Digital Hygiene
Time 2.5 hrs

Difficulty Intermediate
Prerequisites Digital Organisation
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Wren Merrett
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


The internet and social media offer us lots of positive experiences, but those also come with risks. This unit aims to show you how to mitigate those risks by keeping good digital hygiene.


What is needed to run this unit?
  • ...
Cross-Curricular Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • ...
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

This page requires you to be logged in to access it. Please login and try again.
5 mins
What is Hygiene?

You've probably been taught from a very young age that hygiene is important. We keep ourselves clean for a variety of reasons. If your body is dirty, you will repel other people, and be more vulnerable to disease and illness. 

10 mins
Digital Hygiene
It's important too!

What you might not know is that it's also important to keep your digital environment clean. In the previous unit, Digital Organisation, you learned about cleaning up a messy desktop using folders, and naming files in order to keep track of them. That's fairly simple, but there is more to it than that.

Digital hygiene asks you to think about the cleanliness of your devices and online behaviour.

30 mins
Cleaning Your Devices
Spring cleaning

It's important to make sure that your devices are as digitally clean as they can be. It's all too easy to allow your computer or phone to become overloaded with software and files. This can slow your device down and mean that you don't have space for stuff you might want. You might also have malicious software (malware) on your computer, which could steal personal data, or spy on you.

Spend some time exploring these ideas, cleaning up your devices as you go:

Mac, Chromebook, iPhone and Android devices all offer recommendations for clearing out storage space.

    • On a Mac, go to About This Mac, click Storage, and then click Manage. A menu will pop up that offers recommendations for how to free up storage space.
    • On a Chromebook, you can check how much hard drive space you have left by clicking on the three dots in the top right of the My Files window. Clicking on the bar that shows your remaining storage will bring you to the Storage Management menu, where you can look at what kinds of files are taking up space and start looking at what to delete
    • On an iPhone, the option for iPhone Storage can be found under General in the settings menu.
    • On an Android device, the option to free up space can be found under Storage in the settings menu.
  • In terms of malware, periodically scan your computer with MalwareBytes for Mac (the free version is good enough).
  • Often we install apps, and never remove them: these can become a security threat, so tidy up after yourself.
  • If you want a digital refresh, our IT Services team in C108 can always re-image your laptop.

30 mins
Digital Footprints
Following trails

People well-versed in the digital world often talk about digital footprints. Every single action you take on the internet leaves these footprints behind. With the perceived casual and anonymous nature of the internet, it's easy to believe that you can share your opinions freely and post whatever you want. However, this really isn't the case, and in recent years, the blurring of lines between the digital and real worlds has been accelerating. Consider the cases below:

  • Click this link for a tale of how one stupid social media message can ruin someone's entire life.
  • Or here for an introduction to the tactic of doxxing, and why it can be very scary.
  • Or here to read about the risk of explicit messages

It's clear we need to take care online, in order to keep ourselves safe.

To learn more about privacy (which involves leaving fewer footprints), consider looking at the Internet Privacy unit.

30 mins
Social Media

First, a caveat. If you're under the age of thirteen, you shouldn't be using social media. It's mandated by most websites. However, if you:

  • lied about your age to go on social media
  • plan on using social media once you turn thirteen
  • are already thirteen and already use social media

then this should be useful advice to keep in mind:

Think about the photos you have posted in the past: if they don't meet the standards described in the video above, then consider removing them.

Social media is a very powerful technology, but it is also potentially dangerous. If you post something on social media, you lose control of that information. While you might be able to delete a post that reflects poorly on you as a person, you don't know who's already seen it, or even taken a screenshot of it. You might have heard stories of celebrities on Twitter who have had their reputation ruined by people digging up old tweets. It happens!

15 mins
The Granny Test
Nanna Knows

When doing anything on the Internet, a great rule to remember is the granny test:

"Would you say the thing you're posting to your grandmother?"

If the answer is "no", then perhaps don't post it. Some of us almost definitely have our actual grannies following us on Facebook or Instagram, or at least members of our family, so it's a good thing to keep in mind."

Speaking of family members, you can control who is able to see your posts on certain social sites. For example, right near the top of the left column in Facebook's Settings menu is the Privacy tab, which you should definitely take a look at if you're a Facebook user.

Every once in a while, it's worth going back through your old social media posts and having a think about whether they're representative of who you are now. If they're not, then the best option is always to delete them.

30 mins
What Can You Change?
Finishing Up

The World Wide Web is now approaching its 30th birthday, and while its structure and governance still reflects the idealism that it was originally built on, the reality today is that those ideals could not be further from the truth. Parts of the internet have become rather dangerous, and it's good to know how to stay safe and clean when experiencing it.

To complete this unit, record a short video of yourself talking about:

  • your prior experience with digital hygiene
  • what you thought about this unit
  • what you will do now

Submit this video as your evidence, and you'll be done!

There are no records to display.
Powered by Gibbon v27.0.00dev

Founded by Ross Parker at ICHK Secondary | Built by Ross Parker, Sandra Kuipers and the Gibbon community
Copyright © Gibbon Foundation 2010-2024 | Gibbon™ of Gibbon Education Ltd. (Hong Kong)
Created under the GNU GPL | Credits | Translators | Support