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The Internet and Computer Safety

Reviewed May 2023

Safety Alert: Please make sure you are looking at these pages on a safe computer. It is impossible to erase the tracks of all the webpages you have visited.

If you are in danger, call 911.

If you are not in immediate danger, you can phone:

Learn about internet privacy and safety from Safety Net, a project by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and from the National Domestic Violence Hotline's internet safety page.

Reviewed October 2019

Email is not a safe or private way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life.

There are hundreds of ways that computers record everything you do on the computer and on the internet.

If you are in danger, please try to use a computer that an abusive person cannot get to. If they can use it they may be able to "hack" into it and find out what you were looking at.

It might be safer to use a computer in:

  • a public library,
  • at a community technology center,
  • at a trusted friend’s house, or
  • an internet café.

If you think someone is watching what you are doing on the computer, you are probably right. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You do not need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to find out what someone is using a computer for. Anyone can do it and there are many ways to find out how a computer is used.

Computers can tell a lot of information about what you look at on the internet, the emails you send, and other things you do on them. It is not possible to delete or clear all computer “footprints”.

If you think someone is watching who is doing what on your home computer, you might think about not using the internet at home or only looking at safe webpages on the internet.

Learn more about protecting your private information online with Security Planner.

Example

If you are planning to run away from Massachusetts, don't look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc for California on your home computer or any computer an abuser can get to. Use a safer computer to find out about and plan your escape.

Who to call for help

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

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