We may know what physical, financial, or emotional abuse look like. But, in recent years, as cellphones and laptops have become a part of our daily routine, tech abuse has become yet another addition to that list.
There are a lot of ways someone could use tech to abuse their partner. There could even be some overlap with emotional or financial abuse. But there are different ways you can be targeted: social media apps, text messages, stalkerware, emails, or even work communication platforms.
Here are seven things you can do if you’re a victim of tech abuse.
1. Record, screenshot, and save everything
Does someone have an intimate photo of you and is threatening you to upload it? Record, screenshot and save the communication. All contact from your abuser can be used in a case. Every state has laws against anti bullying law, if you choose to pursue legal recourse.
2. Pay attention to your battery life
If your battery is draining quickly, it could be because there is unauthorized activity going on. There could be some third party apps roaming around on your phone, using your data unknowingly. A way to find out is to download an antivirus app for your phone and run a scan.
3. Remove your intimate photos from Google
Google has an option where you can remove personal information. (Note: it won’t take it down from the web, just Google.) Personal information in this case includes non-consensual explicit or intimate personal images, involuntary fake pornography, content about you on sites with exploitative removal practices from Google.
4. Change any shared passwords
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “36% of dating college students have given a dating partner their computer, email, or social media passwords; these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.” When was the last time you changed your Facebook password? Is your password “first name123”?
If you just went through a break-up or a rough falling out between a friend, maybe now is a good time to update those social media accounts, email, and phone passwords. A great way to keep track of it all is a security password manager. So next time we should think about sharing your password.
5. Restrict your comments to limit cyberbullying on Instagram
Whether it is a close friend, a content creator, or yourself, if you haven’t been a victim of it, you’ve probably seen it. Here’s one thing you can do when a user is cyberbullying you on Instagram. A new feature to help people manage multiple unwanted interactions at once. It is called comment management and it is a setting you change in your app that helps remove or restrict negative comments.
6. Hide your activity on Instagram
Another useful feature on Instagram is hiding your activity. On their help page they explain, “People you follow or have direct conversations with can see when you’re active, were recently active or currently active in the same chat on Instagram. You can change the visibility of your Activity Status” This will help whoever is watching your every step, have less visibility of your online presence.
7. Find support for the tech abuse
Chances are you’re not alone. According to Urban.org, “One in four dating teens is abused or harassed online or through texts by their partners, according to the largest survey to date on the subject.” So if you’re a victim of tech abuse, check out the Digital Violence Support Line for support for this digital abuse.