The internet and digital communication can be excellent resources for getting help. But they can also be ways for your partner to track your activity, especially if you are using your own computer or mobile device. It’s important to remember that emails, instant messages or other texting platforms are never completely confidential. However, there are ways that you can help protect yourself. Here are some tips for keeping your online activity private:
- Consider using a computer that your abuser does not know you are accessing — such as a computer in a public library, school, or in the home of a family member or friend you can trust.
- If you are using your own computer, remember to clear your browser’s history every time you use it. Unfortunately, if your partner has installed spyware, this will not prevent the monitoring of your computer.
- Never share your passwords with anyone.
- When you do create a new password, use a combination of letters and numbers that you can easily remember, but others would find difficult to figure out. Try incorporating upper and lowercase letters or symbols.
- In addition to having an email account that your abuser knows about, set up a private one that only you know about. Free accounts can be created on Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail. While you will need to give a name and address to establish an account, never use your real information. Use this account only for emergencies or among your trusted family and friends.
- Never use “remember password” for any site.
- Internet browsers do have the capability for private browsing. Each has its own steps to follow and can also be applied to your mobile devices as well. Choose one browser — such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari — and use that same one consistently, once you’ve set up private browsing.
- Disable “location services” on your mobile device. Although this cannot prevent tracking software from being installed on your device, it is one way to keep your location private.
- If you have children who also have mobile devices, ensure that you disable their location services as well. Also, remind them that texting or instant messaging is never fully private or confidential.