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Wanted: Reliable porn blocking software for Mac OS 10.3.9
March 4, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Looking for reliable porn-blocking software for Mac OS 10.3. Help!

Lucky me, my boyfriend's just admitted to an internet porn addiction. He's decided that the only way to avoid slipping up, while trying not to look at various porn sites is to put a filter on our Mac. I am having a really difficult time locating one via Google. I tried If2k, but when I've gone in to test, I kid you not, I can access just about every site out there, regardless of whether or not I specifically list the URL in the "bad URL" panel. Please spare me the porn isn't bad, he should be allowed to look at it....He's determined that it's a problem (and has been for the past 2 years...) that he can't tackle alone, so I'm just trying to help. Thanks for ANY advice that might help us out.
posted by zombiebunny to Technology (16 answers total)
 
A squid install would probably be the most reliable. I found this page detailing how to setup squid to block sites. At the very least, there is a list of blocked sites linked from that page.

On the other hand, it doesn't sound like you are very technical, so this might not be the best way to go with. It would work well, but be harder to setup.
posted by cschneid at 10:37 AM on March 4, 2007


Lifehacker recently posted a solution that works by pointing your router to their DNS servers - and evidently, uninstalling it is a total bear.
posted by jbickers at 11:09 AM on March 4, 2007


Technological solutions for this sort of thing are notoriously bad, to the point where the phrase "reliable porn-blocking software" is pretty much an oxymoron.

I mention this because, if he has as much of a problem as he says he does, there's no solution out there he won't be able to find a way around. There will always be sites that haven't been discovered yet, message boards, plus USENET groups, IRC, AIM chat rooms, and other things that most software won't even know how to block.

There's no "set it and forget it" solution to this. It's a process -- a social one, not a technological one.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:37 AM on March 4, 2007


Thanks so far. I looked at Squid and it doesn't look like something I can configure on my own. And trust me, I know that this is a process that doesn't get solved merely from a technological standpoint. We're already looking for counselling, but it seems as if at least there could be something installed that would make it HARDER for him to find porn (and his is very, very specific...stocking fetish...he doesn't get off on many of the 'regular' porn sites) plus he isn't technical enough to work extra hard just to get to "random sexynakedchicks.com". It's just that, as everyone knows, the internet is a free for all and there's a site out there for everyone. And it's ease of use is what keeps people coming back.
posted by zombiebunny at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2007


You could download a HOSTS file that blocks porn sites, set the permissions for root, put it in your /etc directory and not give him the root login. This doesn't stop him from USENET, or Bittorrent, or Google Image Search, or Victoria Secret catalogs... not to mention, thousands of new porn sites spring up every day and you would be hard-pressed to completely stop the tide.

I think a better option for both of you would be to somehow incorporate watching porn into your sexual routine.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2007


Do you live together? Just put a password on the computer and he can only use it when you are in the room.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2007


I think a better option for both of you would be to somehow incorporate watching porn into your sexual routine.

If the guy feels it's a problem, perhaps a better next step is to talk to a counselor. It might not really be a problem, but right now, it's bothering him.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:35 PM on March 4, 2007


There are programs that will send a list of websites visited to an accountability person (who could be you, I suppose.) I don't remember the name but I bet someone else here would know of it.
posted by konolia at 1:28 PM on March 4, 2007


Did you catch him in the act w/this, or stumble across the "history" button on the browser, then approach him about it? Cause if my gf did (not that i have one!) but if she did and saw all that i'd probably say "oh my god i'm so sorry i have an addiction, oh my god, please, block it from the computer, it's tearing me apart!" Or did he come to you out of the blue and say " i have this problem, let's talk about it." Just curious!
Cause if it's the former then he's just being a man and trying to squirm out of it!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 4:38 PM on March 4, 2007


Check out: http://www.integrity.com/services.html

There are several options for Windows that I have found to work quite well (K9 is one example). Not sure if switching to Windows is an option or not.

I would recommend some counseling as well. Sexual addictions are very hard to break for numerous reasons.

Patrick Carnes (Ph. D) has several good books on breaking the habits of sexual addictions, some specifically related to pornography.

"Every Man's Battle" by Arterburn is very good as an introductory reading on dealing with similar issues. But focuses on it more generally. Pornography seems to usually be one of several things wrong, which was the case in my own life, and in the case of many friends. Check the reviews of these books on Amazon.

