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Review – Learn How to Block Porn with MetaSurf

| February 28, 2013 | Comments (6)
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metacert logoMetaSurf (Google Chrome and Firefox; Free) is a browser extension created by MetaCert which blocks pornographic websites and, most notably, porn found on social media websites. MetaSurf is a cloud-based system, which means there aren’t any software updates for you to download or compatibility issues; it’s a true plug-and-play solution.

I used MetaSurf on both Chrome and Firefox, and I have to say, there is a lot to like about it. Every porn site that I tested was blocked (both photo and/or video sites), and it also did a good job of blocking porn that I found on Facebook and Twitter (Note: All FB porn groups and apps listed in the article titled “Facebook, Porn and Drugs: 25 Pages and Apps Parents Should be Aware Of”, are blocked by MetaSurf). That being said, however, porn content is shared and created so frequently in a social network like Facebook that it’s difficult to record and block it all. So, though MetaSurf does a really good job of filtering this content, it isn’t, by any means, fool-proof.

MetaSurf also blocks YouTube pornography, but I couldn’t find anything that triggered the extension since YouTube does a pretty good job of reviewing their content.

metasurf notification

metasurf counter

It’s also really nice to see the number of URLs constantly updated as new porn sites are added to their block list.

There were only two issues that I encountered while using MetaSurf:

  1. It’s too easy for children to delete MetaSurf from the browser.
  2. In order to classify sites as pornography, you have to register and create an account with MetaSurf.

Neither of these issues should be considered a deal-breaker, though, especially when you consider the fact that MetaSurf was never intended to be a comprehensive monitoring tool. At its core, MetaSurf was designed to help younger children stay safe online, and ultimately inspire a conversation in your home about harmful and inappropriate content.

Overall, MetaSurf is a wonderful tool that you should download and give a try. It does exactly what its creators claim and I found it to be a great conversation starter with my own children. Click here to download MetaSurf for Google Chrome and Firefox.

Category: Reviews, Safety

Comments (6)

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  1. Steve Bokmiller says:

    Thanks for telling us about this tool. I use the free content filter provided by OpenDNS to protect our home network. It does a great job overall but I couldnt solve the YouTube problem. Good to know about MetaCert and that they are on it! I hope future versions of Chrome, Firefox and IE will have the ability for an administrator to lock down add-ons & extensions. That will make this tool even better.

  2. Jamie Salcedo says:

    Great review, Mary. YouTube has always been pretty good at blocking out adult content, but the real trick is in the pop-up sites that show up now and then. For my PC I’ve used countless web filters and apps that it’s slowed down my browsers considerably (it was def. the case for Firefox). Chrome has made using all those apps/software much easier.

  3. Ryan says:

    Does this filter work when incognito mode is enabled? Does it block anonomizer sites that allow you to hide your Internet activity? If either answer is no than I would not recommend this to families, kids know how to get around filters very without much effort.

    • Mary Kay says:

      Hi Ryan – As mentioned in the review, MetaSurf, like most filtering tools, is not fool-proof. You’re right, children know how to get around most filtering/monitoring tools. That’s why it’s crucial that parents don’t rely on these tools to protect their children, and instead use them as an added layer of protection. At the end of the day, parents need to be digitally educated and digitally involved in their child’s life so that things like Internet porn don’t pose such a high risk to their family’s safety.

      Mary Kay

    • Paul Walsh says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Our browser extensions are mostly for young kids who don’t know their way around computers – or adults who don’t want unexpected content pop up on their screen at work or at home.

      We also have a free DNS service which can be used on the router or computer – this will stop any browser from accessing pornography. We’re working on desktop apps to make this easier and more robust by adding web proxies and file sharing as we have with our iPad browser http://ollybrowser.com – don’t mind linking as it’s also free.

      Unfortunately no safe browsing technology is free – but ours does block more pornography than any other company in the world – with the lowest error rate.

  4. Paul Walsh says:

    Thanks so much for the review. Much appreciated. You are right, our browser software is designed mostly for either young kids, or adults. I receive more emails from men thanking me for helping them stay away from such content, than I do from parents – a real eye opener.

    Less than 0.000001% of our labeled sites are submitted by our community – but we do have just over 2,000 people who helped us tweak our keywords and system to help get our error rate down to 0.3% and of course, we do get notifications from time to time when people find sites that our technology has missed. You can imagine the spam we would received if you didn’t have to register.

    Unfortunately it’s technically impossible to enforce the user of a username and password for chrome extensions but we are going to update our Firefox software to support this. Of course, kids can get around this by using another browser – that’s why we also provide a free DNS service.

    Thanks again!
    Paul
    CEO, MetaCert

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