Which Accountability Software is Right for Me?
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! But there are safeguards that can be put into place to make devices and internet viewing less of a threat through the use of accountability or filtering/blocking software. With so many options, how do you pick the right one for yourself and/or your family?
After reviewing several of the accountability packages available, I 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. Accountability packages 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?
The price for Covenant Eyes Family Plan is $14.99 a month for an unlimited number of devices. Covenant Eyes features usernames for each person in the family so each individual’s settings can be tailored to that person’s age and maturity level. For adults it is designed as an accountability software to instill the value of accountability and making wise choices with the internet. They do offer the options of “block” and “allow” lists, filter sensitivity levels, as well as the ability to block certain times of the day for each individual username, again depending on age and maturity, as well as an extra layer of security and protection 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.
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. 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. They do offer a more affordable option at $10.99 a month, called the Personal Protection Plan, which is designed for individuals or couples with no kids. It offers internet accountability for one username with multiple devices with the option to pay extra for each additional username and internet filtering. Another drawback is that the filtering/blocking option is not available on Android Phones and Tablets (including Kindle Fire), which are currently accountability only. Keep in mind, when using Covenant Eyes on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, you must use their web browser when browsing the internet to utilize the software.
The price for X3WATCH is $24.99 a year for the basic plan or $64.99 a year for the premium plan. The basic plan includes 4 accountability partners, online monitoring with accountability reports, and can be used across desktops and mobile devices as well as select android devices. The premium plan includes the same services as basic with up to 10 accountability partners as well as the ability to block and filter content as well as to turn blocking/filtering on and off. The Premium Plan will also send instant alerts to accountability partners when browsing harmful content or the account is changed.
The website is user friendly with videos to explain how X3WATCH works on your device. It offers Premium Support with many articles that explain how to implement X3WATCH. The product is purchased and downloaded online. The website does not offer a phone number should you wish to call with questions.
Overall, X3WATCH offers standard accountability and filtering/blocking at a great price. It does not offer the capability of setting up accounts for multiple users, so keep that in mind if it is important to have customized settings for various users/family members. There is only one username and one report for all of the devices it is installed on. It is a little more affordable and they do offer a free plan, though it is not easy to find.
The price for Accountable2You is $6.99 a month for an individual plan or $9.99 a month for a family plan. The individual plan includes use on up to six devices, unlimited accountability partners, reporting, and the ability to manage objectionable words. The premium plan includes the same services as basic as well as the ability to create child user accounts, use on unlimited devices, and setting time limits. Accountable2You can be used across desktops and mobile devices as well as select android devices.
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. If you desire filtering and blocking for children in your home, that is not offered by Accountable2You; it is accountability only so it would need to be supplemented with a blocking or filtering plan.
K9Web offers a free blocking or filtering plan for households. K9 is software that is downloaded on each device (available for Windows, MacOS, iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Android) which filters content based on preferences, utilizing Safe Search, setting up Night Guard so the internet is not accessible during certain hours during the night, and by creating a Summary Log accessed on the internet to review internet activity. It does not offer accountability services and is not used across all devices unless downloaded for each individual device, but if needing something affordable it is a great place to start.
The price for Ever Accountable is $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year for an Individual Plan or $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year for a family plan. The Individual Plan covers one user for up to ten devices while the family plan covers all household users on all devices. Ever Accountable is an accountability only software; it does not offer any type of filtering or blocking. It can be used on Android phones and tablets, Kindles, Windows PC’s, Google Chromebooks, and iOS devices.
he website is user friendly and very simple to follow but it does not offer a lot of customer support and no contact phone number. The product is purchased and downloaded online.
Overall, Ever Accountable offers standard accountability and reporting at a good price. If in need of filtering or blocking, that is not an option with Ever Accountable. The other difficulty some might have is that Ever Accountable does not work with iOS devices. If using iOS devices, Safari must be disabled and Ever Accountable’s browser is used in its place.
We often receive questions about accountability software for Microsoft Phones. To date, there has not been accountability/filtering software developed for use on Microsoft Phones.
The closest thing we could find from our research was a feature called Apps Corner which you could use to lock down access to certain apps. This is not a great solution, so if you have a Windows phone it is probably worth switching to a more accountability friendly device.
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, like the popular Disney Circle. Of course, if you are over 10 years of age and aren’t a Disney Princess, or you use your phone’s data instead of just WiFi, then you’ll need a different solution. Many phone and internet providers now offer filtering options on their end, so it is worth giving them a call.
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 X3WATCH and their free plan or K9Web Protection. They are not quite 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. As a parting thought, if you or someone you love is struggling with pornography, we strongly encourage you to find a Conquer Series group in your area. Installing this 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.
What accountability and filtering software are you using and how is it working for you?