Just wanted to commend you for helping him through this. It's an extremely difficult battle, so good luck.
posted by peripatew at 6:31 PM on March 4, 2007


"Every Man's Battle" by Arterburn is very good as an introductory reading on dealing with similar issues.

I think it needs to be noted that Arterburn (and the rest of the writers in the series) are not writing for a general audience. If your boyfriend isn't interested in asking Jesus for help with this problem, or if the two of you have premarital sex and are all right with that, you might want to skip the trip to the Christian Spirituality section for this one.
posted by longtime_lurker at 7:28 PM on March 4, 2007


Unplug the computer from the internet. Hosts files and the like will probably just challenge him to wiggle around them.. or *you* will think that they're working, but they really aren't.

Just yank the computer off the internet.

If he can't tackle it alone, what makes you think that you're going to do any better? Are you a therapist or a counselor?
posted by drstein at 8:58 PM on March 4, 2007


You could upgrade to 10.4 and use the parental controls to give his account limited access to the web.
posted by markdj at 2:48 AM on March 5, 2007


Ok once again, I need to stress that yes, I have sought counselling for this over the past year and we've had many, many long talks about this. We've discussed incorporating porn into our everyday life, I'm not opposed to buying some videos to watch todether (well, not so much at the moment after the lies keep continuing and the trust keeps breaking down) but he's really at the point where his addiction is greatly affecting our sex life. He claims he just finds it easier, especially if we're not getting along really well at the time. As for how I found it...I unfortunately had the joy of finding it randomly when typing in Netflix one day to update my queue. That led me to a myriad of nylon fetish sites (I knew about the fetish, helped him out as best as I could, but I hadn't been happy with our infrequent sex life for a long time and wasn't sure why things were so infrequent despite my efforts. I figured he just wasn't that sexual). When I first found it and found out HIS sex life was thriving, while mine wasn't, this caused a great deal of angst for me. But like I said, I went the counselling route.

I'm not of the school that I believe porn is inherently bad. I enjoy it myself from time to time, I've had many a boyfriend upfront and open and we watched it together and I never had a second of insecurity. As for my present partner of 2 years, I literally could care less if he locks himself in the bathroom every hour on the hour, as long as he's honest about it. He's made SO many promises that he's broken and he's never been very careful about clearing his histories (although he got around it by using a second browser, which he just revealed to me this week). So....after he deleted his folders containing just an incredible amount of images...like over 1000....(bizarrely enough, half of which I found about as sexual as an english muffin, just that the girl happened to be wearing nylons under her corporate uniform), turns out literally less than 2 days after we had a big heart to heart in which HE (not I forcing him to) promised that he's got a handle on it, doesn't NEED to look at it...no big deal, won't even miss it. So, when I found that he'd gone on an ardent search through his hard drives for ANY of his old folders, none of which still exist, he admitted he felt powerless against it and compelled to see if they were still there.

That leads us to where he now admits that yes, this thing is bigger than he is. He's not just using it for a casual stress release or in addition to our thriving (not) sex life. So, we do need to find a way to make it less easy for him to access. If he was an alcoholic and admitted it, there's no doubt in my mind we'd clear the liquor cabinet. He can't not have internet access, as he doesn't have a computer all day at work and needs it for some of his work endeavors with clients.


posted by zombiebunny at 7:51 AM on March 5, 2007


zombiebunny - I'm sorry he's got this addiction; I'm glad he's willing to work on it, and that he's soliciting your help.

Also, while I agree with people who say it's ultimately not a technological problem, but a social one, I think your analogy about the liquor cabinet is a good one. Is it a social/psychological problem? Sure. But that doesn't mean that limiting exposure to the problem isn't a good thing. It is a process, but setting up a good filter is, I think, a great step along that path.

You asked about specific filtering products. I had been down on products for the reasons mentioned above: either they block everything (even innocuous stuff) or they aren't very good, and are easily hackable. I even considered trying to build a new type of filter. And then I found SafeEyes. It seems to take into consideration the different ways that I could see people hacking it, and seems to handle them well. It also has various time controls, so you can block internet usage at certain times of the day (or night), or limit usage to a certain number of hours per day. It has configurable whitelists and blacklists, as you'd expect.

They have a free trial period, which I believe is a fully-functional, full-product trial. And the ultimate cost is $49.95 a year, which I think is completely reasonable. And it's both PC- and Mac-friendly.

Best of luck, to both of you.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:48 AM on March 5, 2007


ALt F4, I thank you for your suggestion and your understanding.
posted by zombiebunny at 9:16 AM on March 5, 2007


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