If you suspect you are in an abusive or controlling relationship, it’s important to make sure your online activity can’t be easily discovered by someone else. We offer this information to help you stay safe online.
Most web browsers save information about the websites you have visited and the searches you have made. If you think someone might be monitoring your activity, here are some options to consider:
Use the internet somewhere else
- Use a computer or device that isn’t easily monitored by the person you are trying to keep your browsing private from, e.g., a public computer at a library, shelter, or workplace. This is the safest approach.
Use private mode
- Use your browser’s private mode. This significantly reduces the amount of information your browser retains while surfing the web. Learn more about browsing in Private Mode using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.
Use a VPN
- A virtual private network (VPN) can hide your browsing and search history not only from others using the same device, but also your ISP.
Other safety tips
- Log out of all accounts, especially social media and email accounts, before visiting sites you want to keep private. Note: this step isn’t necessary if you are using a private window or tab and haven’t logged into those accounts since you started browsing.
- If you haven’t been using private mode or a VPN, delete recent browser history, or just specific sites, by opening up your browser’s history tab. Keep in mind, if you are using a shared device and you delete all the saved passwords and history, this may make them suspicious – so take care to only delete the information you don’t want seen.
- Even if you take precautions, web traffic can still be monitored.
- Toolbars such as Google and Yahoo save the searches you have typed. Clearing your browser’s history does not clear this separate history – you’ll need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar you have installed.
- Computers are susceptible to spyware that can log activity such as the keys you have pressed on your keyboard.
- Even without spyware, it can be difficult to remove all traces of your web activity from a device. This is why using the internet someplace you aren’t being watched is the safest option.
On this site, like many sites that have information about domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, there is a quick escape button on the right. Although this button will quickly take you away from this website, it doesn’t remove the history of your visit from your browser. If you haven’t been browsing in private mode, once it is safe, go to your browser’s history tab and delete the URLs and information that you don’t want seen. Or, if you were using a private window, all you need to do is close the window.
Learn more about browsing in Private Mode using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.