Behind the Screens: Reducing Tech Footprints

Behind the Screens: Reducing Tech Footprints

behind-screens-footprintsThis is a post in our Behind the Screens series, which explores issues related to digital abuse. This post was written by Lauren, a Hotline advocate.

When navigating an abusive relationship it is important to have safe access to online resources and communication. Sometimes an abusive partner might monitor computer usage by checking web browsing history or even using tracking software on the computer. Ideally, connecting online should be done on a safe computer that the abusive partner can’t access, such as the computer of a trusted friend or a public computer at a library or community center. When it is not possible to use the internet from a safe device, there are still ways to reduce the technological footprints left on your computer. (Keep in mind that there is no way to completely delete internet history. If your partner is using spyware on your device, they will likely still have access to your browsing history. Learn more about spyware in this post.)

Below we are going to explore safety options in four common web browsers. A web browser is the software that allows someone to connect to the internet, such as Internet Explorer or Safari. For each of the four browsers there are steps for how to delete all browsing history, delete selective browsing history, and use a private browsing mode that does not record browsing history. This information is based off the latest version of the browsers at the time this post is published. If you are unsure of which browser or version you are using, whatbrowswer.org will help you identify your browser. If your browser is not listed below or you are using an older version of a browser, information on how to take these precautions may be found in the support section of your browser’s website.

Internet Explorer: Version IE 11

Private browsing mode is referred to as InPrivate Browsing. An InPrivate Browsing session needs to be activated each time a session is begun.

  1. Once a browser window is open select Tools from the browser’s menu
  2. Select Safety
  3. Select InPrivate Browsing to start an InPrivate Browsing session

Delete All Internet History

  1. Once a browser window is open select Tools or the Tool Icon from the top of the browser window.
  2. Select Safety
  3. Select Delete Browsing History
  4. A pop up will appear, select Delete

Selectively Delete History

  1. Click Favorites Button
  2. Select History Tab
  3. Select the options of how you would like to view your history. The options View by Date and View by Order Visited Today may be the most helpful.
  4. Right click on the site you would like to delete and select Delete

Safari: Version Safari 7

Private browsing mode is referred to as Private Browsing. A Private Browsing session needs to be activated each time a session is begun

  1. Select Safari from the top menu for the browser
  2. Select Private Browsing

Delete All Internet History

  1. Select History from the top menu for the browser
  2. Select Clear History

Selectively Delete History

  1. Select History from the top menu for the browser
  2. Select Show History
  3. Select the websites you would like to delete and then press Delete

Chrome: Version Chrome 39

Private Browsing mode is referred to as Incognito. An Incognito session needs to be activated each time a session is begun

  1. Select the Chrome Menu from the browser window. It looks like three horizontal lines and is usually in the top right of the browser
  2. Select New Incognito Window

Delete All Internet History

  1. Select the Chrome Menu from the browser window. It looks like three horizontal lines and is usually in the top right of the browser
  2. Select Tools
  3. Select Clear Browsing Data
  4. A pop up will appear and select what you want to have deleted
  5. Select Clear Browsing Data

Selectively Delete History

  1. Select the Chrome Menu from the browser window. It looks like three horizontal lines and is usually in the top right of the browser
  2. Select History
  3. Select the pages you would like to delete
  4. At the top right of the page select Remove Selected Items
  5. Select Remove

Firefox: Version Firefox 34

Private Browsing mode is accessed by opening a Private Window. A Private Window needs to be activated each time a session is begun

  1. Select the Firefox Menu button at the top of the browser. It looks like three horizontal lines.
  2. Select New Private Window

Delete All Internet History

  1. Select the Firefox Menu button at the top of the browser. It looks like three horizontal lines
  2. Select History
  3. Select Clear Recent History
  4. Select the time range that you would like to delete all history from
  5. Select Clear Now

Selectively Delete History

  1. Select the Firefox Menu button at the top of the browser. It looks like three horizontal lines
  2. Select History
  3. Select Show All History
  4. Hold down the Control key on your keyboard as you click on the website you would like to delete.
  5. Select Forget About the Site

Again, these are just some precautions you can take to help reduce your web footprint, but these steps don’t guarantee your safety. You know your situation best, so do what feels right for you. If you’d like to develop a personal safety plan, our advocates are here to help! Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat via this website from 7am-2am CST everyday.

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