Pop Ups & Adverts

What are pop-ups?

Cambridge English Dictionary: A new window that opens quickly on a computer screen in front of what you are working on.

Wikipedia: Pop-up ads are often forms of online advertising on the internet intended to attract web traffic or capture email addresses. Pop-ups are generally new web browser windows to display advertisements. 

How can it happen?

Pop-up adverts can be annoying, and sometimes inappropriate. They exist in order to make money and they want you to click through to whatever it is they are advertising. If they sound too good to be true, “click here to win a free iPad!” they usually are, and it is best not to click on them. They ask you to sign up to competitions so they can have your personal information, or they bring to websites that you weren’t searching for.

Adverts also appear regularly in the apps we use on devices. Most apps/games are free to download and use because the developers make money through selling advertising space in their app. Some video adverts force you to watch them for a certain amount of time before they can be skipped, and most adverts have to be closed by pressing on a cross, which is sometimes very small or difficult to spot. Pressing anywhere else on the advert will usually take you out of the app and to a website advertising the product/service further. 

Other apps might display lots of adverts and messages encouraging you to buy extra features or items in the app. More information and advice on in-app purchases and premium rate content can be found in the Premium Rate Content Hot Topic.

Is there anything I can do to prevent pop-ups/adverts?

There are some steps you can take to avoid seeing pop-ups and adverts:

  • On social media, to avoid seeing ads you don’t want on your phone/device, give feedback by clicking on the right hand corner of the ad. Most services have an option that allows you to hide the advert or let the service know you don’t want to see it. You can also give feedback about the advert (eg it’s useful, it’s irrelevant, it’s inappropriate etc).
    The exact choices you have are different from social network to social network. If you visit a social network using your web browser, you can log in and under your settings, you can edit the types of advertisements you see.
  • When using a web browser, most modern browsers will automatically block pop-up windows. You can also install add-ons or adblockers to prevent pop-up adverts or advertising being displayed on the sites you visit. Remember that blocking adverts on some websites may prevent them from working properly.
  • It is much harder to block adverts that appear in apps and games, as blocking the adverts will usually prevent the app from working properly. Before downloading a new app, always check out the reviews in the app store, as they will often tell you if an app has too much advertising or displays adverts that are inappropriate.