The internet is part of our daily life and has changed the way we live our lives. However, email and the internet may not be a safe way to communicate if you are worried about your safety.
Computers and smartphones can store a lot of data about what you look at online, who you communicate with, your physical location and movements and your personal information.
There are many ways for people to monitor your computer use and find out information about you. But there are also some simple things you can do to increase your safety and privacy when you're using the internet.
Online safety and security tips
Netsafe(external link) has a number of suggestions for using online technologies safely and securely.
See if your private contact information can be found online. Go to Google, enter your name and hit enter. Do the same on Google images.
Secure your computer
Install and regularly update anti-spyware and anti-virus software. Activate your firewall and secure your wireless (Wi-Fi) network.
Use a safer computer
Try and use a safer computer (one at a public library, community centre) when looking for help, a new place to live etc. Consider opening a private email address on a safe computer.
Change passwords and pin numbers
Change passwords for any protected accounts, have different passwords for different accounts, strengthen password security by combining numbers, letters and special characters, always log off after use.
Mobile phones and apps
Mobile phones and some apps can track your exact location in real time. Turn off any location based features, including tagging, GPS and Bluetooth.
Update your privacy settings, limit what you share, do not post updates/photos that include location based information.
Talk to your kids
Tell your children not to post any identifying information online, turn off any location based services on their mobile phones, set younger teens’ social media profiles to private.
Ultimately, trust your instincts. If you suspect the abusive person knows too much, it is possible that your phone, computer, email or other activities are being monitored.
Clear your browser history
Every time you visit a web page your internet browser stores files related to your browsing session. If someone gets access to your browser after an online session, they can easily see what you have been looking at online.
While you can clear your browser history(external link) through your computer's settings, It's impossible to delete or clear all the 'footprints' of your computer or online activities.
It's also important to remember that if someone is monitoring your online activity it might be dangerous to clear your browser history if that is something that you don't normally do.