With advances in technology, one can access Pandora’s Box with a mere touch of a screen. For those who are trying to overcome an addiction to porn or for parents trying to safeguard their children, the task can seem quite daunting! Safeguards, such as accountability or filtering/blocking software, can be put into place to make devices and internet viewing less of a threat.
With so many options, how do you pick the right one for yourself and/or your family?
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After reviewing several of the accountability packages available, we have compiled a short run down on more well known software packages available. When choosing software it is important to know there are two main differences between the available packages, accountability and blocking/filtering.
Accountability packages offer the service of listing email addresses of accountability partners who will receive reports on what you are viewing on the internet. These are effective as they hold the user accountable to make wise choices in what is viewed, which instills integrity and honor.
Filtering/blocking packages offer the option of choosing which websites are okay for viewing and which ones should be blocked. Some software offers the option of both accountability and filtering/blocking.
Before you decide on an accountability package, you will want to know the answers to the following questions:
- What type of devices will it be installed on?
- How many devices will you be using it on?
- What are the ages of those included in the package?
- What is the number of accountability partners to be included?
- Do you want both accountability and filtering/blocking?
Bark is the best comprehensive parental control app that partners with parents and schools to help monitor the online activity of children.
Unlike other accountability software, Bark proactively monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 30+ different social networks for potential safety concerns, so busy parents can save time and gain peace of mind.
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Parents have the option to utilize screen time management and web filtering tools to help set healthy limits around how and when kids use their devices.
Bark works with iOS and Android to monitor texts, photos, and videos for concerning interactions. The service looks for activity that may indicate online predators, adult content, sexting, cyberbullying, drug use, suicidal thoughts, and more.
They offer a 7 day free trial followed by a $14/month plan or a $5/month plan for younger kids.
The price for a Covenant Eyes Family Plan is $15.99 a month for an unlimited number of devices. It features usernames for each person in the family, as well as the ability to tailor to each person’s age and maturity level. Accountability software, designed for adults, helps to instill the value of accountability while encouraging wise choices with the internet.
They do offer the options to create “block” and “allow” lists, filter sensitivity levels (Everyone, Youth, Teen, Mature Teen, Mature, Highly Mature), as well as block certain times of the day for each individual username, again depending on age and maturity. An extra layer of security and protection is available for adults if necessary.
The website is very user friendly, the process to sign up is easy to understand and follow, and customer service is available by phone or email.
Overall, Covenant Eyes has a great package as they offer a great amount of flexibility in setting up multiple usernames with multiple settings along with varying levels of security.
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There are several drawbacks.
The price can be a deterrent, but if it is for a family it offers great tailored protection for each family member. A more affordable plan, the Personal Plan, is available for $11.99 per month. It is designed for individuals or couples with no kids. It offers internet accountability for one username with multiple devices and unlimited Accountability Partners. One additional User can be added at $2.00 a month and filtering is available at $1.50 for each User. A 30-Day Money Back Guarantee is offered.
Covenant Eyes released a rebuilt version of the Android app in June 2018. It will now monitor top-level domains across all devices. SafeSearch is now enforced on both Bing and Google, and one can enable restricted mode for YouTube through the use of Filter Guardians.
CleanBrowsing was also added in this update, which will block known porn sites. Aside from this feature, filtering is not otherwise available in this app.
In late 2017, X3watch founder Craig Gross announced that X3watch was now partnering with Ever Accountable. The Ever Accountable team will be handling the technical aspects and X3watch will focus on providing resources, training and basic support. New subscribers can sign up at either website. Gross said that gradually all customers will be transitioned over to Ever Accountable, but for now both websites are operating. You can visit both websites to see if you have a preference where you enroll.
The price for X3watch or Ever Accountable is $89.99 a year for the Individual plan or $119.99 a year for the Family plan. A 14-day free trial period is offered with each plan, and is backed by a 100% money back guarantee.
Both plans include unlimited accountability partners, online monitoring with accountability reports, and can be used on iOS, Mac, Android, PC, Chromebook, and Kindle. Filtering and blocking are not available. The Family plan includes the same services as the Individual plan and will also send instant alerts to accountability partners when browsing harmful content or the account is changed. Both plans also feature Uninstall Alerts which enable Accountability Partners to see if the User tried to uninstall the program.
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The websites are user-friendly with videos to explain how the software works on your device. They offer many articles that explain how to implement the program. The product is purchased and downloaded online. A phone number is not provided for questions, but each site does provide an email contact form.
Overall, X3watch and Ever Accountable offer standard accountability at a good price. They also offer a 7-day video training series for both Users and Accountability Partners.
