If you are in an abusive situation you should be aware of how to browse safely. Computer use can be monitored and browser history, cache, cookies and other trails of your activity can be difficult to get rid of completely.
Use Someone Else’s Devices
The safest way for someone in an abusive situation to get more information on how to get help is by using a device outside of his/her home. Other options are:
- A friend or family member’s computer, tablet or phone
- A workplace computer
- A public computer (Public Library for example)
“Emergency Exit” Button
If you are on a personal device or a device to which your abuser has access, use the “Emergency Exit” red button in the top right of the website (or bottom of your screen on mobile devices) to quickly exit the site and you will be taken to Weather.com.
This will not delete your search history, however. You must take extra precaution when using personal devices that your abuser might check to ensure that he/she won’t become alerted to the fact that you’re seeking help.
Delete Search History, Browsing History and Cookies
- When using a search engine like Google or Bing these resources will log your searched items to make suggested searches for you in the future.
- Your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc) tracks the sites you visit and keeps them logged within your internet history.
- Many website will use what are called “Cookies” when you’re browsing; Cookies are small files that help the website customize your experience of that site in the future like saving fields that you’ve previously filled out.
How to clear your history in:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
- Safari for OSX
- Internet Explorer
- Android (Mobile)
- Safari for iOS (Mobile)
Certain browsers have “private” browsing modes which will not keep your browsing history or cache cookies while you are using them.
- Google Chrome calls private browsing "Incognito". To open a private browsing window in Chrome, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select "New incognito window".
- Safari calls private browsing "Private". To open a private browsing window in Safari, click on "File" in the top left-hand corner of the screen and select "New Private Window".
- Mozilla Firefox calls private browsing "Private". To open a private browsing window in Firefox, click on the three lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select "New Private Window".
- Microsoft browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge) call it "InPrivate". To open a private browsing window in Internet Explorer, click on the "Safety" button in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select "InPrivate Browsing". To open a private browsing window in Edge, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select "New InPrivate window".
Keeping Your Smartphone Safe
Your smartphone is essentially the same thing as your computer. This article contains excellent ideas that prevent others from accessing information on your smartphone. You should also consider deleting browsing history, cookies and search history from your phone.
Keeping Your Tablet Safe
If you happen to have a tablet, you’ll want to take similar steps with the settings and browser, as have been recommended above. Here is information on how to do so on an iPad, Kindle, Galaxy Note, Surface and Google Nexus.
Keeping Your Email and Social Media Accounts Safe
The web site womenslaw.org has excellent advice to help you manage your email activity and accounts, as well as your social media activities, and improve your personal security.