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Internet and Computer Safety

If you are in danger, try to use a safe computer that your abuser does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.

If you think your activities are being watched or monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it.

It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

There are many ways to monitor computers with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools. These programs are cheap and easy to buy online. They allow someone to “see” all the things you type on your computer – and sometimes allow someone to be watching on their screen as you type on your screen – all without you knowing.

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for regular, everyday activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.

Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a crisis line instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at on the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.

It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community centre, at a trusted friend’s house, or at an Internet Café.

(This page was adapted from the NNEDV Safety Net Project.)