“Block all dating sites”: how to block access to dating websites

Popular, convenient for those who controls them but potentially dangerous

“Block all dating sites” means blocking access to dating websites on laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets. In this article we explain how you can block them in a simple way and why it is important to do it.

1. Dating websites: the services we mean

The web can be a dangerous place for everybody, for minors, but not only them. “Block all dating sites” is a very frequent sentence in search engines. In this article we will tell you why it is important to know what “block all dating sites” means and how you can do it, on a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone.

First of all, let’s quickly clarify what we mean by “dating sites”. They are websites or services available through an app that aim to connect people. Originally, there were only the websites and the first dating domain, registered in 1995, was Match.com. Today the Match Group is a giant for online dating. The group alone has a turnover of 2.4 billion dollars thanks to its 45 (!) domains of websites for meetings and almost 10 million subscribers. Their websites include all the most used ones, included the famous Tinder.

After the boom in mobile phones, all dating websites have developed their own app, for iOS and Android. According to the website BusinessofApps, which collected data from several sources (App Annie, Dating Site Reviews and Match Group), the users of dating sites in the world are at least 324 million and are expected to reach over 450 million by 2025. Moreover, the economic value of this sector in 2022 is almost 4 billion dollars. It is therefore understandable how popular dating websites are, how convenient they are for who controls them and, since they are so popular, how potentially dangerous they are.

The most used dating sites? According to Dating Sites Reviews the dating services available in the world are a staggering figure of 8 thousand, of which 2 thousand in the United States alone. But, in the end, the 324 million users focus on just a handful of websites or app services. The one with the highest number of users is Badoo, followed by Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Bumble, eHarmony, Grindr ect.

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2. Why can dating websites be dangerous

What can happen when you use a dating website? Generally, from an online meeting you proceed to an offline one, which could turn into sexual violence, harassment, pedophilia, frauds and blackmail, just to name the most frequent ones. But we shall specify that the risk of severe consequences is not only for minors. Potentially, indeed, on the web and not only on dating websites we are all in danger. In the case of dating sites, however, looking for new contacts creates a condition of vulnerability. In that moment, indeed, satisfying the desire to build a relationship can overwhelm our rationality. So, the search for a contact makes us weaker, and makes us pay less attention to doubts that we would probably have when thinking clearly.

We don’t feel like we need to verify the data of our responder and, if on the other side there is somebody good at it, it will only get worse.
Going from a chat to a proper meeting is a quick step. And the risk that something unpleasant might happen, especially for a fragile person – whether a minor or an adult doesn’t make much of a difference – is extremely high. Let’s be clear, in most of the meetings nothing dangerous happens, but data should put us on the lookout.

According to a survey by the informative site Phactual, 10% of the perpetrators of sexual crimes in the USA – who are part of a public list – have a profile in a dating website. Moreover, one out of four rapists uses these websites to get in contact with his victims. Still, according to Marketdata Enterprise, 10% of the profiles on free dating websites are fake. It should also be noted that Match Group and the other main players in this industry are putting in place actions to improve the quality of service. The request for a subscription, for example, helps to keep molesters away, as well as data verification. Moreover, recently some apps have also been using artificial intelligence to carry out cross controls on users’ profiles.

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3. Block all dating sites: how to do it

Unluckily, only some pay-for-websites/apps request the provision of documents to show the identity and the age of the subscriber. Too often, as it happens with social networks, creating a profile on dating websites is, literally, a kids’ play. Parents shall be aware about this and, if they cannot be certain about the websites their children have subscribed to, they can at least prevent access to the most dangerous ones. But “block all dating sites” is a search of interest also for companies, because they would like as well to prevent employees from using company resources to navigate on dating services. The reason is not only to avoid distraction, bu also and especially to protect the company network from the dangers that could stem from the employees’ contacts.

The procedures to block all dating sites regard only websites, while to block an app you need to act differently. In this case, you need to get access to the smartphone or tablet and apply a special procedure, which is available among the settings of all mobile devices, both Android and iOS, but also on Windows systems.

Although every mobile operative system calls the function in a different way, the result can be reached pretty easily. You just need to search for “block apps” or something similar in the settings for the management of apps or of privacy. Once you have identified the setting, through simple guided steps it is possible to select the app that you want to block and enable the block mode. You could also choose a password, for example, or, where it is possible, activate biometric authentication with fingerprint or face recognition, using the finger or face of the parent.

Once the procedure is completed, access to the app will be granted only after unlocking has taken place. And this does not influence the use of the device or of the other apps.
To inhibit access to dating websites, on the other hand, you can use the option available in every navigation system, like Google SafeSearch. Google has also made available a dedicated app to protect the navigation of children (Family Link). The app is useful because it allows parents to see the time spent on every app and to block their download or distance download.

But Google SafeSearch and, in general, all the filters supplied by the operating system and by services or applications have some limits. First of all because they control navigation stemming from that specific service, app or operating system. Moreover, it is often impossible to personalize them, so a generic block is activated on all types of potentially dangerous contents for the youngest. If you want a specific block on some websites, like if you want to block all dating sites, it is advisable to choose more sophisticated solutions.

4. Choosing a web filter to block dating websites

If you feel that the options provided by the operating systems or by web services like Google are not enough and you want a more powerful and more versatile solution, it is better to aim for a web filtering service, like FlashStart.

The advantages, on top of the possibility for personalization, are also in terms of quality and speed. Quality in this case is intended as the capacity to recognize the highest possible number of dating websites, minimizing the so-called false negatives. Moreover, the filter, based on the block of DNSs, can affect the speed of navigation. To avoid slowdowns, it is important to choose suppliers that can count on a very wide monitoring network.

FlashStart works with an Anycast network of datacenters in different geographical areas and has clients in over 145 countries. The FlashStart filter acts on the DNS protocol by blocking access to websites, thanks to a constantly updated database. Moreover, FlashStart has the option of the integration with the Microsoft Active Directory. And this is also a characteristic that marks the high quality of the solution.
Finally, personalizing the FlashStart service – available on all devices, desktop or mobile, and based on the cloud – is especially intuitive. Indeed, the service exploits a categorization of websites continuously updated and very detailed. The database exploited by FlashStart is designed s as to allow only the block of a specific category of websites, like the dating ones, and leave freedom of navigation for the other types of websites.

You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.

Reading time 3 min
Valerio MarianiB2B IT Journalist & Digital content
I am dedicated to providing companies with in-depth analysis and high-quality digital content to help them remain competitive in the technology marketplace. I am here to provide clear insights and effective communication strategies for business success.

View all posts by Valerio Mariani

I am dedicated to providing companies with in-depth analysis and high-quality digital content to help them remain competitive in the technology marketplace. I am here to provide clear insights and effective communication strategies for business success.
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