Every time you join a social network, fill out a profile, share a video, send an IM, or post a comment, you create a digital footprint. Building communities and sharing information with your friends can be fun, but remember that everything you do online is both permanent and potentially public. So before you post something, consider if you want your parents, teachers, friends, and potential employers to see what you're sharing.

Here are some tips to protect your personal information online:

Use privacy controls: Learn about the privacy controls on your favourite websites and use them. Sites like Yahoo! and Facebook let you control the information you share with your friends, connections, and with the world.

Know your connections: As much as possible, only let people you know in real life connect with you online. When people try to add you as a connection, if you don't really know them, block them so they can't contact you again.

Protect your personal information: Posting personal information or photos can identify you to strangers and put your safety at risk. Never reveal your full name, address, phone number, school, email address, or other personal information to people unless you're friends with them in real life.

Think before you post: Once you put something online, it's impossible to take it back. Images, text, and videos can be copied and reposted over and over without you knowing. So even if just your friends can see what you post, that content could end up anywhere on the Web, which makes it hard and sometimes impossible to remove it.

Watch your friend's back: You play a part in creating your friend's digital reputation too. Whenever you post videos, tag people in photos, or comment on their profiles, you risk revealing private information about your friends. Stop and remember that what you post is permanent before you share it.

Keep an eye on your digital reputation: Search for your name once a month to see what comes up. If you find information that isn't true or that shouldn't be public, work with the person who posted it or the hosting website to take it down.

Courtesy Yahoo !