Tech abuse is abuse. Just because it happens via text, social media, or otherwise doesn’t make it any less scary or harmful. If you see abusive, harassing or disturbing content online, we encourage you to report it.
If you feel you are being harassed, create a safety plan for yourself that includes people who can help, how to keep technological information private, and what to do in case of an emergency. Document and store digital evidence with screenshots that include the person’s name, other identifying details, and date/timestamp of the communication.
Safer can help with this – make an appointment with one of our Advocates!
How to Report Tech Abuse
Accessing an app’s “help” or “support” center can typically be done through your profile page and the “settings” tab. To report specific content, there is often a drop-down menu next to the post that has a “report” or “block” option. For some of the most popular social media apps, see more detailed instructions below.
- Select the three dots ••• to “report” a post, reel, or IGTV. You can select a reason for the report, such as “violence or dangerous organizations,” “bullying or harassment,” and others. Depending on your selection, it may prompt follow-up questions to receive more specific information about the abusive content.
- When receiving a message, you can long-press on the photo to report. There are options ranging from “threatening, violent or concerning,” to simply “I don’t want to receive Snaps from them.” Follow-up prompts for more specific information may be required. Stories, spotlights can be reported via the three dots ••• menu.
- To take your public location off of SnapMaps, select the map option on the bottom menu. Select the settings option. You can enable “Ghost Mode” so friends can’t see your location. Additionally, once choosing “Ghost Mode,” it is recommended to navigate to the general settings in your phone, select Snapchat, and disable all location access to the app.
- Long-press on the video to open up a menu of options. Select “report.” You can select a reason for the report, including options like “illegal activities,” “violent and graphic content,” “harassment or bullying,” “minor safety,” and others.
Technology & Safety Planning
If you think your activities are being monitored, trust your intuition. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move, so special care needs to be taken to safety plan around technology. An abusive partner does not need to be a computer genius or have special skills to monitor your computer and internet activities. There are many programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools that can be purchased off the internet and easily installed.
Below are tips on how to stay safe with technology:
- Use a safe computer (Public Library, Community Center, café, etc) where your partner cannot trace your search history.
- Keep in mind it is not possible to delete or clear all your online “footprints”.
- Avoid extreme changes to your online activity on any computer the abuser may be monitoring. Use your regular computer for benign activities like checking the weather, news, etc, and use a confidential computer for online banking activities, researching resources, and creating your safety plan.
- Create a new email account using an anonymous name and web-based account (example: firstname.lastname@example.org vs. email@example.com).
- Google yourself often to see what comes up as search results.
- Avoid using emails or instant messaging to discuss the abuser or your plans for escape.
- Change your passwords and pin numbers frequently.
- Lock your cell phone.
- Screen your calls.
- Turn off your cell phone when not in use.
- Switch off the GPS or location services on your devices.
- Have a donated or new cell phone as a back-up phone and keep in a secret location.
Increasingly, abusers are using explicit photos of their partner (taken or exchanged during an earlier stage in the relationship) to gain power and control by posting or threatening to post the photos on the internet. This phenomenon is called revenge porn. If you are a victim of revenge porn or suspect your images are being shared without your permission, please visit the following resources to find help. Legislation was recently drafted in 2019 to address this kind of abuse.
For more information on how to stay safe online, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence's Technology Toolkit for Survivors.