Staying safe online

Take steps to increase your privacy and safety when using the internet and phones.

If you are worried that someone can access your private computer it might be better for you to use another one at a library or friend's, or work.

Going Incognito - Private Browsing

You can change settings on your web browser to stop others who use the same computer viewing your web history, downloads, autofill, and dialog box information.

Incognito mode or private browsing only prevents the browser from storing browsing information locally. It does not make you anonymous online or prevent your employer or internet service provider from seeing your traffic.

See how to go Incognito on web browsers via computers or mobile phone here.  The link takes you through the steps using screenshots.

Clearing Cache

Clearing your cache is highly recommended after you have finished browsing a site to help maintain security of your personal browsing data. The information on Clearing Cache is shared with permission from Taranaki Safe Families Trust.

Web browsers save tiny files onto your computer when you visit websites. This means the next time you view those websites, they'll load faster.

See instructions below for clearing your cache.


  1. Click on the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select More Tools.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. A dialogue window will appear, providing you with a list of checkboxes for the types of information that you wish to have removed.
  5. You can also set how far back in your browsers history you wish to have removed.
  6. Once, you have selected the types of information you wish to remove, click Clear browsing data.
  7. Close all browser windows and restart Chrome


  1. Click on the menu button and select Options.
  2. Select the Advanced panel
  3. Click on the Network tab
  4. In the Cached Web Content section click Clear Now
  5. Click ok to exit
  6. Restart Firefox

Internet Explorer

  1. Launch your Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Click Safety on the menu toolbar at the top right of the browser. Or click on Tools, then Internet Options, and finally Delete in the Browsing History Section. If the Tools option is not showing press the Alt key on your keyboard
  3. Click Delete Browsing History... from the drop-down menu.
  4. Deselect Preserve Favorites website data.
  5. Select Temporary Internet files, Cookies, and History.
  6. Click Delete.
  7. Close all browser windows and restart Internet Explorer.  


If an abuser has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. You can help secure access to your account by setting up a password log-in. When you choose a password, just make sure it’s not one that can be easily guessed — such as your birthday or the name of a shared pet.

Also make sure you do not select the ‘Save my password’ or ‘Keep me logged-in’ check boxes, and always log out of your email accounts when you’ve finished your session. This prevents other people from accessing your email account using auto-logins.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you could print and save them as evidence of this abuse. Contact your email provider or the Police for advice or to report what's happening.

Privacy tips for Facebook

Here are some ways to protect your privacy on Facebook from the unofficial Facebook blog All Facebook:

Control who sees your 'Basic Information' and updates. To change this setting, go to Settings — Privacy.

Remove yourself from Facebook searches and Google searches. Go to your Account Settings — Privacy and change the “Who can look me up” settings.

Avoid the photo/video tag mistake. To avoid getting your name next to embarrassing photos, go to your ‘Privacy' page, modify the setting next to ‘Timeline and tagging'.

Use your friend lists to create private groupings of friends based on your personal preferences.

Make your 'Contact Information' private.

Keep your friendships private. To make your friends less visible to others, go to the ‘Privacy' page.

Do not click on links unless you know they are safe.

If you are unsure of how to protect your privacy on Facebook, click on the padlock icon in the top right of the screen. Frequently asked privacy and security questions are listed here.

Find out ways to stay safe even if you are using a computer that is not your own here.

If you are being cyberbullied go to this page for information:

For more information on staying safe online, visit:


If someone has access to your phone, they may be able to see what websites you have visited or who you have called or messaged. See the information above re Incognito and hiding your website visits.

Protect your phone with a password that only you know and isn't easily guessed. 

Delete messages and call history that you wouldn't want someone to see and use other names or codewords for contacts in your address book if you want to hide that information.

If someone is harassing you by phone go to this link for information about what you can do: