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Cover your tracks

Find out how to keep your visits to the ChildLine website private by deleting your internet history, cookies and clearing the search in your toolbar. If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online maybe you could use a computer that's not in your home, for example at a library or a friend's house.

Cover your tracksHide page button -  What is this?

If you click on this button it will immediately take you away from the ChildLine website to Google's homepage.

If you are using a computer in a public place, or somewhere that someone might see which website you are visiting, you can use this button to hide what you are doing quickly.

Remember someone can still press the back button on your browser to see which site you were visiting, so if you want to hide your visit to ChildLine completely, you should close your browser by pressing the 'X' button in the top right hand corner of your page and clear your internet history and cookies.

How can I hide my visits to the ChildLine website?

When you visit websites, your browser remembers lots of information: which sites we've been to, what you've downloaded, and much more. This is called your internet history.

You might not want other people to see you've been looking at the ChildLine website, this page tells step-by-step how you can clear this information. There two things you need to do to clear your history:

Delete all cookies from the temporary Internet files on your computer and delete all the websites in your history folder.

Don't worry, deleting these isn't difficult - Just follow the steps on this page for your browser.

If you want to go on the internet without storing any information you can use private browsing.

  • Find out which internet browser you're using

    You can do this by looking at the top bar of the screen and clicking on the help menu and then looking for About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox or a similar 'About...' tab, click this and you will see your browser name and version number. Then follow the instructions for your browser:

  • Internet Explorer 6

    When in Internet Explorer 6 go to the menu bar at the top of the page. 

    1. Click on Tools.
    2. Go to the bottom of the dropdown menu and click on Internet options. This will open a box with the names of several different sections along the top. You will already be in the section called General.
    3. In the middle of this box is a section called Temporary Internet Files. Click on the button marked Delete files.
    4. When the box pops up, tick the Delete all offline content box and then click OK.
    5. When your computer finishes deleting your temporary internet files, you will be back in the General Internet Options box.
    6. Look at the section below called History. Here you can click on the Clear History button.
    7. A dialogue box will ask you if you want to delete all items in your history folder. Click Yes.
    8. Click OK to close the Internet Options box.

  • Internet Explorer 7 and 8

    1. Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options.

    2. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete button.

    3. Either select and delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Form data and Passwords. or

    4. Select the Delete all button at the bottom to clear

  • Internet Explorer 9

    1. Click on the ‘gear’ icon in the top right hand corner and select Internet Options.

    2. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete button.

    3. Tick each box: Temporary Internet files, Cookies, History, Download History, form data, Passwords, InPrivate Filtering data.

    4. Un-tick the ‘Preserve Favourites website data’.

    5. Select Delete to clear everything.

  • Internet Explorer 10

    1. Move the mouse pointer to the right hand side of the page to bring up a side panel. Click on the Settings icon (looks like a gear) and select Internet Options.

    2. Go to the Safety menu and select Delete.

  • Safari (often used on Apple Macs)

    Resetting Safari clears the history and cookies but also clears the downloads and removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries.

    To do this
    1. Go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen.
    2. Choose and click Reset Safari.

  • Firefox

    1. At the top of the window click on the Firefox button and go to the History menu.  

    2. Click on ‘Clear Recent History’. If you're using XP: Select the Tools menu and click on Clear Recent History.

    3. A pop up window will appear. Choose a time range to clear from the drop down list. For example, the ‘Last Four Hours’.

    4. Click on ‘Clear Now’.

  • Google Chrome

    1. Open Google Chrome.

    2. Click on the Chrome menu icon in the top right hand corner (three lines).

    3. Select ‘Tools’.

    4. Select ‘Clear browsing data’.

    5. A pop up window will appear. Choose a time range to clear from the drop down list. For example, the ‘Last Four Hours’.

    6. Tick all of the boxes.

    7. Click ‘Clear browsing data’.

  • Opera

    1. Go to the 'Tools' menu.

    2. Select 'Delete Private Data'.

    3. Select 'Details' or 'Detailed Options'.

    4. Tick all the boxes and select 'Delete'.

  • What is Private Browsing and how does it help?

    Private browsing is when your browser (e.g. Firefox or Google) does not save any history, cookies or temporary files while the session is open.

    It is good to use if you want to visit the ChildLine site in private but don’t have the time, or often forget to delete your history afterwards. It covers your tracks whilst you browse instead of you having to delete everything afterwards. 

    Please remember, if you want to download any files or create bookmarks, make sure you clear your history as well, as these could be still saved.

