Online ads not only negatively impact your experience browsing the web but can also be dangerous for real-life affairs. This is especially true for the ads which fall into the category of “sensitive”, particularly gambling and dating ads. While not everyone is equally likely to fall victim to the triggers such ads cause, many of us are parents and have valid concerns about the implications of ad exposure on our children. Although it is impossible to block gambling sites or dating apps altogether, different techniques can help you to stop sensitive online ads. In this article, we list the best solutions to block gambling and dating ads online and on different social media platforms.
Are Gambling and Dating Ads Dangerous?
If you have developed some healthy online habits already, you may think that everyone just ignores advertising when browsing the Web. We try not to click the flashy banners and generally distrust any promises displayed in the ad placeholders out there. Unfortunately, not everyone can resist the impact of clickbait. Children and teenagers, as well as vulnerable persons, often don’t apply enough filters to the information they receive which makes them easy targets for dubious advertising. And this can end up pretty bad when it comes to gambling and dating ads.
Online gambling is a rapidly growing industry that makes huge money out of people’s desire to get rich fast and without working too much. While we cannot judge the morality of this kind of business, it has been restricted in most countries for a reason. People with gaming addiction, kids and teens, those incapable of taking care of their finances, are usually the ones who suffer from the consequences of gambling, which means losing their means of survival. Online ads significantly contribute to the negative impact of gambling on these categories of people, as they serve as a psychological trigger that many of them simply cannot resist.
Dating apps have become increasingly popular nowadays although the reports of violations of the law, harassment, kidnapping, and sexual crimes from their users are also not a rarity. What is an acceptable risk to a regular adult, can end up as a tragedy whenever dating apps are used by adolescents. For them, online ads promoting dating apps often create an image of getting in touch and meeting strangers as normal social behavior. Besides that, many dating ads target teens specifically, moreover, they are notorious for profiling and tracking underaged people online. Finally, dating ads share a lot of people’s data with related sites and services which is a threat to one’s confidentiality, regardless of age.
How to Protect Yourself from These Harmful Ads?
No technology could block gambling sites and dating apps across the Web with a hundred percent guarantee, even as a part of parental control. At the same time, there are ways to control what kind of advertising categories are going to be shown to a particular user, especially when using the most popular social media. The public has put a lot of pressure on the world’s technological giants so that they have to invent ways to limit ‘sensitive’ ads for minors and vulnerable persons. The effectiveness of such content moderation systems varies from one platform to another, and their technical possibilities too. So let’s take a closer look at how blocking gambling and dating ads is being done in the world’s major sites.
While you were reading this article, Facebook made another million by showing ads to its users. This is just for you to understand why there is no official way to get rid of the ad placeholders on the world’s number one social media. However, you can hide the ads you don’t like — just click the x button in the top-right corner of the sponsored Facebook post or sidebar banner. After you submit the request to not show you ads of a certain type, their volume will decrease but rare cases when this didn’t have any effect are also known.
Perhaps, a more reliable way to stop gambling, dating, or any other ads which you find disturbing, is to update your Facebook ad preferences, whenever you’re logged in to your account: just select Ad topics in the left-side panel and go through the list of available categories.
In the section Ad settings, under Categories used to reach you, you can also remove those that make you uneasy. In general, Facebook restricts gambling and dating ads in a way that ideally only targets those over 18 and follows all advertising guidelines.
Even though Twitter is known for a more user-friendly advertising model, seeing gambling and dating ads on this platform is not uncommon. Similar to Facebook, you always have an opportunity to hide the ad, block a particular advertiser, and send an I don’t like this ad report. When you click the Why am I seeing this ad sign on a Twitter advert, you will visit a page of your account management menu where it is possible to review your personalization settings. Under interests, you can also control what kind of categories are used for tailoring targeted ads for you, as well as which other apps you’ve connected to your Twitter account. Removing everything related to the unwanted categories will reduce the volume but does not guarantee full protection from gambling- or dating-related posts from other users.
Twitter’s gambling advertisement policy is stricter than the one from Facebook, and only some gambling ads which received prior authorization are allowed on the platform. For example, an ordinary online casino or lottery ad won’t be published on Twitter, while a commercial promoting some hotel with gambling facilities is still considered as permitted. This policy alone makes it easier for people with gambling problems to avoid unnecessary triggers.
Google ads are displayed not only when using the services of this company but also on many other sites whenever you go online. Therefore, you should know how to block gambling sites and dating apps ads in both scenarios:
On Google services, simply click the i icon next to an ad you don’t wish to receive. Make sure to turn off Show ads from that advertiser. In the case of Gmail, you would have to select Info Information, Control ads like this, and Block this advertiser.
On other sites and apps which are using Google ad services, look for the x button in the top-right corner of an ad and select Stop seeing this ad or Report this ad if you find it straight-up offensive.
Google ads are based on the personalization settings that are being created and updated automatically as you use its services. You might want to disable ad personalization in the settings of your Google account to reduce the amount of data they collect. But that might also bring another issue of seeing the ads from all possible categories, including gambling, dating, or anything else that is not suitable for your or your children. Ads for gambling and games are also somewhat restricted under Google’s advertising policy but still allowed when meeting all the requirements. Dating ads are not yet included in the policy.
YouTube has been a part of Google for a pretty long time now, therefore we will not repeat ourselves. All you need to know is that YouTube ads follow the same principle and the video ad integration done by the video bloggers is still something neither YouTube nor you can control so much. Just choose the channels you watch carefully and try YouTube for Kids which enables a quality parental control function for family-friendly viewing sessions.
Just like the platforms above, YouTube lets you hide the unwanted ad content and prevent similar ads from showing. Simply click the info button (i) and choose to Stop seeing this ad if you don’t want an ad about dating, gambling, or any other sensitive category to be enabled on your account.
The best way to stop all types of online ads, including adverts for gambling and dating, is to install a powerful ad blocker. AdLock has all the features you need to browse the Web comfortably, as it uses up-to-date filters lists to detect any kind of static or video ad and adjusts your page accordingly, without any loss in usability. With this tool, you will soon forget about all the annoying and dangerous ads, keep important ones away from the risky triggers, and always be in control of what content you see online.