A Guide to Blocking Inappropriate Content on Your Phone

9 min read by Bogdi

published un an în urmă, updated 5 luni în urmă

Our phones link us to the world, and sometimes that includes inappropriate content we want to block. With the internet and social media, we can see pretty much whatever we want whenever we want, but this does come with a cost.

It is possible to see only what you want to see on your phones. To be able to do that, it's good to block inappropriate content on mobile phones. Blocking this content ensures the experience is safe, respectable, and overall, one that you want to have on your device.

Keep reading to learn some ways to block inappropriate content and make sure you only see what you want to see.

What is Inappropriate Content?

There are several different types of inappropriate content that could potentially be on your phone, and none of it is anything we want to see. The good thing is that controlling this content is relatively easy, but how do you know what you are looking for exactly?

When we think of inappropriate content, the first thought that comes to mind is frequently some sort of adult website containing videos or images that are explicit and inappropriate for young phone users.

Other inappropriate content could include:

  • Spam Calls or Texts
  • Pop-up ads containing explicit or irrelevant information
  • Real or simulated violence
  • Content promoting extremism
  • Content promoting hate based on religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

No matter the content, we don't want anything on our phones that we didn't ask to see. However, there are many ways to control what we see on our and our children's phones.

Parental Controls

Parental controls are exactly what they sound like, controls for parents to decide:

  • How long they can be on certain apps
  • What apps, in general, they are allowed to look at on their device
  • What your children see

In addition to the parental controls that are already in the settings within a device, you can also download additional apps that provide extra controls and features. Some restrictions you could put in place include:

  • Browser Access
  • In-app purchasing
  • Inappropriate Content
  • Location Tracking
  • Sharing Data

Each device is a bit different when it comes to parental controls. It mainly depends on what type of device you have and if it's an iPhone or an android. Additionally, many apps work differently to block content as well.

Blocking Inappropriate Content on an iPhone

In the settings within Apple devices, you can find the parental controls. Using the parental controls on an iPhone is very easy.

  • First, you will need to go to your settings
  • Click General
  • Scroll down to restrictions
  • Enable these restrictions
  • Then create a restrictions password

From here, you can customize the parental restrictions being used on that specific device. For example, you can decide which apps you want to turn off to where your child will not be able to access them. You can also stop them from downloading apps, deleting them, or making purchases within them.

In addition, you are also able to control what your child sees within the Safari browser on the device. You are able to control whether your child can use it in general, limit them to certain websites, or block content from certain sites such as those with adult content.

Blocking Inappropriate Content on an Android

Android smartphones are a bit different when it comes to parental controls because they do not offer control over the device itself but of the apps that are downloaded and accessed through the google play store.

As far as what you can restrict, the list is not as extensive as an iPhone. On an Android device, you can control:

  • Apps blocking
  • In-app purchasing
  • Inappropriate content
  • Streaming media

Although there is not much that you can control, the set-up is still an easy process.

  • First, you are going to want to open the play store app
  • Click on the menu in the top left corner
  • Click settings
  • Click parental controls and then turn the parental controls on
  • From here, you will be asked to set a pin that will ensure your child cannot change any of the settings that you chose for the device

You are able to do some further customizations in settings once you have set up the initial parent controls. If you click on apps and games, you can further customize what your child can and cannot see based on age and maturity levels.

Additional Apps for Blocking Inappropriate Content

If you want to absolutely ensure that there will be no inappropriate content on your or your child's phone, there are apps that provide extra security measures and more specific protection. The most common purpose of these apps is to block explicit adult content such as porn websites.

An example of one of these apps is called Canopy, and they are specifically designed to block pornographic images on devices. The app has several features, including:

  • App and Website Blocking
  • App Removal Prevention
  • Location monitoring
  • Sexting deterrence

Although you do have to pay monthly for this app based on how many devices you want it on, you can use it on all types of devices as it is available both in the Apple app store and Google play store. This is a great option for parents who want to have full control all in one place.

Another app for blocking specific websites or content on an android is called "Block site," which allows you to block certain websites from being accessed on a device.

Most of the time, you only need to download third-party apps with android devices, and most iPhones have control within the settings.

Control Within the Browser Itself

Some browsers offer control within them to be able to control what is looked up and what results pop up after a search. Google does the best and easiest job of offering content control, and you can do it all from Google's Search Settings.

SafeSearch is a program created by Google which allows you to hide explicit content such as pornography from being a search result. While it isn't 100% accurate, it does provide a bit of extra security for making sure the sites you don't want to see will most likely be filtered out.

Although Google has the most accurate and easiest one to use, other browsers do have similar options. SafeSearch can be turned on for:

  • Personal accounts or browsers
  • Children's devices that are supervised and linked using the Family Link app
  • Devices that are supervised and linked using school networks.

Blocking Specific Websites

Sometimes you want to block specific websites from being seen on your or your child's phone. If this is the case for you, there are ways to block specific websites from being viewed on a device. In most devices, you can find this in the settings of your phone.

With iPhones, you are going to need to go to:

  • Settings and scroll down to Screen Time
  • Within the Screen time tab, you are going to scroll down to "Content and Privacy Restrictions."
  • From Content and Privacy Restrictions, you go to content restrictions
  • Under the "WEB CONTENT" header, you are going to click on "web content."
  • Now you have the opportunity to select where and what you want to limit.

