How I Make My Internet Experience Less Damaging to My Soul

If the devil is the Prince of this World (and he certainly is, for Our Lord assures us of that), then he is definitely the King of the Internet.  Now I do not advocate for a simple retreat into older times (though I appreciate many aspects of older days, indeed) and a corresponding disdain of modern technology; the internet especially — but we must be very careful to ensure that we are doing our duty to not put before our eyes whatever is base, and to ensure that – as much as it is possible – our experience online edifies us instead of tempts us to sin. (This is not a post for those who struggle with pornography addiction and how to prevent such sites from being accessible; that would require programs I do not list here and do not know much about; but I do know there are already great pieces out there on this issue).

Therefore I’d just like to share the following tips that have helped me:

  • First of all, I use Google Chrome — largely because the many “Extensions” on this browser allow me to greatly modify how many websites display by default. These extensions are (all of them are free):
    • Adblock and Adblock Plus.  With this extension added onto Chrome, no matter what website I’m on, I can set Chrome to (from that point onward) block any portion of the website that displays ads (which invariably contain something sinful) or any other distracting material. Simply right click on the ad or portion of the site you never want to see again, click “Block this ad,” and then a slider will pop up on your screen that you can drag to the right to increase the sensitivity and thereby increase the amount of portions of the website blocked. When the troublesome ads are gone, just click “Done,” and you’ll never see them on that site again.
      • Make sure to use Adbock to:
        • Block the “Related Videos” on YouTube
        • Get rid of any image-based advertisement strip on any site you regularly visit. I am utterly convinced that image-based advertisements cannot be trusted. Catholic site after Catholic site has succumbed to this (SpiritDaily.com is a notable exception, and I so very much appreciate this), but invariably images that are not at all in accord with the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God wind up on these Catholic sites that open themselves up to advertisements (a plague that also affects Catholic writers who choose to publish under platforms that have them, like Patheos)
    • Clear History — This is just convenient — to have a simple button right there next to the URL bar — one click of which clears your history. If you’re like me, you struggle with the temptation to web-browse way too much. Frequently clicking “clear history” will remove all of those website you go to from the auto-complete on the URL bar. Might seem small; but sometimes that minimal step is all I need to remind me that I don’t need to check whatever news site for the millionth time!
    • Widget Block — Answer honestly: how often are you edified by combox (comment) threads? Probably very rarely.  More often than not they are just filled with blasphemy, foul language, vitriol, anger, hatred, lust, and what have you. Even if not, they are likely to just suck you into a debate there is no point in you getting into. Widget block will make Disqus comment threads disappear (which are the threads that most commonly include the aforementioned trash as they are usually unmoderated); so you can simply get the news item you needed from the site instead of a hundred combox warrior’s input as well. Very handy.
    • Youtube Comment Blocker — YouTube comments tend to be the most consistently and pervasively hideous, so I have a special extension to make sure they don’t show up.
  • Secondly, I turn off autoplay. I do not want to click on a link and, unbeknownst to me, have some video or audio play automatically — something I may not at all want to see or hear.
    • This can be achieved by clicking (in the menu on the upper right hand side of the screen) Settings –> Show Advanced Settings —> Content Settings —> Then click the bubble next to “Click to play” which will un-check “run automatically (recommended)” –> Then click “Done”
  • I also turn on “Safe Search” on Google. Please do not think that because you aren’t a child, you don’t need this. That is incredible pride and foolishness; we adults need to guard our eyes from pornography just as much as we need to guard our children’s eyes from it. Especially don’t do a Google Image search without Safe-Search on (and try and minimize the number of Google Image searches you do regardless; heinous images tend to get through Safe Search. Above all do not let your children do Google Image searches.)

(Please note that if you ever see advertisements on my blog, it is against my will. I have not placed them there; though unfortunately WordPress occasionally will do so on their own accord. They require a yearly fee to remove these ads, which I do try to pay, but am not always in a financial situation to do so when the time comes for it.)