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Domestic Violence offenders often control and monitor the actions of their victims and this can include their use of the internet.  Browsers record the websites that have been visited and 'keystroke logging' and 'spyware' programs allow a computer user's actions to be tracked. The computer user will not be aware that their actions are being watched.
Offenders may not be particularly savvy about technology (and they do not need to be) to successfully employ methods of finding their victims.  Setting up a new profile that includes the city where you live, exposing your friends list, blogging about what you are doing, leaving an 'away' message on you email saying where you are going - these are all things an offender might be able to see.  It may not be you who exposes your whereabouts;  someone else may accidentally do it for you.  So not only do you need to learn to hide the information but anyone who knows where you are also needs to learn to keep it a secret as well.
Below are suggestions to improve your safety when using the internet:

Try to use a safe computer

Your abuser may have placed tracking, monitoring or spying software on your computer which may be in the form of a specialised spying product that has been secretly installed;   or they could have turn on "parental controls" making you the 'child' account so that everything you do is reported to them.  It is not difficult to use either of these.  If you think your computer may have been compromised, it is best to use a computer expert to clean it for you.
It may be safer to use a computer which is less accessible by your abuser if you are looking at sensitive websites, e.g. use a computer at a public library, a trustworthy friend's house, an internet café, at work or at a women's refuge.


Ensure your security software is up to date

If you do not have up to date security software installed, do so now.  There are some excellent free downloads if cost is an issue. Set the security software to automatically update.  If you leave your computer unprotected it is like leaving your front door unlocked.


Clear your internet browser history

It is difficult to delete your internet history completely but it can be made less accessible.  Click on these links for instructions:


Set up another email account

Create an anonymous username and account without providing detailed information on yourself.  Use this email account on a safe computer.

Password safety

If you have wireless connection ensure it is password protected with new strong passwords.

Ensure the passwords you use for any online accounts - e.g. email, banking, Facebook - are difficult for your abuser to guess.  Avoid using personal details i.e. birthdates, family details, etc., and do not share your passwords with anyone.


Communicate online with caution

Messages sent via email, social networking sites (e.g. Facebook) and instant messaging services can be tracked and recorded.  Always log out of a website properly after communicating online.

Safety on Facebook

Always log out of Facebook after use.  Logging in using another account, e.g. Google, is not recommended as this is another account to remember to log out of.
Always take time to set your Privacy Settings.  You can stop specific individuals from various actions by setting your privacy settings.
Be aware of your confidentiality.
Think twice before making friends with people you don't know.  If you don't want to add them simply click ignore.
Think of changing your settings from 'friends of friends' to 'friends' only.  There could be someone you don't want to access your Facebook.
Facebook and Twitter have implemented location functionality that, if turned on, might show where you are whenever you post.  To be safe ensure than any location functionality in any online service you use is Off - including shutting off Bluetooth functions on mobile devices.


Twitter and Blogging 

Twitter and blogging sites are designed to be public – i.e. you cannot make them private. Even if you are careful, what you say about your location, activities, etc. may provide too much information.










Your Safety Online      more information

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