Computers, tablets and smart phones store a lot of information about the websites you visit, emails and instant messages you send, web-based phone calls you make, online purchases and banking, and many other activities.
If you are worried an abuser might check what you are looking at or doing on a computer, don't use it to get help and advice. Instead, use a computer in a library, at a trusted friend's house or an internet cafe. Keep using your computer for your routine activities, such as looking up the weather or checking what's on TV.
For information about staying safe online, the following websites may be helpful:
- Women's Aid - 'Keeping yourself safe' - information for staying safe online, aimed at women experiencing domestic violence
- GetSafeOnline.org - information across a wide range of topics for protecting yourself, your computers and mobiles device online
Private or Anonymous Browsing Tools
Warning: there is no way to completely cover your movements online. The information below can help you to cover your tracks online to an extent, but the only way to be sure is to use a completely different computer. Keep in mind, if you download information, order online, etc., your privacy may still be compromised.
Recent versions of mainstream web browsers allow you to browse the internet in an anonymous or private window. This means that information such as 'cookies', temporary Internet files, history, and other data is not collected or stored on your computer about any sites you visit while in that window. (Because this is a newer option, you’ll need to make sure your web browser is up-to-date.)
Internet Explorer: You can start 'InPrivate Browsing' from the Safety menu, by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P, or from the New Tab page. Find out more at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/internet-explorer/products/ie-9/features/in-private
Firefox: At the top of the Firefox window, click the Firefox button and select 'New Private Window'. Find out more at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/private-browsing-browse-web-without-saving-info
Google Chrome: Click the menu icon on the browser toolbar, then select 'New incognito window'. Find out more at https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464
Safari (Mac): While browsing a webpage using Safari, choose Safari > Private Browsing. When you see a confirmation message, click OK. A Private button appears in the address and search field to indicate that private browsing is on. Find out more at https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19216