The relatively recent digitization of life has provided us with enhanced convenience and quick communication. Unfortunately, while the advancement in technology has provided society with many benefits, technology can also be used by abusers to stalk or control their victims.
These days, we all are at risk of having our personal information compromised online. Although this can severely impact any person’s life, victims of domestic violence are more likely to be at risk of being stalked or tracked on the internet–putting their safety in jeopardy. If you are a domestic violence survivor, we have several ways you can better protect yourself online.
How Can Domestic Violence Survivors Protect Themselves on the Internet?
In situations of domestic violence, there is an abuse of power and control that leaves victims susceptible to having their technology used against them. Technology can be used as a tool to oppress a domestic abuse victim, whether online or offline. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, follow these nine tips to better protect yourself when browsing the web:
- Restore or replace all computing devices. Phones, tablets, and computers that you owned before leaving the domestic violence situation could have tracking software. Back up your data onto an external hard drive for evidence, then replace your devices or restore them to factory settings. Consider using a “pay as you go” phone that cannot easily be traced back to you.
- Create new email addresses and contact information. Make an email address that your abuser does not know and prevent any information about your new contact information or location from being sent to your old email address.
- Do not share information on social media. Keep as much information off of social media as possible, even in private messages.
- Update software regularly. Software updates often acknowledge security flaws and enhance security features. Turn on automatic updates to ensure that your software stays protected.
- Protect your passwords. Change all of your passwords. Use strong passwords that are not easily guessed and implement second-factor authentication to prevent a breach of privacy.
- Close joint accounts. If there are any accounts that you and your abuser both have access to, close them and open a new account. This applies to banks, phone services, social networks, or anything else your abuser may have access to, like store loyalty programs.
- Ensure that location-tracking services are turned off. Many apps and social media sites track your location by default. Make sure to change your privacy settings to prohibit tracking abilities and remember not to “check-in” anywhere on social media.
- Block your abuser. Block your abuser’s phone number, email, social media, and messaging accounts from contacting you. It may also be a good idea to block your abuser’s friends and family.
- Use library computers. If you are ever questioning whether using your device is safe, hunt down the local library and utilize their free computers to surf the web and communicate with others.
Discover more about protecting yourself from stalking and domestic violence online by visiting the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) or contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Contact a Board-Certified Attorney in Orlando for Domestic Violence Protections
At Fighter Law, we are committed to helping victims of domestic violence in Central Florida. Attorney Thomas Feiter is a board-certified lawyer that offers compassionate legal protection to survivors seeking to remove themselves from abusive situations. If you are being (or have previously been) abused by a family member, current or former partner, and are interested in filing for an injunction, divorce, or restraining order, call us at (407) 344-4837 or complete our contact form for a free evaluation of your case today.