  • How do I use Private Browsing?


    1. Before you visit the ChildLine website, click on Tools in the menu bar.

    2. Select ‘Start Private Browsing’ from the list.

    You can also do this quickly by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P on your keyboard.

    To stop Private Browsing, select Tools again and then ‘Stop Private Browsing’ or you can close Firefox. Pressing Ctrl + Shift + P will also stop it.

    Google Chrome

    In Google chrome private browsing is known as using incognito mode.

    1. Click the spanner icon on the browser tool bar.

    2. Select ‘New incognito window’ from the list or you can press Ctrl+Shift+N on your keyboard.

    3. A new window will open with a ‘secret agent’ icon in the corner. You can continue browsing as normal in this new window.

    4. Once you have finished your session, close the window and this will automatically erase any browsing information.

    Internet Explorer 8 and

    1. Click on the ‘gear’ icon on the browser toolbar.

    2. Select ‘Safety’ then click on ‘InPrivate Browsing’. You can also do this by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+P on your keyboard.

    3. A new window will open with an ‘InPrivate’ indicator. You can continue browsing as normal in this new window.

    4. Once you have finished your session, close the window and this will automatically delete any browsing information.

    Internet Explorer 6 and 7

    If you're still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, there isn't a built-in tool for private browsing. However, you can search for a free add-on program which will help you keep your online activity hidden.

  • I am not sure which version of Internet Explorer I have, how do I find out?

    In the menu bar, select ‘Help’ and then ‘About Internet Explorer’. This should show you what version you have.

  • Online and computer monitoring software

    Online and computer monitoring software helps keep a computer owner aware of what is happening on their computer.

    Sometimes parents or guardians will install monitoring software on a computer to:

    ensure that you are staying safe online and using the internet responsibly
    help protect you from cyber bullying and internet predators
    block certain websites and computer applications that may be unsafe or unsuitable for you to use

    Unfortunately, some monitoring software (once installed and active on a computer) can track what someone is doing on the ChildLine website, for example:

    The pages you are looking at on the ChildLine website
    What you are saying in a 1-2-1 chat or ChildLine email with a counsellor or posting on the message boards.

    If you are concerned that what you are doing or saying on the ChildLine website might be being tracked by monitoring software that has been installed on your computer, we suggest you try one of the following alternatives:

    Phone ChildLine on 0800 1111 if you need to talk to a counsellor
    If you need to view pages or talk to a counsellor on the ChildLine website, try to use a different computer that doesn’t have the monitoring software installed (such as a computer in a library, internet café or school).

  • About cookies

    A cookie is a small text file that is sent to your computer via your web browser when you visit some websites. These cookies are used to store information about you for the next time you visit that site - information like where you went on the site and what you did. The cookie remembers the computer you use rather than storing personal details about you, so if you used another computer to access the site, say from school, it would treat you as a new person.

    Cookie files are a great way for a website to remember you when you next visit so they can automatically fill in information like your login when you return. However, if you want to surf the net without worrying that someone can see which sites you have visited on the computer you are using, you might want to delete this information.

    Find out about the cookies we use on the ChildLine website.

Did this page about covering your tracks help you? If so, tell us how.


Cover your tracks 


We want to make sure everyone can access the information provided on this site

We've put together a few tips and help for you. Please send us a message if you can't find what you're looking for. Or you have a suggestion of something we could include.

Using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
As well as using the tab key to navigate through the screen, the ChildLine website has special access keys:

Alt+S = skip navigation
Alt+1 = home
Alt+0 = accessibility information.

Is the text size too large or too small?
You can change your text settings through your browser options:

In Internet Explorer, go to View > Text size and select your desired text size setting (eg, larger, smaller).

In Firefox, go to View > Text size and increase/decrease using Ctrl and + or -

If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can hold down Ctrl and scroll back or forth to increase or decrease the font size in both IE and Firefox.

Changing your computer screen settings
To change the size of the image shown on your screen on a PC running Windows 95 and upwards, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings and change the desktop area by using the sliding bar.

On an Apple Mac, you can use the Monitor & Sound Control Panel to change the resolution.

Having difficulty with your keyboard or mouse?
You can fine-tune your mouse and keyboard settings under Start > Settings > Control Panel > Accessibility in Windows 95/98/NT/2000 and XP.

Skipping navigation for talking browsers and screen readers
For speech browsers, you can press Alt and S followed by Enter to skip navigation on our pages.

The site is W3C level A compliant.




This page contains help and advice.  If you need to contact ChildLine please go to the Talk to us page

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