Everyone knows that the internet is dark and full of spoilers (except Jon Snow, because he knows nothing). With the final season of Game of Thrones about to hit our screens — at 11am, Monday April 15, to be exact — the inevitable post-episode talk will surface not long after the first episode airs.
Unfortunately for us Aussies, the first episode screening on Foxtel (and streaming on Foxtel Now) will happen during the working day, so most of us will be a few hours away from watching the show after it has premiered. That leaves us with a few hours where the unthinkable could happen: someone could spoil the episode.
The good news is that if you’ve been wondering how to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers, there are several ways that you can prevent episodes being ruined for you online (beyond the obvious ‘go hide under a tree with the Children of the Forest where no one can disturb you’).
Extensions for Google Chrome
There’s good news if you use Google Chrome for your web and social media browsing — there are a couple of plugins around that will block Game of Thrones spoilers across search and social media.
Game of Spoils is perhaps the most suited Chrome extension, as it’s set up to detect Game of Thrones-specific spoilers. This plugin will black out posts on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Google News. It detects and then blacks out any Game of Thrones content and associated terms, with the option to actually hide the spoilers so you’re not tempted by them. If you do click on a blacked-out spoiler, you’ll have a few seconds as the post is slowly revealed — which gives you enough time to hide from your screen if you click accidentally.
There are other Chrome extensions around, including Spoiler Shield and Unspoiler, both of which not only block Game of Thrones content, but also block spoilers from other shows, movies, and even sports.
Mute spoilers on social media and Google
Twitter is currently the only social media platform that will effectively block or mute keywords. This will come in handy if you’re a big Twitter user and want to avoid spoilers — simply open up your account’s Settings, find the ‘muted words’ tab, and add the words or hashtag you’d like to mute (these can also be muted from your home timeline). You can also add more specifics, such as muting content from everyone or just from people you don’t follow, as well as the time frame you want these words muted for.
As for Facebook, you can Snooze pages and people for 30 days (if you don’t want to unlike or unfollow the person or page). You’ll need to go on a post from that person or page, and hit those three little dots at the top right of the post to find the snooze option. This is easy to do on the app’s mobile version, and is pretty useful if you have a friend who is guilty of posting their analysis without spoiler warnings.
Instagram also has a mute feature for accounts you follow: simply click those three dots at the top right of a post, and select the red Mute option. You can not only mute a user’s posts, but also Stories, which can come in handy.
Avoid social media
This sounds pretty obvious, but to some, it might sound like the hardest option. After all, to avoid social media for half a day or more could be a hard ask. Luckily, there’s an app for that – well, several apps.
OffTime is one such app, which lets you track and monitor your usage and goals to give you incentives to unplug. While it’s more about helping you to avoid being distracted by your phone, or to help with digital detoxing, there are app blocking functions to help curb that temptation. If you have an iPhone, Apple has introduced the Screen Time integration in recent iOS updates, which does have app blocking functions if you want to set ‘downtime’.
Do I really need to take these measures to avoid spoilers?
Well, it’s up to you really. If you have a friend on Facebook who spoiled the last season for you, you might not want to risk it. Likewise with news sites: while most outlets are pretty good at giving spoiler warnings and not giving plot points away in the article titles, you never really know what might pop up in your Facebook, Twitter or Google News feed.
If you know you’ll be waiting for more than 24 hours to watch the latest episode, opting for one of those Chrome extensions might be the best way to avoid spoilers, as many people and outlets start sharing more plot spoilers 48 or so hours after screening, with the assumption everyone has watched by then.
You could even go as far as avoiding those sites all together, and deleting social media apps from your device to avoid temptation. Or, you could hide away like a hermit, and avoid all human interaction and technology until you can finally catch the latest episode for yourself. Because what do we say to the god of spoilers? Not today.
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