Androids, unfortunately, do make it a bit harder to block specific websites from being seen on the phone. In this case, your best option is to download an app called "BlockSite." This app will allow you to block certain websites that you pick yourself. While not built into the phone, blocking certain websites on an android is easy and customizable.

Blocking Specific Searches

Blocking specific searches on the phone may be necessary if you want to make sure your child doesn't look up inappropriate content on the Safari browser. On an android, this is best achieved by downloading the "Block site" app that was described above.

On an iPhone, you can actually block certain searches within the settings of the device. If you go to the same area of content restrictions as to when you are blocking specific websites, you can block specific searches there as well. There are two tabs under the content restrictions page under the SIRI section labeled "Web Search Content" and "Explicit Language." Through these, you can choose whether or not to allow them on the device.

Blocking specific searches can bring a lot of relief to parents when allowing their child to use a device such as a phone. These searches can bring up unwanted content, and blocking certain searches will also prevent certain explicit search results from popping up.  

Blocking Specific Apps on an iPhone

Blocking specific apps from being downloaded is pretty similar to blocking certain websites and searches. It is going to be in your settings on an iPhone. In the settings, you have several different options for blocking certain apps from being both downloaded and removed from your device without your knowledge.

With an iPhone, blocking specific apps will be in the restrictions section of your iPhone settings.

  • First, you are going to go to settings
  • Choose screen time
  • Tap on content and privacy restrictions
  • You are then going to need to enter and confirm your passcode.
  • From here, you are going to press on the switch next to content and privacy, where you will find the allowed apps.

The apps that you choose to allow will be shown on your home screen, but those you don't want will not be. The nice thing about this is that you can choose whether or not you want the apps on the device, and you can take off certain apps while someone else is using your phone.

Blocking Certain Apps on an Android

An android is a little bit different from an iPhone as you will need to go into the play store's settings and not the device itself. You may need to download a third-party app, but most of the time, you should be able to control what you want from the settings.

With an android, you can only control the settings if you are using the google play store to download your apps. In the google play store, you are able to set up parental controls that allow you to control what apps are being downloaded to the device. In order to get to the parental controls, you will need to:

  • Go to menu settings in the play store
  • Turn on parental controls
  • Create a PIN.
  • From here, you are able to control the type of content you want to filter as well as how to restrict access to certain areas of the device.

Allowing certain apps on a device makes sure that explicit or inappropriate apps aren't being downloaded without your knowledge and that nobody else will be able to download them on your phone.  

Preventing Unwanted Pop-Ups

Pop-up ads on any device can be not only inappropriate but just overall annoying to receive. Blocking this content prevents you from viewing unwanted content. It also prevents you from accidentally pressing on the content and bringing even more unwanted pop-ups or viruses onto your device.

On an iPhone, you are going to be able to control pop-ups in the settings of your device. In the settings, you are simply going to:

  • Tap on the Safari section.
  • Then in the general section, you will find a button that says, "Block Pop-ups."
  • Swipe the switch to on, and you will be protected from seeing the unwanted pop-ups while browsing on Safari.

On an Android, you are going to be able to prevent pop-ups from the chrome app settings. From your device:

  • Open the Chrome app
  • On the right of the address bar, tap more, then go to settings.
  • From settings, you are going to tap on permissions,
  • Next, click on pop-ups and redirects. Then you can turn off pop-ups and redirects on your device.

Controlling Emails Received

Most people out there have put their email address into many different websites and receive emails from tons of different senders. Controlling what is being sent to our email is incredibly important, and we want to make sure that we aren't getting inappropriate content emailed to us. Inappropriate content being emailed to us isn't bad just because we don't want to see it, but it could include harmful pop-ups that could potentially have viruses embedded in them.

We all have our junk-email section. However, oftentimes, we find unwanted emails in our regular mailbox as well. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent and protect ourselves from spam invading our emails. The biggest thing is to know how to spot spam and block the sender from sending more emails.

It's important to understand that we can never completely stop spam, but we can prevent it and spot it before it happens. A few ways to protect yourself include hiding your email and being wary of where you give it out, using a third-party anti-spam filter that can be downloaded to your device, or if you feel as if you are getting too much spam, you can always change your email as well.

Spotting Viruses Amongst Inappropriate Content

Viruses on a device are sneaky, and they are able to get to you through pop-ups, spam emails, download suspicious apps, or by downloading other forms of content that contain a virus. For the most part, viruses are extremely preventable if you just know how to spot them and where to find them.

Both apple and android products are capable of receiving a virus. Oftentimes, malicious content can be found on inappropriate websites and are gateways to receiving viruses on a device. Avoiding these malicious websites in the first place will put you in a much better position not to have viruses on your device.

In addition to avoiding these websites, do not download anything that looks suspicious or that was sent in a spam email onto your phone. If you want to have extra protection against viruses, you can download a third-party anti-virus app onto your device. This will help filter spam and prevent any viruses from accessing your device before they can even start.

Conclusion

Nobody wants content on their phone that they didn't ask to see, and the same goes for our kids when they are using devices. Inappropriate content is unwanted, uncalled for, and something that we did not ask to see most of the time. The good thing is that blocking this content is not only doable, but it is actually fairly easy.

Whether it be for downloading apps, blocking certain websites, or controlling what can be used on a device, most of these controls can be found within the settings of iPhone devices. While on Android, these settings aren't as conveniently accessible, you are still able to download apps where you can control these settings.

Overall, controlling what is seen on your phone is fairly easy and well worth the little bit of work to have the relief and security of having inappropriate content blocked on your device.

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