Technology, internet, and computer safety

Information for survivors and victims

Quick tips

If you think someone may be monitored your computer, smartphone, or tablet, be careful how you use them since an abuser might become suspicious if you change your patterns of online activity. You may want to continue using the monitored device(s) for innocent activities, like looking up the weather. It might be safer to use a different computer in a public library, Community Technology Center (CTC), office supply store, or at a trusted friend’s house to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, and finding help.

It’s NOT SAFE OR CONFIDENTIAL to use e-mail, social media platforms, and most instant messenger chat apps to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. A growing number of agencies are offering secure online chat through their websites. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

Computers, smartphones, and tablets can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, VoIP (e.g. Skype, Google Hangouts) and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities. It is virtually impossible to completely erase all the history or “digital footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

If you are in danger

Remember that traditional “corded” phones are more private and less interceptable than cordless phones or analog cell phones.

Be aware you may not be able to reach 9-1-1 using an internet phone or internet-based phone service (Vonage, Skype, etc), so you may need to be prepared to use another phone to call 911.

Contact your local domestic violence program or shelter to learn about free cell phone donation programs.

External links and resources

Further reading

For more information about technology-facilitated abuse, cyber-stalking, or integrating tech awareness into safety planning with survivors, contact Jonathan Gates, Communications and Events Coordinator, or Keri Moran-Kuhn, Associate Director at (503) 230-1951.

Agencies' use of technology
Technology safety
Author / Source

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

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