Technology allows individuals to track and monitor the activities of others. Your cell phone, email, computer, and Internet activity can be tracked. When you use your computer or surf the Internet, your web browser and your computer leaves a trail, a trail that other people can see. If you use your phone or emails to talk about abuse, or if you access websites that you would prefer other people didn’t know about, there are a few tips that will help you remain safe:
Cell phones and cordless phones
- Traditional “corded” phones or land lines are more private than cell phones or cordless phones.
Using the Internet
- Access this site and other sites you want private from somewhere other than home. You can use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.
- Clear cookies, temporary web site files and browser history. Cookies are information that a web site leaves on your hard drive about your visit to that web site. A temporary web site file is left on your computer each time you visit a web site. One of its pages, usually the home page, is stored “temporarily” on your hard drive. Usually Internet browser software retains a list, or History, of all the web sites you visit. Refer to your software “Help” menu or technical support for further information.
- Clear the search engine. Many search engines retain and display past searches. Check whichever search engine you use for information on how to turn this feature off.
- If you add a site to your “Favorites” (also known as bookmarking) other people who use your computer can use your Favorites to see what web sites you have visited.
An excellent resource that can help you clear your cache, cookies and history is located here:
Instant / Text Messageing
Try not to discuss danger or abuse by email or Instant/Text Messaging. It is not safe or confidential. If you do use email or text messaging, make sure you use an account your abuser does not know about.
- When using email, do not store passwords and make sure you change your password or passwords often. Do not use obvious passwords, such as your birthday or your pet’s name. Use passwords that include both letters and numbers.
- Delete emails and files/documents. Delete emails from the “Send” or “Outbox” and then also delete emails from the “Deleted Items” box. In addition, empty the “Recycle” or “Trash Bin” of any documents before shutting down the computer. Make this a regular routine so it is not an unusual action that triggers suspicion.
Note: It is not possible to completely delete or clear all the “footprints” from your computer or online activity. Clearing your browser history will make it more difficult, but NOT impossible for someone to trace your computer use. It is always best to use a safe computer.