Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

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How to reduce the risk of technology-facilitated abuse

In a world where our lives are increasingly being lived online, the need to stay safe from technology-facilitated abuse has never been more important. 

Digital technology brings great benefits to our everyday lives. But the devices, apps and platforms come with risks, especially for women experiencing domestic and family violence. This page provides tips for improving your safety.

 

See What You Made Me Do

See What You Made Me Do is a documentary series that explores domestic and family violence. As the title highlights, domestic and family violence is often considered the fault of the women and children who are abused. But it is not.

The series from Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is based on an award-winning book by investigative journalist Jess Hill. It shows the way digital technology is frequently used as a tactic to control and coerce people in abusive relationships. 

eSafety has collaborated with SBS to provide practical information about technology-facilitated abuse and how to stay safer online.

About technology-facilitated abuse

5 tips to reduce the risk of technology-facilitated abuse

You know your situation best, so be careful about how you use technology to access the advice and resources on this page and others on the eSafety website. Always seek help in a way that prioritises your safety, or that of the person you are helping.

If you think digital devices, apps or platforms are being used against you, or someone you know, here are some options for staying safer online.


  1. Know what to look out for
    Check for these common warning signs to get a better understanding of how digital technology can be used negatively – by partners, ex-partner or their networks – to abuse, humiliate and control victim-survivors.


  2. Create an online safety plan
    Creating an online safety plan helps victim-survivors stay connected while preventing abusers from locating them through social media, online accounts and devices. This resource includes a checklist to help identify steps that can contribute to being safer online, while still using technology for its positive everyday uses.  


  3. Know how to collect evidence safely
    eSafety offers step-by-step guidance on collecting evidence if digital technology is being used in an abusive or threatening way. Although it is important to collect evidence, it is even more important to stay safe. Make sure evidence is only collected when it is safe to do so. 


  4. Actively update account security
    It’s simple and effective to use different, strong passwords for each account and sign out when finished. Two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication) can be added for extra protection. Your security questions should be changed to things no one else will know the answer to. Learn more about how to secure your accounts in the eSafety Women video library. 


  5. Be careful about sharing your location
    Check the privacy settings on all your devices and apps, including social media. If it's safe to do so, disable their location services.  Bluetooth technology used for sharing files and connecting devices like headphones can also track your location, so you may need to turn that off in your device settings. When searching online, use private or ‘incognito’ browsing mode, especially if you are looking for help.

     

Staying safer online

Staying safer online

More resources

Educational resources for schools

Connect with Respect has been developed by eSafety and SBS in response to some of the issues raised in See What You Made Me Do.

This teacher resource focuses on five short videos. The videos and associated classroom activities provide opportunities for important conversations with your students about being respectful, supportive friends and navigating their social lives safely. 

 

Get help

1800RESPECT

Confidential counselling, support and information for people affected by sexual abuse or domestic and family violence. Available 24/7.

Police

If you, or someone you care about, is at risk of harm right now call Triple Zero (000).

More options

Warning

Remember, your safety is the most important thing. If an abusive person learns that you are seeking resources and information, their abusive behaviour may get worse.