Social Media

How to Effectively Block Social Media (Updated for 2024)

Social Media apps need to be handled differently than other apps, since they are so prevalent.

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated June 13, 2024

If you want to break a social media habit, chances are you've tried uninstalling apps from your smartphone to quit. You may have even gone a step further and deleted your account. While this is a good start, it may be necessary to block your social media apps or use some strategies to limit your access to them.

Limiting social media presents some unique challenges when compared with most traditional apps. Even if you uninstall a social media app and delete your account, it's easy to simply reinstall the app or access the web version of the app. Some people might even switch over to a different device where the app isn't blocked.

Considering all this, there are a few options that we've found are particularly effective at blocking social media:

  • Completely blocking both the web and app versions of the platforms by connecting your device to a DNS Content Policy.
  • Instead of blocking entirely, schedule when a social media app is blocked so that it can only be accessed during certain times. 
  • Block the images or videos displayed on some social media sites to make them less appealing. 
  • Use alternative apps instead, for example, Facebook Messenger instead of the full Facebook app.

Each social media platform is different, and as a result, will have slightly different options. That's why we've dedicated specific guides for each platform - to address the unique caveats or options you might consider.

In general, you should be able to effectively block or schedule the social media app's usage, regardless of device type.

Techniques for Blocking Social Media on All Kinds of Devices

The most effective way to completely disable the app and web versions of social media is to use a DNS Content Policy .

You can use a content policy to set rules around internet usage.

A Content Policy can be enforced on any device connected correctly.

You can connect your smartphone or computer to your Content Policy through an Always-on VPN or by manually configuring some settings on the device.

Or, if you want to enable filtering on multiple devices at once, you can connect your router to enable filtering on any device on your home's Wi-Fi.

Completely Disable Social Media Apps

A DNS Content Policy can't stop an app from being installed, but it can prevent that app from connecting to the internet. 

Not only will this disable the app version of social media, but it can also be used to outright block the web version.

Schedule when an App can be used

Instead of blocking social media altogether, you could choose to instead schedule when the app is enabled.

A great use case is at night or during work hours.

Restrict certain features on social media

If you want to reduce how distracting social media is, you can use a DNS Content Policy to disable images or video and just use the messaging feature of the app.

Tech Lockdown provides several built-in rule presets that block the domains used by different platforms to stream video or images. Blocking these will limit how distracting different platforms are to you.

A good example of this is YouTube thumbnails. Using the YouTube Images preset, you can get rid of thumbnails entirely:

Each app has its own considerations that you can use to highly customize how you want apps to behave.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

How Should You Limit or Block Each Social Media App?

Each platform is different. If there is a specific app that you want to learn more about how to block, we have full guides that explain each consideration for the most common social media apps.

Here are some of the main things you can do on each platform:

  1. Block the app entirely using a DNS Content Policy , the Hosts file , or an AppLocking app .
  2. Schedule when the app is enabled.
  3. Disable images or video, enforce restricted mode, or force an NSFW filter.
  4. Use the messaging alternative to the app (for example, Messenger vs Facebook).

What approach you should take will depend on the app you want to block or limit, as well as how strict you want content to be filtered on the app.

What is the Hosts File?
It's a file available on most computers that can be used to block websites manually. We'll explain how this works a little further along in this article.


Facebook is a hub of all kinds of content, many of which aren't entirely necessary in order to keep in touch with friends. Instead of installing the entire Facebook app, you might instead consider using the Facebook Messenger app.

However, this isn't your only option. Using a DNS Content Policy on your smartphone, it is possible to schedule when you can use the app or block it altogether.

It is also possible to block the Facebook domain on a computer using the Hosts file by blocking these domains:

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Tik Tok

Most of us know Tik Tok by its short-form video content. However, more increasingly, the security of Tik Tok users have been called into question. How do you block TikTok effectively?

With a DNS Content Policy, you can add a block rule for the TikTok app:

You can also block most of the functionality on the platform by blocking these domains using the Hosts file:

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Unfortunately, Instagram is one of those apps you can only block completely. This can be done with a DNS Content Policy:

Or by blocking with the Hosts file:

However, recently, Meta released the Threads app, which allows you to message friends instead of having the full Instagram experience.

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X (formerly known as Twitter)

You can block Twitter images or videos using a DNS Content Policy, or instead choose to block it completely:

The entries to add to the Hosts file that block X (Twitter):

# Twitter Images

# Twitter Videos

# Twitter Proper


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On Reddit, it's possible for you to block images or videos:

Or block completely with a DNS Content Policy.


