Safety Alert: Be aware that an abuser in your home can monitor your use of your compute and the Internet. Also know that it may be impossible to completely clear websites that you have been visiting, and clearing websites is not an easy thing to do. If you are afraid your Internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, use a safer computer such as a computer at a library. If you are in danger, call 911, your local hotline, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
General Information about Internet Use
The Internet can be a wonderful place to meet people, stay in touch with family and friends, obtain information, and purchase items conveniently. Although using the Internet is not typically dangerous, it is a place where others can find personal information about you and attempt to take advantage of or harm you.
When talking to someone you’ve just met on the Internet, trust your instincts. If you have bad feelings about the person you are chatting with, it is better to leave the conversation than to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Leave a chat room if the language or discussion offends you or makes you feel uneasy for any reason.
When using the Internet, it is important to protect your identity and confidential information. If a person is seeking to take advantage of you or hurt you, they may be quite creative in finding ways to learn where you live, where you work, and other private information.
Tips for Staying Safer on the Internet
(Note that these tips do not guarantee safety. Using the Internet will always have some risks):
- Do not use your full name or user name in your email address.
- Do not share the name of your city, town, or other location where you live.
- Do not share your passwords for email or online accounts.
- Do not give out information about yourself that you would not tell a stranger.
- Do not share the names of your partner, family members, friends, or personal assistants.
- If you have recently left an abusive relationship, consider changing your email address, your Internet service provider, and your passwords.
- Be careful when choosing a password. For example, don’t use your name or the names of friends and relatives, your birth date, or your street address. It’s also best not to use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Always choose a strong password. Remember to change your passwords often. Also, remember to keep a record of user names and passwords in a secure location other than on a computer.
- Use a secure website when making purchases online. Check to see that there is an “s” after the letters “http”, that is, https. The “s” stands for secure and should appear when you are in an area asking for you to login or provide other sensitive data. (For more information on secure Internet connections, see the National Crime Prevention Council links below.)
- Do not share photos that include street names, addresses, or recognizable landmarks.
- When using social media sites, double check that personal information such as an email address or phone number is not public on your profile.
References and Resources
National Crime Prevention Council (2017). Internet Safety. / Cybercrimes.
National Network to End Domestic Violence (2018). Technology Safety Plan: A Guide for Survivors and Advocates.
USA.gov. (n.d.) Online Safety.