February 22, 2007

Internet Filters: Finding the best!

Internet Filters
Accountability vs. Protection with Accountability
Covenant Eyes / X3 vs. Net Nanny vs OpenDNS

Recently I was asked to be an accountability partner for someone who was putting "Covenant Eyes" on their computer. I declined their offer because these types of programs fall significantly short in protecting the client, their wife and their family from being exposed to porn. However, any filter or accountability program is better than nothing. The goal here is not "perfection" - for that is impossible. The goal here is to slow down and if possible stop the addiction cycle long enough to allow the addict enough time to sober up so that they can begin to think clearly and make healthy choices.

The programs I have trouble with are ... "Covenant Eyes" and "X3 Watch" from the XXX Church. The short comings of these programs are that …
1) They fail to protect the client or their family from porn. These programs do not stop porn from being viewed. They only report that porn was viewed. Since the porn industry is determined to push porn into every home we need to install safeguards that will protect ourselves and our family members from these intruders.
2) They provide accountability AFTER the client has medicated and has acted out! By then it is too late ... the client has gotten their ‘fix’ in spite of knowing that there will be consequences.
3) They often the report the sexual behaviors weeks after the event or never at all. In fact, X3 from XXX Church states that they only send out a report once every two weeks! This allows the client to have a two week binge before anyone is ever notified of their sexual behaviors. Under this kind of program the client often feels that they can 'prepare for the worse' by not being immediately held accountable for their actions. This only encourages them to act out and relapse while hoping that the accountability partner will either miss the accountability report or that they will discount it because the event was two weeks old.
4) These programs often send the accountability partner the URL addresses for the questionable sites. This then requires the accountability partner to open up and search through the URL site(s) to see if it contains any questionable material. This is very time consuming and dangerous for the accountability partner because of the possibilities of being exposed to porn.
5) Lastly, it doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to know that there are numerous ways to bypass these programs so that the accountability partner isn't fully aware of the client's attempts to act out. Often when the program suspects that the client is trying to bypass the system they state that the … "Report was not sent when expected. This may or may not be due to the client's attempt to bypass the system.” Because of this unclear message the client has the potential to fly under the radar while looking for loop holes and/or bypassing the system.

In light of this information, it is my perspective that accountability programs are not reliable, they give a false sense of security, and do not protect the client, the Bride, the family or the accountability partner from being exposed to porn. It is my belief that if a client wants to protect himself and those he loves from those who would "kill, steal and destroy" then he needs to put in a system that will lock out places when the enemy might enter. This includes the computer! It is essential that client chooses a strong Internet Filter that will protect himself and his family.

Over the years I have suggested clients to use "Content Protect" (which also owns “Net Nanny ) as their Internet Filter on their computers. This has been a great choice because Content Protect / Net Nanny protects the client with ...
1) A with a broad spectrum filter. This blocks large areas porn content
2) A specific URL site filter. This blocks specific sites and parts of specific sites.
3) A “Contextual Analysis" filter. This reads both the content and the pictures of a site to see if they contain any offensive material. This means it does not solely rely on a list of URL addresses, that are often outdated, for accountability.
4) A reporting system that can be set to daily, weekly or monthly reports. These reports to accountability partners and/or the program administrator reports both attempts to access porn that were blocked but also attempts to bypass the system. In addition the reports will allow the client to petition the administrator to over ride a blocked site so that can access appropriate information from a non porn site that has been flagged
5) An administrator to oversee the use of the program. The use of an outside administrator is crucial since it helps to take the pressure off family members from acting as the accountability partner or the codependent/controlling parent. The role and responsibility of the administrator is very simple, they ...
A) Oversee the program. Setting up accounts for each member of the family. Customizing each account to their specific needs for protection. This is extremely easy - it just requires the checking of boxes within the program.
B) Are the "Keepers of the Passwords" for the program and the individual accounts. The administrator has the master password which allows changes to the over all program and to the individual accounts. Master Passwords should be words not found in a dictionary, should include UPPER and lower case letters, numbers, at least one symbol ... !@#$%^&*+{}<>?~ and is hopefully at least 6 characters long. All Master Passwords need to be kept in a secure place.
C) Maintain the Site. Once the account is set up on each computer and the initial passwords are given to the administrator then the administrator is able to change the master password (so that only they know it) and is able administrate the entire program and it's individual accounts from a remote location - usually their own home.

If you wish to compare the Top Ten Internet Filters for 2018 go to...
Note: There is a lot of information and insights into the various kinds and types of internet filters at this site. It is worth checking out.

If you wish to purchase Net Nanny for Windows or for Mac computers use the links found at the Top Ten site... these prices tend to be a little less expensive.

Once you have purchased the internet filter be sure that you keep a record of ...
   The registration number.
   The email address associated with the account.
   The password to the account.
   The secret questions and their answers.

Other free options to buying or paying an annual subscription for filtering your computers, laptops, Ipads, Iphones and other cell phones are...

> For home computers (all OS systems) look into OPENDNS. It is a bit difficult to set up but YouTube has a number of videos that will walk you through the steps. This is a very powerful tool that has a number of great features that will help keep your home computers safe.

> Apple laptops, Ipads and Iphones can be a real pain. Most internet filtering companies do a very poor job with Apple products. Some people believe that Apple is almost anti-filtering. So what they have done it to provide their own (weak and less than perfect) programs. For Apple laptops (OS 10+) go to the "System Preferences" and go to the "Parental Controls". Similarly, with the IPhone and Ipad products go to the "Settings" and look for the parental controls. On all of these Apple programs it is a good idea to have a good friend type in the four digit code to lock your Apple product - that way you can't get back into the program and turn it off when you are not healthy. Again there are a number of YouTube videos to walk you through all the steps.

I hope that this has been helpful to you.

Ross Gunn III
Skyview Counseling LLC
Office / Cell: (360) 991-7700
Email: Help@SkyviewCounseling.com
Website: http://SkyviewCounseling.com
Mailing Address: PO Box 532605 Kihei HI 96753-9998

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