If you feel threatened or unsafe, or if you’re planning to leave an abusive partner, then you need to protect yourself online. Here are some ways to help stay safe.
Thanks to technology people experiencing domestic or family violence have greater access to resources, information and support.
But these same technologies also create new opportunities for abuse.
Abusers can now more easily monitor and track their victim’s communication and movement.
It is important you stay safe online.
On every page of this site you can see the QUICK EXIT button. It will follow you as you scroll down each page and navigate around our site. If anyone enters the room while you’re on the site, hit the QUICK EXIT button and you’ll immediately be taken to a neutral site.
But, this will not clear your browser history! So, if anyone else has access to your computer or mobile device they will be able to see that you have visited this site.
Clearing your browser history is one of the many things you need to do to ensure your safety online and keep your information and communication away from your abuser.
How to stay safe when using technology
Clear your browser history
Your internet browser – Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge etc – keeps track of all the sites you visit. If you’re visiting sites such as this one that contain potentially sensitive information you should delete your browser history after each session. The way to delete your history is different for each browser. For example: for Firefox Quantum you click on the ‘library’ icon in the top right-hand side of the menu bar. Then selected ‘History’ then ‘Clear Recent History’. Information on how to clear the history on your browser can be found on their support website. Learn how to do it and practice doing it after every session.
Use a safer computer
Unfortunately deleting your browser history may not always be enough to protect you. Spyware programs are widely available and can be used to track your online activity. If you’re looking for resources, searching for emergency accommodation or setting up new accounts you might be safer doing this from a different computer — a trusted friend or public library for example. Mackay Women’s Services offers free internet and computer use from 9am-4pm each weekday.
Create a new email account
It might be necessary to create a new email account. Find a free web-based email – like Gmail or Hotmail – and use a generic name for the account. For example – yellow.canary@ rather than anything that contains any part of your name eg. jane.smith@. Set up this account from a safe computer and only check it from this computer as well.
Change passwords regularly
Make sure you have a passcode on your mobile phone and change it regularly — also regularly change your passwords on your email, banking and social networking sites. Make them difficult to guess (no birthdays!) but easy for you to remember. An easy way to create strong but memorable passwords is to join four random words together eg. dailykittenballoonfun (and then commit the hilarious mental image to your memory!).
Reduce your online presence
It isn’t difficult to track someone when they’re online often. Features such as ‘checking in’ allow people to see where you are. Facebook and Messenger show when you were last online. Taking and uploading photos can give away your location. Be mindful of what you’re uploading and who can see it. Block anyone you don’t trust. Unfriend people you don’t really know. Turn off location settings on apps that don’t require it to function.
Clear your recent calls and messages
Regularly clear your recent call lists and delete messages so they cannot be read by others. Check your phone settings to see if you can stop messages appearing on the home screen or allowing them to be read when the phone is locked.
Use a safe phone
If you’re worried that someone is tracking your calls find a safe phone. Purchase your own prepaid mobile and keep it hidden. Or use a public phone or a friend’s landline phone. DVRS can provide a safe phone for you to make important calls for free.
The Domestic Violence Resource Service offers a range of free counselling and support services for women and children in Mackay and district whose lives have been affected by domestic and family violence.