You may not want other people to know that you've been searching for information or help from websites, such as domestic abuse support services or victim support services.
When you browse the internet on a mobile phone, tablet or computer, you leave a history trail of pages and sites you've visited.
It's impossible to completely avoid being tracked online. If you're worried about someone knowing which sites you've been looking at, there are some things you can do to help cover your tracks.
Delete your browsing history
You can delete the history of websites you've visited. It's important to know that if you delete your browsing history, someone else using the same device may notice.
If you share a tablet, mobile phone, laptop or computer with someone, they might notice that passwords or website addresses have disappeared from their history.
Find out how to delete your browsing history from the most used browsers:
Private browsing (incognito)
When you're browsing incognito, the internet browser won't store cookies or record your browsing history on the computer, mobile or tablet.
This option is available on the most used web browsers:
If you use a search toolbar in your web browser, remember that your searched items can be saved as part of your history. Find out how to delete your searched items from the following search engines:
Leave site button
On some of our pages we have included a leave site button on the bottom of the page. This is safeguarding feature that gives users the ability to leave the site quickly if needed. We have put the button on website pages that may contain sensitive information.
Using the leave site button will not hide your browser history. You will still need to delete your browsing history.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.
Any email you have previously sent will be stored in sent items. If you started an email but did not finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message. Print and delete the email if you don't want anyone to see your original message.
When you delete an item in any email program, such as Outlook, Hotmail or Gmail, it moves the item to a folder called deleted items. You must delete the items in deleted items separately.
Facebook has introduced several changes to its apps that survivors of domestic abuse can use to protect themselves for receiving abusive messages and unwanted contact, in addition to taking greater control over the content you see:
- When you block someone on Facebook or Instagram, they will no longer be able to search for your profile
- to make it harder for someone you've already blocked from contacting you again through a new Instagram account, when you block someone you now have the option to both block their account and block any new accounts that person may create
- messenger allows you to ignore a conversation and automatically move it out of your inbox without having to block the sender
- you can control who can comment on your public posts on Facebook
- all UK Instagram accounts can filter private message requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis. These can also be added to your comment filter, meaning no comment containing these terms will appear under your posts
- Instagram's Sensitive Content Control tool allows you to decide how much sensitive content shows up in the Explore tab