure to check out the library blog every Tuesday to keep yourself updated on your digital skills. #TechItUpTuesday