A website blocker is a software tool that limits access to certain websites or types of content. Such applications can be used for filtering to prevent people from seeing objectionable material and they may also be used as productivity tools by people who want to avoid distracting websites. Freeware versions are available along with extensions for individual browsers and pay software packages that may include other feature controls. For example, in addition to blocking websites, the software might also limit instant messaging, file sharing, and other online activities.
The setup options in a website blocker can vary, but typically include a list of users with explicitly blacklisted or whitelisted content, which can be controlled by one or more people with a password. In addition to blocking specific websites or filtering content by type, it may be possible to set timing controls on the website blocker as well. This determines when people can access content, allowing them to see it during whitelisted periods and cutting off access outside these times.
As a tool for parental control, a website blocker can allow parents to limit the kind of content a child sees online. Parents may block pornography and other content they feel is inappropriate, or websites like chat rooms they believe could endanger their children. They can also use a website blocker to prevent situations like children using a parent’s credit card to buy things, ranging from tokens for online gaming to toys.
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People concerned with productivity can use a website blocker to control Internet access so they can focus on work. This can include people who want to avoid distractions during working hours as well as parents who may want children to stay off non-essential sites when they are supposed to be doing homework. For productivity, it can help to use a website blocker with time settings, so people can access those sites later when they are not working.
Blocks may be bypassed by entering a password or code, allowing the website to load normally. People using a website blocker to control access by another party should be sure to keep passwords secure and change them periodically; they may want to review web history to check for signs that someone has broken the code. The master password used to change settings for all users is especially important to keep secure, as someone could potentially change it to take control of the program.