A large part of NewTechKids’ digital literacy programs focus on helping kids understand how to use the Internet and social wisely: staying safe online, only sharing appropriate information, protecting their privacy, knowing what to do when uncomfortable scenarios arise.

A few weeks back, we started the third block in a series of programs for all classes at an Amsterdam primary school. This time around, we are teaching five classes in both group 3 (approx. ages 6-7) and group 8 (approx. ages 11 and 12).

We kicked these classes off with the theme of “digital footprints”, the trail of information we leave every time we share things about ourselves online publicly: everything from location to likes, interests, activities, who you are with, time of activities, etc.

For the group 3 students: we explained what a digital footprint is and how popular apps collect information about us. We discussed rules like having parents and adults download apps for you, avoiding apps which aren’t age appropriate and not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know. We had students draw the apps which are part of their digital footprint.

For the group 8 students: we explained what they are and how friends, commercial companies/advertisers and even hackers use digital footprints in different ways: to follow, to promote and sell things and to steal data and commit crimes. We discussed the case of Kim Kardashian’s stolen jewelry in Paris and how the robbers tracked her digital footprint to plan the robbery. We talked about how to reduce your digital footprint (use privacy settings, post after something happens/not live, don’t post location, only accept friend requests from people you know, etc.). Later, we had students select a celebrity and then document their digital footprint using online searches to show them how easy it is to compile public data. Popular celebrities were Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Ryan Reynolds, Lionel Messi and Beyonc√©.