If you are in an abusive relationship, please attempt to use a computer that your abuser does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to. If you believe that your computer activities are being monitored, you are probably correct. Your abuser may want to know your every move as a way of maintaining power and control over you. Your abuser would not need to possess significant knowledge of technology and computers to monitor your internet activities. Even individuals with basic computer knowledge may be able to obtain large amounts of information about you and your day to day computer habits, through the use of programs such as spyware, key-loggers, and other hacking tools.
It is extremely difficult to clear all signs of your “fingerprints” on the internet, but there are some things that can make it more difficult for you abuser to monitor you via computer. The best way to avoid monitoring of your online activities is to use a computer that your abuser would not have access to such as those available at a friend’s house, a web café, a school or a library. It may tip off your abuser that you are aware of their monitoring if you suddenly change your computer habits or delete your internet history. To try to avoid escalating the situation, you may want to consider continuing to use the computer that you suspect is being monitored to complete your regular internet usage, and use a more private computer to arrange for safety, research your escape plan, and make purchases of items like plane/bus tickets and safe housing payments.
Technology may be a part of our day to day life, but it is important to remember that online communication such as email and text or instant messaging are not necessarily confidential and may be an unsafe way to talk about your abuse. We offer a 24 hour hotline instead at (770) 479-1703. If you must communicate with an advocate via computer, please make every effort to use a secure computer and email address that your abuser would be unaware of.
For more information about online safety, you may wish to consult the Safety Net Project.