Online Safety: The Basics

When you use the internet, you leave a mark or footprint called your digital footprint. Here you can learn more about what your footprint is and how it can affect you.

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Your digital footprint is something you always leave behind when you go online. Things you say or do online may not ever be fully erased, so it’s important to think about what information you want others to be able to see.

The internet can be a place for people to enjoy and explore their interests and to connect with people. Smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices can be very helpful. They offer a lot of ways to enjoy the online world. But, there are also risks online such as cyberbullying and harassment.


When you’re online, it’s a good idea to be as anonymous as possible. You should not let your private information be available to everyone. Many sites and social media services have ways you can change your settings so your information is only shown to certain people. Examples of private information that the public shouldn’t see include:

  • your full name
  • photos of yourself, friends or family members
  • home or school address of yourself, family or friends
  • phone numbers
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • passwords
  • credit card numbers
  • your current location (you can check your phone or tablet to make sure your GPS is turned off, or choose “No” when asked to share your location)

In some cases, people may try to take advantage of you and take your personal information. They may even harass or threaten you. Before any of this happens, it’s important to know what you can do to prevent it or handle something that might happen. See our section on Staying Safe on Social Media to learn more about these situations.

What Next?

Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.