After a divorce, you’ll need to take some steps to ensure that both you and your family stay safe online. Whether you’re posting to social media, exploring the world of online dating, or just using a Wi-Fi signal out in public, hidden online dangers could jeopardize your safety. If you learn about and take steps to prevent these dangers, you can go online feeling safe and confident.
Here Are Some Online Safety Tips After Divorce That You Should Follow
1. Protect Your Social Media Accounts
To keep yourself safe online after a divorce, start by revisiting the security settings of your social media accounts. You’ve probably shared a lot of information through social media, and that information may be accessible to more people than you’d imagined.
If you’ve previously shared your social media passwords with others, including your ex, reset those passwords. Then, change the security settings of your social media accounts. You can limit the people who are able to see your posts to just your friends, adding some security to your accounts. This is also a good time to go through your friends’ list and remove anyone who you don’t want to have access to your posts.
It’s also important to avoid friending people you don’t know on social media. Divorce lawyers, attorneys, and even private investigators may create fake profiles to try to dig up evidence and information on you. Stalkers may also create fake profiles, and spammers also frequently use fake profiles to send you unwanted ads.
Instead of accepting every friend request you get, take the time to verify that you actually know the person who sent the request. By keeping your social media friends list small, you’ll be better able to limit the number of people who see the information that you choose to share.
2. Limit What Information You Share
Even though you may have your social media accounts set to private, it’s still important to limit the amount of information that you share online. It’s still possible for social media users to screenshot and share your information with others, so the information that you think is private may not be.
To keep yourself and your children safe, avoid posting private personal information. Don’t share birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, or the names of your children’s schools. Be very careful about what photos you do share, and don’t announce when you’ll be going on a trip or when you’ll be out of the house.
These safety tips apply to online dating, too. Avoid giving out too much information when you’re just getting to know someone online, and never give out your last name until after your first date. If you want to talk to connections by phone, get a Google Voice number so you don’t have to give out your real phone number. Don’t give out information about your employer and keep details vague until you’ve gotten to know and trust someone in person.
Remember, too, the information you post on social media could be used in court cases, including custody cases and domestic violence cases. When it comes to social media, always be cautious and conservative about what you post to help keep yourself and your family safe.
3. Focus on How You Use Wi-Fi
Remember that public Wi-Fi carries security dangers, too. Hackers may be able to access your device when you’re using a public Wi-Fi signal, potentially gaining access to your personal information, security passwords, and more.
If you’re in a situation where you have to use public Wi-Fi, never enter personal information, like your address, social security number, or passwords. It’s best to use a virtual private network, or VPN, which can offer you an extra layer of protection when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi. While browsing, only use sites that have Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, which will encrypt the connection to help protect sensitive information you enter on the website.
While these extra security measures can help to protect you, try to avoid using public Wi-Fi altogether. You may want to invest in an unlimited data plan for your phone so that you can use it as a hotspot wherever you go. You won’t have to worry about Wi-Fi and will be able to browse confidently, knowing that you’re not opening yourself up to security threats.
4. Unplug and Step Away
While you may need to be online through the day for work and to stay connected with long-distance friends and family, remember the importance of unplugging and spending some time offline, too. Consider taking the unplugging challenge, where you turn off all of your devices for a period of time and reconnect with the world around you.
If you want to take this challenge, you’ll need to set yourself up for success. If you use email for large portion of work every day, don’t set yourself a challenge of going offline for a week. Instead, set small unplugging goals and work your way up to these larger achievements.
It may take a while to feel safe again now that you’re single. Following these online safety tips after divorce will help protect your privacy. Reassessing your online safety and security can be a great step in building up your confidence and reestablishing feelings of safety again.