Digital reputation

Icons escaping from mobile phone


All internet users have a digital or online reputation. This is the opinion or view that others have about the user, based on what they say and do online.

What are the risks?

When information is posted online it can be difficult to remove and can be easily and quickly passed beyond a student’s immediate circle of friends. It can also be misused by friends they consider trustworthy.

Students should be encouraged to think about their digital reputation when interacting online.

In addition, images and words can be misinterpreted when removed from their original context.

When images and words intended for a small group of people are shared with a broader audience, it can negatively affect the student’s relationship with unintended viewers for example, students might find it very difficult to explain to parents why they are tagged in a photo posted online drinking, kissing, with little clothing on or with labels suggesting they are very sexually active.

Managing the risks

To help students protect their reputation both online and offline, young people need to consider how they manage their own and others’ messages and images.

Creating and/or distributing sexual images with minors may constitute the production and/or distribution of child pornography. This can be the case even if the people in the image are willing participants, with outcomes varying by state and territory and on a case-by-case basis. To help address this, remind students that may be committing a criminal offence when taking and/or sharing sexual images of themselves or others who are minors.

  • Be cautious if you have intercepted any content which may constitute child pornography. Do not interact with the information, forward or share it in any way. Immediately seek guidance from local police.
  • Integrate the teacher resources into the school curriculum to equip students with practical cybersafety skills and knowledge. Resources of particular relevance for teachers are the Units of Work promoting Positive Online Behaviour for primary and secondary school students. The Tagged video and lesson plans are particularly relevant for secondary students and Cybersmart Access is useful for students with special education needs.
  • Book an Outreach Professional Development workshop for teachers and Internet Safety Awareness presentation for students and parents. These are free to all schools.
  • Refer parents to the Guide to Online Safety which is a brief video resource containing strategies to help parents explain the importance of digital reputation to their children.

Students who are representing themselves in a highly sexualised or inappropriate manner online may require additional support from the school. A referral should be made to student support services within the school.

Kids helpline 1800 55 1800

 Kids Helpline is free, anonymous and available 24/7 on 1800 55 1800 or via their website.

Useful websites

The Line

An interactive site that offers young people advice and support on respectful relationships. This includes multicultural and indigenous resources.

Visit: www.theline.org.au/


Provides information for educators, parents, carers and young people to strengthen their awareness and understanding of digital citizenship. It encourages technology users to become responsible digital citizens.

Visit: www.digizen.org

Mind Matters

A national mental health initiative for secondary schools, this site provides resources and a professional development program that supports Australian secondary schools in promoting and protecting the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of school communities.

Visit: www.mindmatters.edu.au

Reach Out

Provides free access to self-paced online training modules and lesson ideas on youth mental health and wellbeing.

Visit: www.teachers.reachoutpro.com.au/

Visit the Cybersmart Blog Cybersmart blog

Seeking expert opinion? Have a point of view? Join the conversation!

Order your copy of Tagged on DVD Order resources

Free cybersafety resources for schools, parents and libraries.

Visit the Cybersmart Outreach channel Outreach

Book an Outreach presentation for staff, students and parents.