*If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.
*There is an orange button across the bottom of this website. It is there for your safety. If you are interrupted, you can click the quick escape button on the bottom of this page and it will take you to a new page and erase the temporary file left by the site, so your partner cannot see the page by hitting the “back” button.
- If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
- It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit. One possible way to avoid suspicion is to clear the cache and history once you’re done looking at information you don’t want your partner to know about. After they’re cleared, spend some time visiting sites that you think your partner wouldn’t object to. This way, the cache and history list start to get filled up and your partner might be less likely to notice that old information is missing. Click here to learn how to clear your browser’s cache.
- If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
- Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
- Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
- It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.
Other safety precautions: Email If an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. Even if you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she will not be able to guess.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you can print and save them as evidence of this abuse. These messages may also constitute a federal offense. For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney’s Office.
Make sure that the “Use Inline Autocomplete” box is NOT checked. This function will complete partial web addresses while typing location in the address bar at the top of the browser.
Depending on the browser this may be located under “tools,” “settings” or “preferences” and is likely under the “advance” options. Make sure this box is unchecked so an abusive partner cannot track what you have searched for.
Social Networking Site Safety
Sites like Facebook & Twitter are very popular, however before you or your children join an online social network, consider the following safety precautions. Visit the FTC site for more info.
- Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
- Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, your team, your community groups, or your family.
- Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either.
- Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out.
- Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use your name, your age, or your hometown. Even if you think your screen name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and where you can be found.
- Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing — and knowing — about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, the college you might want to apply to next year, or the job you might want to apply for in five years.
- Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.
- Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it’s one your mom would display in the living room.
- Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Because some people lie about who they really are, you never really know who you’re dealing with.
- Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, do your research: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell an adult or a responsible sibling where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
- Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
This information was originally authored by National Network to End Domestic Violence.