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Staying Safe Online

Violence that occurs online is becoming increasingly common as more and more people use the internet to conduct their daily lives.

This page shows you some things you can do to stay safe online.

Watch the eSafety Women video (external website) about online safety:

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

What is online violence?

Online violence is also called cyber-violence or cyber-bulling. Online violence is when someone is violent towards you over the internet or social media. This can include:

  • sending you harassing emails
  • bullying you on social media
  • posting or sending photos or videos of you without your consent
  • threatening to hurt you through an online forum like Facebook or email
  • tracking where you are
  • pressuring you to share revealing photos of yourself
  • pressuring you to meet in person
  • stalking you with spyware or monitoring devices (external link)
  • taking your personal information from your private online profile or browser history and sharing it without your permission
  • stealing your personal information or bank details.
Tip: If you experience violence or abuse online, you can report it to The Office of the eSafety Commissioner (external link).

Staying safe on this site

Photo of a hand typing on a keyboard.

Quick exit

There may be times while looking at this website when you need to exit quickly. If this happens you can use the red exit button in the bottom right-hand corner. This will close this website and take you to Google (external link).  

Search history

The close button will not delete your internet history. This means that if someone checks your browser history they will be able to see that you have visited this website.

To stop people being able to see that you visited this website, you should clear your browser history in your internet settings by visiting your website history and selecting clear all. You can learn how to do this on the eSafety Commissioner website (external link).

Tip: If someone is monitoring your online activity using spyware or monitoring devices,
they will still be able to see that you have visited this website.

How to stay safe online

There are lots of ways you can protect your safety when using the internet, but some of them are quite difficult and complex. We have provided a video and a list of tips below to help you.

Watch the 1800RESPECT video (external website) about device security:

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

1. Keep things private

Keeping your information private is one oft the best ways you can stay safe when using the internet. Some things you can do to keep your information private include:

  • set your internet browser and social media accounts to ‘private’ using the settings options on your accounts
  • only share things on social media that you are comfortable being made public 
  • don’t put details like your address and phone number on your online accounts
  • only accept messages and friend requests from people you know  
  • use INCOGNITO (private mode) on your computer or phone for any sites or search histories you want to keep private. Incognito mode does not keep search histories or cookies (footprints kept by websites). If you are using a computer or laptop, you can turn incognito on by clicking File at the top of your browser window and choosing New Private Window or New Incognito Window.

2. Use passwords that others won’t guess

All of your online accounts will require you to have a password. You may want to keep a diary of all your usernames and passwords to keep track of them, but make sure to keep it safe, or write it in a way that only you will understand. You should also:

  • use different passwords for different accounts
  • not use easy to guess words or numbers like your name or birthday.
Tip: You can learn how make a strong password on the Technology Safety Australia website (external link).

3. Report things that seem wrong

Unfortunately there are lots of people on the internet who would like to steal your details. If something seems wrong, make sure you report it.

This could include:

  • receiving emails or messages that seem suspicious
  • constantly receiving unsolicited or unwanted emails from an organisation or group
  • being threatened through an email or message
  • having your money stolen over the internet.
Did you know?

You can report suspicious behaviour to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) scam watch (external link).

4. Browse safely

It can be hard to know when a site is unsafe, but you can try to avoid these sites by:

  • staying away from unknown websites that are advertised to you in ‘sponsored’ posts
  • only visiting websites that have been suggested to you by people or organisations you know and trust
  • installing an anti-virus and/or ad-blocker program on your computer or device
  • seeking support through your local library or by going to one of the Technology Safety Australia training events (external link).

5. Online money and payments

Doing your shopping and banking online is easy and helpful but you should be careful about how you do it. You should:

  • be careful when giving your bank or credit card details to sites that you have not used before 
  • always log out of your account after using online banking, or shopping sites like Ebay (external link)
  • avoid paying for goods and services through direct bank transfer. Try to use reliable banking platforms like PayPal (external link).

Online dating

With increasing use of the internet, more people are also using online dating sites and apps like Tinder and OKCupid.

Online dating can be a great way to meet people, but can also put you at risk of interacting with people who are violent or abusive.

We have provided a video and list of tips below to help you stay safe.

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn on captions.

Tips for using online dating sites

Some tips for using online dating websites safely include:

  • try to avoid sharing your personal information, like your address, workplace, phone number and especially your bank details. Communication should only occur through the relevant app or third party messenger, until you feel it is safe to provide the other person/s your contact details such as phone number
  • check the social media profiles of people you meet. Even if they are set to private, it should help you to work out if they are a real person or not. Sometimes people can pretend to be someone they are not – this is called catfishing.
  • if you choose to meet people in person, meet them in a public place where others are around. Take a mobile phone and tell a friend or family member where you are going
  • don’t invite people to your home until you have met them a few times and feel safe with them
  • report any suspicious or abusive messages on websites to the website owners
  • most of all, trust your instincts. If someone feels unsafe, they probably are. Don’t do anything you do not feel comfortable doing. You have the right to feel safe.

Important Resources

Publications
WWDA Position Statement 1: Right to Freedom from Violence
Information from WWDA about the right to safety from all forms of violence and abuse.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
1800RESPECT
A 24-hour confidential information, counselling and support service. Phone or chat online now.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Checklist
Our Site Checklist: Are You Experiencing Violence?
Violence can be hard to recognise when you are the one experiencing it. This checklist can help you identify if you are experiencing violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
Our Site Fact Sheet: What is Violence?
A WWDA fact sheet about the different types of violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Apps
Sunny App
A free app for women with disability who have experienced violence and abuse.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 1 - Learn About Violence
Easy English book about violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 2 - Learn About Rights
Easy English book about your right to be safe from violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
1800 Respect Easy English Book 3 - Where Violence Happens and Who Can Do Violence
Easy English book about where violence happesns and who can do violence.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Online Safety Guide for People With Autism
A Helpful Online Safety Guide for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video

Where to next:

External website
eSafety Commissioner
A website helping Australians to have safer, more positive experiences online.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
eSafety Women
A website that has information for women about staying safe online.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission SCAM WATCH
A national government website where you can report online scams.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
eSafety: Resources in Easy English
Resources that provide online safety information and advice in Easy English.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Technology Safety Australia: safer technology for women
A website with information for women about staying safe on the internet.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
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