Keep Kids From Seeing Adult Sites

Protect your children from inappropriate website content

Boy (4-5) using laptop at home
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Completely preventing your children from accessing adult content on the internet isn't possible, but some software programs and apps can help you protect them — and prevent them — from most of the content you'd rather they not see.

Blocking Software and Apps

Pllenty of good choices are available if you want to use one of the many site-blocking programs. Some programs are designed to monitor your child's activities on mobile devices and computers. 

NetNanny is highly rated and monitors, restricts, or controls your children's internet viewing. If your child uses an Android or iOS mobile device, reliable parental control monitoring apps include MamaBear and Qustodio.

Free Parental Protection Options

Before you start shopping for software, you can take some free steps to protect your kids.

If your family uses a Windows computer to search the internet, set up Windows parental controls. This step is effective, but don't stop there. You can also enable parental controls on your router, your kids' game consoles, YouTube, and their mobile devices.

A couple of examples are SafeSearch with Google Family Link and Internet Explorer's parental controls.

Google Chrome doesn't have built-in parental controls, but Google encourages you to add your children to its Google Family Link program. With it, you can approve or block apps your child wants to download from the Google's Play Store, see how much time your kids spend on their apps, and use SafeSearch to restrict their access to explicit websites in any browser

To activate SafeSearch and filter explicit search results in Google Chrome and other browsers:

  1. Check the box next to Turn on SafeSearch, in the SafeSearch filters section.

    Screenshot of the Turn on SafeSearch option from Google's Search Settings screen
    Jon Fisher
  2. Click Lock SafeSearch to prevent your children from turning SafeSearch off.

  3. Log in to your Google account when asked.

  4. Click Lock SafeSearch.

    Screenshot of the Lock SafeSearch page in Google's Search Settings screen
    Jon Fisher
  5. Click Back to Search settings.

    Screenshot of the Google SafeSearch Filtering settings page
     Jon Fisher
  6. Click Save at the bottom of the page.

Restrict Browsing With Internet Explorer

Open the Content Advisor window to block adult websites in Internet Explorer.

If you're using IE9, you can get to Content Advisor from Internet Explorer instead of using the command below. Go to Tools > Internet Options and then click the Content tab.

  1. Open the Run dialog box with the WIN+R keyboard shortcut.

  2. Copy this command:

    RunDll32.exe msrating.dll,RatingSetupUI
  3. Paste the command into the Run dialog box.

    Screenshot of the content advisor command in Windows 7
    Jon Fisher
  4. Click OK.

    Screenshot of the Windows Content Settings screen
    Jon Fisher

These are your options in Content Advisor:

  • Ratings: Set rating levels for language, nudity, sex, violence, and other categories.
  • Approved Sites: List any websites your children are allowed to see even if they're blocked with the rating setting. You can also explicitly block websites if a rating doesn't restrict it.
  • General: Allow or block your child from seeing websites that have no rating. You can also use this area to restrict Content Advisor settings with a password; the password also lets you unblock a website on-demand if it's blocked for your children but you want to give them one-time access.

Parental controls are only effective when your child is using a device to which the parental controls are applied. For example, blocking adult sites at home does not block their phone, nor does blocking access on their phone block mature websites at school, etc. However, most schools have strict adult content blockers enabled anyway.