Internet Safety

Computer and Internet Activities

If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. You may want to use a computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.

It is not possible to delete or clear all the "footprints" of your computer or online activities. 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 and there are many ways to monitor with programs like spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.

If you are being monitored, suddenly changing your computer behaviors (e.g. suddenly deleting your entire Internet history) may arouse suspicion. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as looking up the weather or recipes.

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)

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

Safer Computers

Computers can store private information about what you look at via 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 trusted friend's house, or an Internet Café. You may want to use an account your abuser does not know about.


"Corded" phones are more private and less prone to interception than cordless phones or analog cell phones. You may not be able to reach 9-1-1 using an Internet phone or Internet-based phone service, so you may need to be prepared to use another phone to call 9-1-1. Newer cell phones and cell phone plans often have location tracking (GPS) features that an abuser might try to use to learn where you are or where you have been.

(From information provided by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.)