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Are browser settings alone enough to block porn sites?

Are browser settings enough to effectively block porn?

In most cases, no. Internet browsers like Chrome and Firefox have privacy and security settings, but are fairly easy to circumvent when it comes to their already limited ability to filter content. Particularly on a desktop computer, you need to go beneath the browser, either to the operating system settings or third-party software like Covenant Eyes or BlockerX.

Browsers are typically controlled by an account and not by the browser itself. For example, Chrome parental controls must be handled through your child's Google account and something called Family Link.

The problem with using this method for an adult is that accounts can pretty easily be logged out of or set up on a whim. 

Once someone has aged out of something like Family Link, a browser-only solution doesn't really exist.

And besides all of this, browsers are a dime o' dozen.

You can download a ton of them, which makes configuring all of the necessary settings extremely tedious, if such settings even exist.

There are multiple better ways.

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Alternatives to browser-based restrictions

Here are the three alternative methods of control/content blocking that I would recommend:

  • Operating system settings
  • Third party software
  • Browser add-ons

All three of these layers can work with desktop and mobile devices, though are particularly effective when it comes to iPhones.

Start with the operating system

Since they're always free if you have a device, I would recommend starting with operating system settings first. When you set them up, there will usually be a lock or passcode of sorts to keep them secure. Make sure you are not the one that sets or possesses that passcode. 

Leave that to a spouse, good friend, or family member who can unlock the settings if and when they need to be changed.

Here are resources for setting up restrictions at the operating system level:

Block obvious URLs and keywords. And if you find a hole in the fence, don't beat yourself up. Go back and patch the hole by adding more sites and keywords to your block list.

The operating system you're on (Windows, MacOS, etc.) is your first line of defense.

The operating system you're on (Windows, MacOS, etc.), and not your browser, is your first line of defense.

Third party solutions

The next step would be one of the third party programs we mentioned above, which do a very thorough job of content filtering and even provide an accountability/buddy system where a trusted friend can help monitor your internet usage.

Here are the two we recommend:

These programs are very affordable and a worthwhile investment. They give you a tremendous advantage in your fight to quit watching porn.

Read more: What is accountability software?

Conclusion

Browsers are more often the culprit than the solution, so I would not rely on browser settings alone to mitigate porn use. I'd recommend attacking the problem from the operating system level first, then with the third-party software if you still need it.

Keep in mind, iPhones and iPads are the easiest things to lock up.

If you have questions, need help, or want to share your story, feel free to get in touch via the comments section below.

The digital age and economy. It's here to stay.

The digital age and economy. It's here to stay.

Author

  • Adam Grainger

    Adam is a software engineer with experience in blocker software and VPNs. He has helped produce software and written content for a number of churches and organizations to help people stay focused and have a better experience online.

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