How effective are blocking and filtering software in protecting minors from adult content online?

How effective are blocking and filtering software in protecting minors from adult content online?

Is it possible to prevent children from accessing porn online in 2023?

Blocking and prohibition are only effective in so far as someone is not motivated to reach the restricted thing.

At my company REMOJO, we’ve spent 3 years attempting to provide blocking services that restrict access to pornography for adults who want to quit their porn habit. After 3 years of work, I’m convinced that it is completely impossible to do so for anyone who still wants to seek out porn, or break a web filtering software. Of course, the same applies to children, if they want to find it, they can. The reasons are as follows:

  1. There are lots of mixed content sites which have porn hidden within them - for example X/Twitter, Reddit, social media channel sites like Discord, Telegram etc. To prevent access to porn, you would have to either completely block these sites, and their apps, or filter the content within the platform itself, which is not possible and breaches their terms of use (opening companies like mine up to legal action if we tried to do so).
  2. Not only are these sites available on a browser, but they are accessible via apps, which are even more difficult to control and shut down than URLs accessed via the browser.
  3. All social media and streaming sites contain near-porn or porn substitutes. Also, adult performers may post acceptable content on these sites to solicit users to follow them and get access to adult content on another
  4. Friends can always share porn amongst themselves via Whatsapp or other social media/messaging apps. You would need all of your child’s friends’ parents to be equally committed to restricting access and vigilant in policing their kids to guard against this.
  5. Porn can be generated from scratch using general-purpose AI tools that don’t restrict input of adult-oriented prompts
  6. Filters can be overridden by installing and connecting to another VPN service that provides a tunnel around the content/web filter
  7. Some browsers have such VPNs or alternative connections built in, like Opera or Tor
  8. It’s impossible to control an Apple device in any really rigorous way, due to the restrictions on  how apps can interact with an iPhone or Mac. The amount of control and enforcement they can enact is limited.
  9. Android, iOS and desktop operating systems make it difficult for an app to prevent users from uninstalling it. It’s more and more difficult, if not impossible to prevent uninstalling the filter software as time goes on.

I could go on, but you get the picture. I would still recommend that you install the most effective blocker that you can find, if your child must have a smartphone with 24/7 internet access. It’s worth having some layer of protection to avoid accidental access, and seeking out of curiousity, rather than high motivation. It’s also worth having full access to their browsing history if possible, for monitoring threats.

My child will just not be getting a smartphone, nor will they have unmonitored access to the internet. They’ll have to do without. I don’t want them to have the low-level brain damage that comes with social media addiction, and I don’t want them to step onto the slippery slope of sexualised feed-based media like TikTok, Instagram etc.

You have to remember that big tech companies, pornographers and adult performers could not care less about your children, their safety, wellbeing, mental health and what they engage with online. They do the bare minimum to avoid government regulation and negative press.

It’s likely that in the completely degenerated West, your child is going to be exposed at some point anyway. You will also need to check in regularly to be aware of such developments, and ensure that not only does your child have minimal prompts to engage with porn, and minimal ability to access, but also has no motivation to do so, being educated on the harms, and disciplined for infractions. There’s no single silver bullet.

Check out our REMOJO coaching program to quit porn with or without meditation.

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