You’re goofing around the web, trying to get to your favorite content. Maybe it’s a video or that juicy new celebrity profile; perhaps it’s a how-to manual so you can finally get started with that home renovation project you’ve been itching to do.
You click the link, you start reading or watching, and there it is. Like a mocking presence: an ad, a pop-up, a gateway that takes you to somewhere you never asked for. Sometimes, it even leads you to places where you most definitely didn’t want to be.
And what about your kids? If going around the web can lead to cringy, uncomfortable scenes, imagine what it must be like for the unprepared mind of a child or a young teenager. Simply put, there’s too much content out there that’s either disagreeable, reprehensible, unsafe, or simply infuriating.
Be it unwanted adult sites, pop-ups, ads, or videos that discuss mature or complex content that’s not suitable for the minds of children, we definitely want to browse safely.
Here are some easy ways you can make your online experience safer and more pleasant!
Install an Ad Blocker
Many up-to-date web browsers allow you to install extensions, add-on applications that supplement the browser with a new feature. Streaming video became massively successful in the 00s and 2010s, and people were clamoring for easy solutions to ads.
To put it mildly, browsing the internet had become a minefield of unwanted ads, targeted commercials, and ubiquitous pop-ups that just never seemed to end. There were many programs that helped curtail this madness, but it wasn’t until ad blocker add-ons became a thing that the status quo definitely shifted for the better.
If you’re on Chrome, it’s as easy as downloading the extension and turning it on in your “Extensions” tab. The little thing does it all: it blocks commercials on streams, pop-ups — the works!
The only downside is that a lot of websites make money solely through ad revenue, and that includes practically every media outlet. So, you’ll have to manually disable the extension every time you want to check out what’s happening with the world.
Fortunately, extensions have made this very easy, and you can also allow them to be turned off when accessing certain “safe sites.” That’s a relief!
On Windows 10
Thankfully, Microsoft heeded the cries of worried families that warned about the need for better content filters on Windows. After all, any available countermeasures were very easy to sidestep, even for kids.
If you want to block adult content, then just go to the Start menu, or press the Windows key. Then, just go to Settings, and on to Family & other users. Finally, it’s on to the manage family settings online link.
Under Web Browsing, you’ll see a switch that says Block Inappropriate Websites. Voila! You can also block and manage everything under your child’s profile, all up to managing a small cash or credit account that they can use to purchase goodies online!
Click the Apple Menu, or the apple-shaped icon at the top right of the screen. Then, click on System Preferences. There, you’ll find the telltale yellow-tinged icon of Parental Controls. You can’t miss it.
Click the Lock icon, and enter your admin password. Remember to keep this one out of the reach of children! After you get in, you’ll have full access to the parental controls.
Click on the user whose browsing you need to restrict. You probably already have a profile ready for your kid. If you don’t then you’ll have to make one.
You can lock apps, web content, the Apple Store, and you can restrict the user’s time to whatever hours you see fit.
Under Browser Restrictions, click on Try to limit access to adult websites circle. Click the lock icon, and you’re good to go!
How to block a specific website on Windows
You can set up a block that works at the operating system level. Sign in to your computer with an admin account and head to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc.
There should be a filed named “hosts.” Click on it. The last line should read “”# 127.0.0.1 localhost” and “# ::1 localhost” (If you can’t edit the file, right-click on it, go to “Properties,” and select your administrator account in the “Security” tab)
When you can edit the file, just add “127.0.0.1” and the address of the website you want to block. This’ll cause the address to redirect back to your local computer.
It’s not the most fancy-pants solution out there, but, low-tech as it is, it works!
There are many ways to block unwanted content out there and for different platforms. We recommend you get educated on blocking methods, and make your internet experience safer and more fulfilling for you and your children!