5. Erasing Your Internet Fingerprints

Most of you know probably already know about clearing your browsing history, but I think completely erasing all traces of your internet activity is a vitally important tech skill we all need to have. I mention it because I know what it’s like to have to share a family computer and not have a smartphone.

Maybe you have a really embarrassing question you have to google? It happens. Do you really want your dad to know you searched for “chunky period blood normal”? (It is, btw.) If you’re just clearing your history, what you looked up might actually still be findable. Ahhhh, unacceptable!!!

To erase your online activity forever, you need to clear your browsing history, download history, search history, cookies, and saved passwords, as well as empty the cache on whatever browser you use, like Firefox, Safari, or Chrome. All of it! Here is a website that shows you, step by step, a really easy way to do this. It only takes a minute. Go forth and google, friends.

6. Retracting an Email After Hitting Send

Disclaimer: This one is for Gmail users only. Sorry! But it’s a good one.

Let’s say it’s 1 AM and you’re in a fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend. It fucking sucks, and everything hurts, and it’s late, and you can’t sleep, and so…you decide to write this person an email. People always say to write down how you feel, right? *Fingers flex over keyboard*

You begin the email by listing their flaws, both huge and petty. You call them terrible names. This feels magnificent. YOU are the champion of Truth and Right; THEY represent everything that is wrong in this world and they have been fucking with you for MONTHS and you are not going to take it anymore. You go on to outline every horrible thing they have ever done, then you explain your side of the argument in detail. You wrap it up by telling them just how very wrong they are and how much you despise them and how, right at this moment, you feel like seeing them never again would be juuust fine.

You are not going to actually send this email—certainly not. You just wanted to get that all out of your system. And it’s kind of fun to imagine the damage hitting Send would wreak in their world.

You finish the email, shaking with rage. You reread it. Its rightness brings tears—actual TEARS!—to your eyes. You know what? You know what?! EVERYTHING YOU SAID WAS TRUE, THIS PERSON NEEDS TO READ THIS.

You hit Send.

It feels tremendous for 2.5 seconds. You are mighty and powerful. And then: OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT DID YOU JUST DO THIS IS YOUR BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD/BOYFRIEND OR GIRLFRIEND WHOM YOU DID NOT ACTUALLY WANT TO STOP BEING FRIENDS/BREAK UP WITH.

But it’s too late. The email is sent. The email is sent. Oh no oh no oh no oh no.

If only there were a way to take back that nasty little missive you never meant anyone to see, and for there to be NO TRACE of its having ever been written!

Friends, there is. A little-known feature on Gmail allows you to retract emails up to 30 seconds after you’ve hit Send. It’s not technically withdrawing an email that’s making its way to your bestie/honey’s computer; it just delays its flight for half a minute in case you change your mind. All you have to do is click Undo, and, like magic, the email NEVER SENDS AND YOUR WORLD IS 10,000% BETTER.

If you have Gmail, go here and watch the video at the bottom of the screen. Then enable the feature on your email account. It takes less than a minute. AND IT HAS SAVED MY LIFE COUNTLESS TIMES.