How to Filter NSFW content on Reddit

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YouTube has a restricted version that you can enforce on your devices:

This will allow certain videos from appearing in recommended or search, as well preventing those videos from playing if they're accessed some other way:

Plus, you can also disable thumbnails on YouTube:

Or block it completely:

The Host file entries you will want to use to limit YouTube:

# YouTube Thumbnails

## Youtube Safe Search ##

To Block YouTube entirely:

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Discord uses a CDN (Content Delivery Network) that allows for videos or images to be shared with other users. This can be disabled either in Discord's app settings:

Or enforced with a DNS Content Policy:

Discord can also be blocked by a DNS Content Policy.

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Blocking Social Media using the Hosts File

The Hosts File is a special file on many desktop or laptop computers that can change the way it interacts with a website. In our case, it can be used to block social media websites or apps by interfering with these platform's ability to communicate with the servers. The way it interferes with this communication is by changing the DNS records of a computer.

What is DNS?

DNS, or the Domain Name System, is like the internet's phone book. When you want to visit a website, you usually type a human-friendly web address like "" into your web browser. However, computers communicate over the internet using IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, which are a series of numbers like ""

Block websites with the Hosts file

The Hosts file is a simple text file on your computer that allows you to manually associate IP addresses with specific domain names. You manually override which IP addresses you want to us.

You can use this to block a website by pointing to an invalid IP address, like or something similar.

Create the Hosts file on your computer

In order to start using the Hosts file, you will first need to create it. Unfortunately, the exact steps for how to do this are complicated, so we've created a dedicated guide about how to block websites using the Hosts file .

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Adding Social Media Domains to the Hosts File

Now that you can edit the Hosts File, we need to add domains to it. Blocking all social media is pretty easy, there are lists available online that you can copy and paste into your Hosts file.

If you want to block all social media platforms, use this list in your Hosts File. This list is pretty big, but it has all of the major platforms and any Doman Names that they use. 

Blocking Social Media on an Android Smartphone

There are a few main ways to block social media on an Android: using parental controls, connecting it to a DNS Content Policy, or setting up a " dumb phone ". Parental controls are the much easier and clear option, however, there are some important considerations:

  1. Parental Controls provide basic blocking features, like preventing access to certain websites or preventing installing unapproved apps.
  2. Parental Controls are great for securing a child's device, but it may not be adequate for someone trying to self-manage.

We've created a guide dedicated for Android users interested in blocking apps on their own device. Check it out for detailed steps and techniques.

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Blocking Social Media on an iPhone

On iPhone, you have a bit more freedom as far as out-of-the-box settings that you can enable. For example, Screen Time can be a create option for some people, as it compliments a proper blocking system.

Plus, you can heavily restrict your iPhone's user experience to the point that you aren't motivated to use it as much. This is a called a dumb phone .

Enable Screen Time restrictions

iPhone devices should come with some version of Screen Time built into their Settings. Typically, these settings are much more powerful than what Android smartphones have. You can "limit" apps by setting really low time limits and screen time (unfortunately, you can't block the entirely).

Here's how to set up Screen Time:

It is strongly recommended that you configure a Screen Time pin. Some people may also choose to create a secondary Apple ID, in order to make it more difficult to reset the pin. If you are configuring these settings for your child, then going this process with a separate Apple ID for you and your child is strongly recommended.
  • Limit Adult Websites, and under Never Allow, add the URL of the social media site you want to disable.
  • Allowed Websites Only, and make sure that the social media sites are not added to the Allowed Only These Websites list.

More advanced techniques to block apps

There are many more features that you can enable on an iPhone, but unfortunately, I can't get into all of them. Fortunately, we do provide an in-depth guide about how to block apps on iPhone devices, so I strongly recommend checking that one out as well.

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Prevent Further Temptation

Tech Lockdown is focused on helping people find a way out of temptation online. Unfortunately, there are simply to many ways to find this kind of content, and very few answer that seem to help.

That's why we've written numerous guides that are available for free and searchable online. For those interested, Tech Lockdown members get access to our premium guides , which explain how to enable advanced lockdown features on their devices.

Also, if you interested in how to block adult content on social media specifically, we've released a companion guide to this one that takes a more proactive approach to limiting content within the platforms themselves.

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