Staying Safe Online

Staying safe when online

We have collated a number of important pieces of information on keeping safe online and hiding your website visits. 

If you or someone you know needs help now, call 111 or 0800 REFUGE. We’re available all day, every day. 

Browsing privately and deleting your history after

If you are worried about someone finding out that you have visited this website, go to this link  and click on whatever search engine is relevant to you. It uses screenshots to take you through steps to browse privately*. 

You may want to delete your history of searches too. 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. 

*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. 


If someone has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password that the person abusing you will not be able to guess. 

If you receive threatening or harassing email messages, you should save and/or print them as evidence of this abuse. 

History / cache file:

If an abuser knows how to read your computer’s history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), they may be able to see information you have viewed recently on the internet. 

To clear your history and files: 

It’s important to note that when deleting there is a risk involved with removing data from your computer. For example, if your partner uses online banking and has a saved password, then if you clear the cookies on your PC, your partner may realise you’ve done so, because their password will no longer be saved. Also, your partner may notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, and this may raise suspicion. 

If you are unsure which browser, you are currently using click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser window. The last entry on the menu that appears should say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below. 

Essentially all the browsers are the same. Find the settings menu, and search for the option to view and clear your browsing history, downloads, cookies, saved content, and cache. 

Other ways to keep yourself and your family safe online

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, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this violence. 

NetSafe is a non-profit organisation that educates and supports individuals, organisations and industry on a range of cybersafety issues. 

You can also refer to the orb. The orb has been developed by NetSafe to offer all New Zealanders a simple and secure way to report their concerns about online incidents. 

Here are 10 top ways to protect your privacy on Facebook according to the unofficial Facebook blog All Facebook: 

  1. Remove yourself from Facebook searches. By default, Facebook makes your presence visible to the network you are in. Often people aren’t aware of their visibility, so this is one of the first settings which should be changed. 
  2. Remove yourself from Google. To make yourself less visible to Google and other search engines, go to the ‘Privacy Settings’ page on your Facebook account to modify. 
  3. Avoid the photo/video tag mistake. To avoid getting your name next to embarrassing photos, go to your ‘Profile Privacy’ page, modify the setting next to ‘Photos Tagged of You’ and select the option which says “Customize” to change. 
  4. Protect your albums. Go to your ‘Photos Privacy’ page to manually configure the visibility of each of your albums. 
  5. Use your friend lists to create private groupings of friends based on your personal preferences. 
  6. Control who sees your ‘Basic Information’, which includes things like your relationship status. When changes are made to your ‘Basic Information’, it automatically appears as a news feed. To change this setting, go to ‘Basic Information’ on the ‘Profile Privacy’ page. 
  7. Protect against published application stories. Once you install an application on Facebook, you should check your profile to ensure no embarrassing notification has been posted to your profile. 
  8. Make your ‘Contact Information’ private. If you’ve chosen to enter this information on your profile, you should see a ‘Contact Information’ area under the ‘Info’ tab – simply click ‘Edit’ to modify the privacy setting. 
  9. Avoid embarrassing wall posts. Within your profile page, you can control who can view wall postings made by your friends. Click on the ‘Settings’ icon on the wall in your profile page. 
  10. Keep your friendships private. To make your friends less visible to others, go to the ‘Profile Privacy’ page. 
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