Block flashing and animation in your browser

Solar flare photographed by NASA January 22, 2012

If the flashing images in video games have given you seizures, chances are that other on-screen viewing experiences are potential seizure triggers, too. By making some adjustments to your monitor and browser, you can limit the visual stimulation delivered by computer images.

This list is hardly comprehensive, but it includes some basic approaches to protection against unwanted flashing and animation in the Windows environment. Please contribute additional suggestions!

Monitor adjustments

You can lower the brightness settings on your monitor to reduce contrast and effects of flash. This setting is different on each device/monitor—on my Dell laptop, to lower the screen brightness I hold down the Function key while pressing the up arrow on my keypad.

Desktop and color scheme

In Windows, go to the Settings menu, Control panel > Display.

  • Don’t select one of those constantly moving designs as a screensaver
  • Choose default or low-contrast color schemes

Block unwanted Flash videos

Firefox: Download the extension Flash Block at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashblock/?src=search

Flash Block prevents automatic display of moving sequences that are powered by Macromedia Flash or Shockwave. When you load a page containing these images, a placeholder appears on the screen in the spot where the image would be displayed. To view a blocked image, just click on the placeholder.

Internet Explorer 8: instructions on how to disable Flash video graphics:

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/disable-flash-all-but-whitelist-sites-ie8/ or

http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/754934-ie8-has-its-built-in-flash-block-its-called-per-site-activex-control/

Internet Explorer 7: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2008/04/07/toggle-flash-add-on-to-disable-flash-in-ie-7/

Chrome:  Click on the wrench icon for customizing Chrome. Select Options > Under the Hood > Content Settings > Plug-ins. Choose Disable individual plug-ins and select Flash.

Block ads

Unclutter the page, reduce intrusive distractions, and avoid the attention-seeking graphics in advertisements. Read about the options for preventing the display of ads on your screen:

Firefox: http://www.ehow.com/info_12146801_there-adblock-addon-ie8.html

Internet Explorer: http://www.ehow.com/info_12146801_there-adblock-addon-ie8.html

Chrome:  http://www.ehow.com/info_12059584_adblock-vs-adblock-plus-chrome.html

For more detailed directions on blocking ads, see http://dottech.org/tipsntricks/17516/

Stop animated images from moving, as needed for individual screens

Unless you disable them, animations that blink or automatically cycle through images will stay animated for as long as you stay on any page. To prevent graphics from animating in your web browser window, once the web page has stopped loading and the images start to animate, just hit the ESC key on your keyboard.

That will immediately disable all the GIF animations on that webpage. In order to replay the animated images, reload the page by pressing F5 or Ctrl+R. This feature is already available in most browsers, but not in Google Chrome.

To activate the ESC key option for blocking animation in Chrome, download a browser extension at http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/80588

Prevent animated images from moving, automatically for all screens

Firefox: Download  AniDisable extension. See

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/anidisablehacked/

Internet Explorer:  Tools > Internet Options > Advanced. Uncheck the box in the Multimedia list that says “Play animations in web pages”

Chrome:  This option is not currently available.


3 Comments on “Block flashing and animation in your browser”

  1. […] Block flashing and animation in your browser […]

  2. Jacki Katzman says:

    What practical and useful information! Thanks, Jessie

  3. Marian says:

    Hey Jessica,

    I have been researching this topic and there are a few books that I have found during the past year that you might be interested in.

    ‘Endangered Minds’ by Jane Healy – first published in 1990. Chapters 10 and 11 are about technology and children’s cartoons, specifically ‘Sesame Street’

    ‘Unplugged’ by Ryan Van Cleave, a writer whose real name is Ryan Anderson. It is a
    difficult book to read, and even the cover is scarey, but it is his experience with video games from age 13 until his forties, when he almost committed suicide one night by jumping off of
    a bridge. It seems like a therapy journal to me. Brutally honest.

    ‘Cyber Junkie’ by Kevin Roberts who is now in the rehab and addiction recovery field. It
    is full of very dramatic, sad stories, but more professional than Ryan Van Cleave’s book.


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