Keeping Inappropriate Ads at Bay; Tips for Parents

The virtual world has quickly evolved into a necessary part of life for people around the world, thanks to the COVID19 pandemic. The world’s children have not been spared from this change and as a result, parents around the world need to ensure that their kids are safe while they are in the virtual world. This of course, includes protecting them from information that isn’t child-friendly, such certain ads. For most countries, television service providers must include ways to keep shows and advertisements that are adult-themed from children. This is why some shows and some ads are only aired late at night and some cable and streaming services have parental control as part of their services. But the internet is a whole different monster altogether. So how do parents protect their kids from inappropriate ads online?

Keeping the system sanitized

No, this does not mean clearing viruses and bacteria from the device being used by your child (although this is something you should already be doing to prevent the spread of COVID 19). Keeping the system sanitized simply means ensuring that sites related to non-child-friendly content are not visited using the device your child uses. Why? How can this help? You may ask. Well technology has advanced to the age of smart machine learning or AI. Programs can now detect your searches in order to send targeted ads your way.  Ever notice an ad for a face cream popping up on your Facebook feed? That’s because AI software has now evolved and now has the capacity to make connections between the topics of your searches and the numerous business promotions in their ad collections. The system then sends ads related to that search to your computer.

If your child’s computer is kept free from adult searches then the likelihood of those ads being shown is reduced. And here’s a helpful hint – if certain ads keep appearing on your child’s screen and no adult has been using the device, you may want to monitor your child a little more closely to see if he/she is visiting adult websites.

Pop-up Blockers

When your child visits some websites (which will sometimes happen as they often need to conduct online research for class projects, they may be exposed to ads that ‘pop up’ on the screen. These are aptly called ‘pop-ups’.  Pop-up blockers will help to keep these ads away from your kids’ eyes as they learn online. Websites like Microsoft edge and Chrome offer users the option to block popups. You can usually find this option in the browser’s setting panel. Depending on the browser, you may get the option to select the sites from which you don’t want to see pop-ups.

Ad Blockers 

But pop-up blockers can only go so far in keeping those pesky ads at bay. Popups are useless when it comes to blocking or removing ads on platforms like YouTube,  that have advertisements built into their systems. You can stop ads from showing on YouTube by activating an ad blocker on your Chrome or Firefox browser.  There are also plugins that are designed to stop YouTube ads from showing up while you browse. If you’re tempted to use this method on your other devices as well do remember that, while they are a bit annoying, these ads are the source of funding for people who post content on YouTube

Engagements in the virtual space have become essential in keeping kids occupied and entertained as well as meeting their educational needs. Parents, therefore, need to keep up with ways of protecting their kids from inappropriate content.