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For anyone experiencing abuse, the internet does not make things easier, especially when the abusive partner is technologically savvy. Since power and control issues are a part of domestic abuse, abusive partners frequently use technology to monitor those they abuse by stalking, harassing and embarrassing you. However, there are ways to ensure your safety on the internet.
Anything you do on a computer such as, emails, bills, purchases or social media messages, can be retrieved by the abuser and used to hurt you in the future. If your safety on the internet is being jeopardized, a different, safe computer should be used. Safe computers can be found at the local library, café, a trusted friend’s home, or your workplace. A safe computer should always be used when researching things such as travel plans, legal issues or safety plans.
Your abuser could have access to your email account(s) if a common computer is used at home. To stay safe and keep your account(s) private, create an account your partner does not know about and only use that account on a safe computer. Use the new account for safety planning and sensitive communications. To make sure that your abuser does not get suspicious, keep your monitored account active with non-critical emails to maintain appearances.
Be protective of your personal information. Things like your birthdate, workplace and photos with location tags may make it easier for someone to find where you live or go on a daily basis. It is important to set boundaries, and tell your friends and family members to not post personal information and comments about you on social media. You can even change your privacy settings so that you have to approve whether or not something you are tagged in shows up on your page. Keep all your passwords private; no one other than you should have access to your social media accounts.
It is likely that your abuser knows how to read your computer’s history, and will be able to see websites and pages that you have visited. You should always keep your browser history clear. You can clear your history in your browser’s settings by doing the following:
Open Internet Explorer and click the Tools button. From there, select the Safety tab and then click Delete Browsing History. Then, select the check box next to each category of information you want to delete and click Delete.
Open Safari and click the History tab in the top right corner. Once you have clicked History, click Clear History and click Clear All History. Safari also clears caches and the list of recent searches, and removes the website icons that appear in the search and address field.
Open Google Chrome. In order to access the browsing information, you need to click on the icon that looks like three vertical bars in the top right hand corner. In the menu that appears, slide your mouse to the History option. This will open the History tab. From there, click Clear All Browsing Data.
Open Firefox and click the Menu button. Choose History and then Clear Recent History. Select how much history you want to clear. Click the Drop-Down menu next to Time Range to choose how much of your History Firefox will clear. Finally, click the Clear Now button.
Open AOL software and type Browser Settings into the search box and click Go. From there, select the Clear My Footprints tab and then click the Select Footprints to Clear button. Place a check in the boxes next to Browsing History, Cookies and Browser Cache. Click close when you are finished.
In Chrome, tap the Menu button, and then tap Settings. Tap the Privacy option and then tap the Clear Browsing Data option. From there, select the types of data you want to clear and tap the Clear button.
In Safari bookmarks, tap the History folder and tap Clear. Alternatively, you can go into your Settings, and from there, scroll down to Safari. From there you can easily find the option to clear your web history and all other data associated with your browser.