While computers, cell phones, and other innovations in electronics and communication can provide invaluable resources to survivors of domestic violence, these items can also be used by abusers to stalk, harass, monitor, or locate someone.
Stopping the use of technology is not always a feasible or safe solution, but there are other tips you can follow to increase your safety when using technology.
- Trust your instincts. If you think your actions or movements are being monitored, they probably are.
- Try to determine the information source. Is it all information you shared on Facebook or looked up in online searches? Do they always know where you are when you drive your car somewhere? Having an idea of the source of the monitoring can help you take control of the information they are able to access.
- Use safer computers. If you think that your home computer or tablet is being monitored, consider using a friend’s computer or public computers at libraries if you are able to.
- Remember to log out. Make sure “keep me logged in” buttons are always unchecked on all devices and remember to log out of your accounts.
- Change your account passwords. Go through your accounts and change passwords. Do not use the new passwords on a computer that may be monitored. Make sure you are using different passwords for all of your accounts.
- Check your cell phone settings. Disable the location access and bluetooth settings on your cell phone if you suspect any monitoring. If you are able to safely do so, getting a new phone is an even better option.
- Have your car checked. A trusted mechanic can check vehicles for location monitoring devices that may have been installed without your knowledge.
- Document monitoring and online harassment. Whether or not you choose to make a report to law enforcement, consider documenting different instances of monitoring or online abuse/harassment.
- Remember you don’t have to do all this alone. A Peace at Home Advocate can help you create a personalized tech safety plan and discuss other safety resources like emergency shelter or an Order of Protection.
Peace at Home Crisis Hotline – 479.442.9811 or 877-442.9811