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Why does blocking an app or a website not take effect immediately?

Safe Surfer performs internet filtering through DNS servers, which can be thought of as the "contacts list" of the Internet. To visit a website, such as https://safesurfer.io (where the domain safesurfer.io is the important bit for the filtering part), a device needs to talk to a DNS server to discover where exactly the Safe Surfer website sits on the public internet. If a protected device tries to visit a porn website, we block it so that the device can't talk to it in the first place.

If you block content on the Blocking menu or the Screentime features, you might find that blocking/unblocking can take a little while to take effect, or seemingly not at all. This is commonly caused by a computer networking concept called cacheing. When Joe's phone uses the Facebook app, the app will talk to a series of Facebook servers. If a parent blocks Facebook five minutes into Joe's phone using the Facebook app, the Facebook app can still appear to work just as normal. This is because the Facebook app has already "solved" where the Facebook servers sit on the Internet, because it would be inefficient for devices to recheck a Facebook domain approximately every minute.

Getting block settings to apply



Getting blocking to work depends on what kind of device you have. In most cases, you can perform the following steps:

Fully close the app you're using, wait a few seconds, and open the app again.
Restart the device.

Either of these steps should force a DNS cache flush.

Android devices



In addition to DNS blocking, the Safe Surfer app on Android supports blocking apps themselves—this greatly helps avoid this issue. You'll just need to make sure that you have the "App blocking" features turned on inside the Safe Surfer app's home menu. You'll need the physical device in-hand to turn this feature on. If a website isn't being blocked, try turning off and on the device.

iPhone and iPad devices



If a website or an app isn't being blocked after 5–10 minutes, try turning off and on the device.

Windows devices



If a website or an app isn't being blocked after 5–10 minutes, try turning off and on the device.

Mac devices



If a website or an app isn't being blocked after 5–10 minutes, try turning off and on the device.

Chromebook devices



If a website or an app isn't being blocked after 5–10 minutes, try turning off and on the device.

Updated on: 25/03/2024

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