The idea of ad companies and marketing firms having an “online profile” of your child based on their web browsing habits is of definite concern. Unfortunately, this isn’t just an idea; it’s a reality. In fact, it’s how companies like Google and Yahoo! make money. One of the key methods used to collect this data on your child, or you, for that matter, is by tracking the types of ads that your child clicks on. This allows them to serve your child with ads that are more relevant to their personal interests.
There are a lot of concerns revolving around the topic of online privacy and what it actually means to have online privacy as it relates to targeted marketing, but if you’re like me and don’t believe that children should be tracked, one thing you can do is install an effective ad blocker on their web browser. A great option is a browser plug-in called AdBlock.
Below is a quick guide on how AdBlock works and how to install it, depending on your browser.
Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 –
1. Open Internet Explorer and go to http://simple-adblock.com/ and download the plug-in.
2. The file will download to your computer. Find it and open it. This will trigger the installation process. Once this is done, AdBlock will automatically open a page in Internet Explorer that asks you to enable the AdBlock plug-in.
3. Click “Enable” at the bottom of the screen. Then close Internet Explorer all the way and re-launch it.
That’s it! AdBlock is enabled and ads will automatically be removed from any website that your child visits. Here’s the before and after.
1. Open Firefox and go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/.
2. Click “Add to Firefox” and grant any permissions needed to complete the install.
3. Once that is finished, you’ll need to restart Firefox. Upon restart, you’ll be greeted with a message that says AdBlock was successfully installed and ads will be blocked from now on.
And here’s the difference you’ll immediately notice on YouTube.com, for example.
1. Open Chrome and go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom
2. Click the “Add to Chrome” button in the top right to begin the installation.
3. The download will begin, and once it’s finished, you will see a success page that looks like this.
And that’s really all there is to it! Here’s a before and after on Chrome.
1. Open Safari and go to http://safariadblock.com/
2. Click “Get It” and allow permissions for any pop-up that may come up during installation.
3. Install will finish automatically and open a new tab in the browser letting you know that AdBlock is now working on Safari.
Here’s what the New York Times looks like before and after on Safari.