I don’t know about you, but I find constant advertising to be utterly exhausting (it’s especially horrible this time of year — arrrg!). Ads are invading every part of our lives. The other day, I went to pump gas, and an ad with full volume started playing on a little screen above the pumps. There are even ads now on the walls above urinals in restrooms. If we search for anything on the Internet, we’re subsequently bombarded with targeted ads for that item for weeks or even months to come. And don’t get me started on websites — many of them are unusable because of the amount of flashing ads and auto-play videos that pop up and clutter the screen.
Now I don’t mean for this to be a rant post, but this is something I’ve been thinking about more recently. What brought it to my attention was that I went to a website using a web browser other than Firefox (which I’ve heavily customized with a plethora of privacy plug-ins and ad blockers), and I was horrified by the experience. Within seconds, my computer came to a screeching halt due to numerous ad videos that began playing at once and multiple flashing pop-ups. It was silly, really.
There are also websites that more or less hijack your entire browser. These include modal ads that take up the whole screen, allowing you to do absolutely nothing until you hit the “Close” button (and it always takes a minimum of three tries for the Close button to actually close the ad). The worst are those redirect ads that take you to an entirely different site.
I know we live in a capitalistic society, and businesses need to advertise in order to sell their crap. I’m an entrepreneur myself. But from what I’ve read in forums, many people are exhausted from being advertised to every bloody second of the day. I’ve always believed that it cannot be good for one’s mental health to be continuously bombarded with ads.
I’ve taken several steps in my own life to minimize the number of ads/advertisements to which I’m exposed. For one, I only watch ad-free television. That is to say, my watching is limited to only streaming services that don’t deliver up ads during programs. This isn’t something new for me — I moved away from commercial television many years ago – over 40, truth be told. However, once ads started appearing every six minutes or so during shows, I decided I had had enough and never looked back. I got rid of commercial radio about the same time as well (there’s nothing worse than having someone shouting at you to buy their hemorrhoid ointment). And once magazines began displaying ads on every other page, I dumped them, too.
I also use several different ad blockers (such as Adblock Plus) for online browsing, which are really effective. Firefox, which is my web browser of choice, is highly customizable and offers several security features, including ads and pop-up blocking. I also use an ad blocker for the iOS version of Safari. Now, ad blockers aren’t always effective in blocking pop-ups, though — they still manage to sneak through. However, if I visit a site with pop-ups (i.e., newsletter pop-ups), I try to make sure never to ever go to that site again (I’ve saved scads of money by refusing to buy anything from a site with pop-ups).
There are also many iOS apps (mostly the free ones) that include ads within them that I won’t use. If I like an app, I’ll always purchase the “ad-free” premium version of it. If I don’t like it enough to buy it or if there’s isn’t an ad-free version, I won’t use it. Likewise, I subscribe to Hulu ad-free and YouTube Premium, which provide an ad-free experience. I don’t mind paying a bit of money not to be exposed to advertising.
Though it’s nearly impossible to escape ads entirely, you can take steps to minimize your exposure to them.