The price for Accountable2You is $6.99 a month for an Individual plan or $11.99 a month for a Family plan. Choosing to pay annually results in additional savings. A 10-day free trial is available, and the plan can be cancelled online at any time.
The Individual plan includes use on up to six devices, unlimited accountability partners, real-time reporting, and the ability to manage objectionable words. The Family plan includes the same services as the Individual as well as the ability to create child user accounts, set time limits, and provides accountability for any number of devices.
Accountable2You can be used on Windows, Android, Kindle, Chrome, MacOS, iOS and Linux. It also offers a VPN on the iPhone and iPad with uninstall notification. GPS-Location Tracking Accountability is also available for iOS and Android devices.
This plan only provides accountability. If you desire to filter/block content, you will need to supplement this plan with a blocking or filtering plan.
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The website is user-friendly with videos to explain how Accountable2You works on your device. It offers support with step by step instructions which explain how to implement and best use Accountable2You. The product is purchased and downloaded online. The website does offer a phone number should you wish to call with questions.
Overall, Accountable2You offers standard accountability at a great price.
Porn can affect the whole family. Not just the parents, but the children also.
Net Nanny has features aimed at all ages. Parents can monitor and filter their children’s internet activity, and spouses can be accountable to each other or other people.
Net Nanny offers three price plans, each based on the number of devices that will be used. Annual subscriptions are $39.99 for one device (PC or Mac), $54.99 for five devices, and $89.99 for 20 devices. The five and 20 device plans can also be used on Android and iOS devices in addition to PC and Mac.
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Net Nanny allows unlimited customized user profiles, filters, blocks, ability to set time limits, masking profanity, personal accountability, alerts and reporting. There is a robust support section with installation instructions. Tech support is available by phone during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. MDT).
The website is interactive and user-friendly. They also have a newsletter containing parent tips that you can subscribe to online.
Lion is an accountability browser available in the Apple App Store. The User’s Accountability Partners receive a bi-weekly email noting any explicit websites visited.
The app is FREE to use as a regular browser, and you can add Accountability Partners for a one-time $9.99 fee. There are no monthly payments or sign-up forms. All data is stored on the device, and links can be opened directly in Lion.
OpenDNS works by protecting all of the devices connected to your home’s network. This includes computers, game consoles, televisions, smartphones, and more. Their website boasts that 1 in 3 schools in the United States currently use OpenDNS, and with several options to choose from, you can be sure to get the plan that best suits your family.
Their service is FREE to use for the family at home, but you have to option to add the Home VIP plan for $19.95/year to receive usage stats. There is also the Small Business plan to cover employees’ laptops for $20/user.
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Their website includes easy setup instructions, a frequently asked questions section, and they offer email customer support.
Growing in popularity are Smart TVs. In 2017, CNBC reported that over 40 million American households own Smart TVs. So, with this new technology gadget infiltrating homes, how do you ensure that you and your family are safe from obscene or sexually explicit content?
Before you purpose to watch a show, movie, or check your email using your Smart TV, be sure to set up the parental controls. Keep in mind, parental controls will not protect against everything accessed through the TV. Consider setting up user profiles for some of the subscription streaming services, or enable passwords to make purchases. Refrain from setting these passwords and account features directly through the Smart TV. Instead, utilize your computer to control these settings.
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Additionally, you may want to consider contacting your internet provider to see if they can filter at the source, or you may want to utilize some of the programs available that will filter through your home’s WiFi network.
Remember, there are no solid blockers for TVs. Blocking software is only a beginning, as today’s ratings seem to be getting looser. Shows that would have been considered rated R in the past are now passing through with a rating of PG13. If you’re a parent seeking to protect your child, please know that blockers should not replace proactive parenting.
Filtering At The Source
There are a range of devices coming onto the market that filter the internet before it even reaches your computer, tablet or smart phone. The popular Disney Circle works with your home’s Wi-Fi. Disney’s Circle Go extends your child’s settings to 4G LTE and any other Wi-Fi network they join.
We recommend you take time to visit the above links and look through the options available and pick one that is right for yourself and your family. If the plans are not affordable to you at this time, look into K9Web Protection. It’s not as tailored as some of the other packages but it’s better to have something in place than to open yourself and your family up to unnecessary risks and dangers.
Building Your Internal Filter
If you or someone you love is struggling with pornography, we strongly encourage you to find a Conquer Series group in your area. The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic series that is helping men conquer porn and walk in freedom. Watch the Conquer Series Trailer below.
Installing accountability software is essential but it is only a small part of recovering from pornography. Taking part in a Conquer Series group will offer the accountability and encouragement needed as well as the opportunity to grow and learn Biblical principles necessary to walk in freedom. You can get access digitally at SoulRefiner.com, and get started today.
What accountability and filtering software are you using and how is it working for you?