Technology can be pretty awesome in a lot of ways. With a smartphone or a laptop and an internet connection, you can chat, message, share pictures or videos, and stay connected with anyone, anywhere in the world. But we all know that technology can also cause problems, especially for people in abusive relationships.
We’ve talked a lot about digital abuse while in a relationship, but if your relationship has ended, your safety is still important. Follow this tech safety checklist to create a few protective barriers for yourself after a breakup:
Change your passwords
If you shared your online passwords with your ex (or even if you didn’t), it’s a good idea to change them post-breakup. If your ex was abusive in any way, or if your relationship was unhealthy, there’s a chance that they might try to log in to your accounts and continue the abuse.
Block/remove phone numbers
It could be a good idea to block or remove your ex’s number from your phone. That way you won’t be tempted to answer when you see their name pop up on your cell. If you don’t feel comfortable deleting or blocking an abusive ex’s number, consider changing their name in your phone to something that will remind you why it might not be healthy for you to talk to them — like, “I Deserve Respect!”
Update your privacy settings
Double check your privacy settings on your social media accounts, and decide if you want to opt for more privacy. For example, you might update your settings so that your ex and their friends only see certain information that you share, or maybe you’ll choose to block your ex completely.
Turn off check-ins
For a little while, at least, you might consider turning off check-ins when you go out, especially if you’re concerned about your ex knowing where you are.
Ask friends not to tag you
If you don’t feel comfortable with your ex knowing your whereabouts after you break up, ask your friends not to tag you in pictures or check-ins.
Check for spyware
Did your ex keep tabs on you, or check up on you constantly during your relationship? If so, it could be a good idea to check your phone and computer for spyware. Some abusive partners (or ex-partners) use spyware to monitor their victims, and it can be difficult to detect. Check out NNEDV’s Spyware and Safety pdf, or this article about detecting spyware on a cell phone.
Remember, whether you’re in a relationship or you’ve just broken up with your partner, you have a right to safety and privacy. If you need to talk to someone about your situation, or if you have questions about unhealthy relationship behaviors, you can always call, chat, or text with a peer advocate!