During and after divorce or legal separation, you must take steps to make sure you and your family are safe online. Whether you’re posting on Twitter, exploring the online dating scene or just using public Wi-Fi, there are hidden online dangers that could put your safety at risk. Once you learn about these dangers and take steps to prevent them, you can feel more confident and safe when you’re online.
Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Now is the time to revisit all the security settings on your social media accounts. You’ve likely shared a lot of info using social media, and that information might be accessible to more people than you ever thought.
If you’ve shared social media passwords with other people in the past, including your ex, reset those passwords. Change your security settings so you’re more secure. You can limit the people who can see your posts on some platforms, such as Facebook. Don’t forget to remove people connected to your ex you no longer want contact with from your followers or friends’ lists.
Don’t friend people you don’t know on social media. Depending on your case, your ex’s divorce attorney or even a private investigator may create a fake profile to try to get information about you. A stalker may also use a fake profile, and spammers often use fake profiles to send ads.
Limit What You Share
Even after you’ve trimmed your friends’ list and set your accounts to private, it’s still necessary to limit the amount of info you share online. Social media users can still screenshot and share that info with others, making it far less private than you thought.
To keep your children and yourself safe, avoid posting any private personal details online at all. Don’t share any addresses, birthdates, phone numbers or where your kids go to school. Be careful about which photos you decide to share, and never announce when you’ll be out of your house for a trip or other extended period of time.
These safety tips also apply to online dating. When you are just getting to know a person online, avoid giving out too much information. Do not give out your last name or where you work until at least after your first physical date with someone.
Keep in mind that whatever you post on social media may be used in court cases, including domestic violence and custody cases.
Be Cautious on Public WI-Fi
Public Wi-Fi carries its own set of security dangers. Hackers might be able to access your device when you’re on public Wi-Fi, potentially giving them your passwords, personal info and more.
If you have to use public Wi-Fi, don’t enter your personal information while you are using it. It’s best to use a virtual private network (VPN) if possible when you are on public Wi-Fi, since this offers you an additional layer of protection.
Unplug and Step Back
While you may have to be online for work and to stay connected with family and friends, remember to unplug sometimes and spend time offline as well. Consider trying the unplugging challenge, when you turn off all devices and reconnect with the world around you for a set period of time.
It may take you some time to feel fully safe again after a divorce or separation because ending a relationship can rock your sense of stability. Follow the online safety tips above to protect your privacy and have a safe online experience. Reassessing your online security and safety can be a significant step in rebuilding your confidence and reestablishing your feelings of security in your post-divorce life.