How to search safely
Warning: if you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.
How can an abuser discover your internet activities?
Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when visiting this website.
As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Please follow the instructions below to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.
Modern web browsers support a new way of browsing the web called “Private Browsing” or “Incognito Mode”. This allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited. We recommend using this mode whilst viewing our site because it will add an extra level of safety for you.
- Internet Explorer
- Google Chrome
- Mobile Safari on iPhone and iPad
- Web Browser on Android Phones and Tablets
Clearing Traces of Viewing this Website
If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below, you can also look here.
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labelled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.
Click on the button with three lines next to the address bar at the top, then select Settings near the bottom of the menu. At the bottom of the page that appears, there is a link that says Show Advanced Settings, click this to reveal more options. Under the heading Privacy, click the button titled Clear Browsing Data… then check all the boxes on the popup window and click Clear Browsing Data again. For added security, select “the beginning of time” on the drop down at the top to clear all browsing data.
Mobile Safari on iPhone and iPad
Go to Settings and scroll down to Safari, click this option then scroll down to Clear History and Website Data. On the prompt that appears, click Clear History and Data.
Web Browser on Android Phones and Tablets
If you wish to delete browser history on Android, use the following steps:
- Open the internet browser and tap the menu button in the upper-right corner of the screen.
- Tap Settings and next tap Privacy & Security. On this page you can select which information to delete:Clear Cache removes temporary stored files, such as images.
- Clear History removes the list of visited sites.
- Clear all cookie data removes information on your account and preferences for a specific website.
- Clear form data removes information you entered in web forms.
- Tap the item you wish to remove, and tap OK to confirm.
Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to Cache and Saved Form Information.
Click on Tools and then Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left hand side. Click the two Clear buttons and the Empty Now button.
Deleting your browsing history:
Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.thefirststep.org, right click and choose Delete.
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 didn’t 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 (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.
Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.
If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.
All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.