Here's an understatement: the internet can be a tempting place.
Each of us is tempted in different ways. It may not be porn – you may spend too much time watching football, or visiting celebrity gossip sites to indulge in the latest scandals and vanities.
You have options for responding to these temptations:
Of course, neither internet filters nor accountability software will “cure” you from the lure of temptation. We don't stop pursuing sinful desires because of filters or software, but because God transforms our heart and gives us new, better desires.
But in your pursuit of holiness, these tools are an important weapon to add to your arsenal against temptations online.
Here are some helpful resources – particularly on the topic of sexual temptation.
Each of these tools are different – they operate on different platforms, do different things and help in different ways. If you've got questions, feel free to post them at the end of the article and I'll do my best to help you.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you sign-up/purchase the product after clicking on the link, I will get a small commission.
OK, here we go – in alphabetical order.
Accountable2You was started by a Christian, out of his desire to develop an accountability tool that didn't impact on internet speed or cause other problems.
Accountable2You works on:
There are plans for Individuals & Families, Churches & Groups, and Small Businesses.
“We do not show URLs (or at least we try not to) because we have found that it may tempt the partner to click on the link and now they have seen the objectionable material. So we do our best to only show the title of the webpage.”
I asked Accountable2You to explain what sets them apart. They responded:
“Our biggest difference in is our reporting. We provide a rich amount of usage on the device while also trying to protect the privacy of the user. Our users really like the detail of the reporting. The instant Text Alerts are also very helpful to alert the partners of any objectionable activity.”
Covenant Eyes tracks the websites you visits, and sends reports of these visits to your selected accountability partners. Covenant Eyes also provides a filter to restrict access to certain content.
Covenant Eyes works on:
Check out a detailed comparison of how Covenant Eyes works on each platform here.
There are plans for Individuals, Families and Groups.
Filtering can be added from an additional $1.50 per month.
To uninstall Covenant Eyes from a computer, an uninstall code is required. When the code is generated, the partners you selected are notified. Covenant Eyes also provides a ‘Panic Button' feature:
“When someone is struggling with temptation online, they can click our Panic Button to temporarily cut off Internet access. To reinstate the connection, call our Customer Support team for free assistance.”
The reports are comprehensive and customisable. This is an example of what is included in a report.
Covenant Eyes explains that they don't track any secure or password-protected information. But what happens with the list of websites that are stored and reported on?
“This information is sent to our servers, and then made available through the reports to authorized accountability partners. We will never disclose your information to any third party. The logs are kept on our secure servers for 30 days and then erased permanently.”
I asked Covenant Eyes to explain what sets them apart. They mentioned both their reporting and dynamic ratings, but also the ‘non-circumvent-ability':
“One of the primary concerns of Covenant Eyes from the beginning was to create a software that would be “air-tight” – something that couldn't be disabled, uninstalled, or otherwise circumvented. While it's impossible for any software to be completely “bullet-proof,” we have taken steps so even technically savvy computer users cannot disable Covenant Eyes without using the uninstall code.”
Ever Accountable works on:
There is a 14 day free trial, and discounts available for paying for a year in advance.
Ever Accountable explained that this is where there software shines, and they have worked hard to ensure that loopholes are closed:
“For instance on Android, we register the app as a device administrator so that the app cannot be uninstalled or disabled without it first alerting the accountability partners. Our monitoring is very broad, so that our app can see what is happening inside other apps like Facebook, YouTube, and even incognito mode.”
The reports include details of the websites visited, as well as the content viewed in apps. All content is reported on – not just content that may be suspect, although pornographic content is flagged at the top of each report. The report also contains a breakdown of the amount of time spent using each app.
Ever Accountable explains:
“Our system was built from the beginning with security in mind. For instance, we use https encryption to transfer user data, we encrypt user data at rest, and we select technologies that have reputations for high levels of security. More importantly, we set the goal for ourselves to become ISO 27000 certified. This is an internationally recognized certification that is often a requirement for banking and government organizations. Getting the certification is a long and laborious process which touches on almost every aspect of our systems, policies, and procedures. We're currently going through that process with a security firm. We believe the rigour is worth it because we care about our customer's data and take the protection of their data very seriously. We want to be held accountable too!”
I asked Ever Accountable to explain what sets them apart. They responded:
“Our first priority has always been that Ever Accountable should work great and be simple to use. The app should be easy to install, it should stay out of your way, it should have solid protection against circumvention, and the reports should be easy to read and understand. We believe this is why we have a 4.6 star rating in Google Play – the highest of any accountability app.”
Lion is an accountability browser for iOS that keeps a log of any explicit websites you visit. It then emails a list of those websites to a partner or partners of your choice.
Lion works on iOS.
Lion is free to download, and costs $9.99 to add accountability partners.
The accountability report provides each website URL, the date visited, and an optional “reason for flagging” field that tells which explicit keywords were found on the site.
“We do not store any data whatsoever on our end. In fact, we don’t even have a place to store anything even if we wanted to. All searches, browsing history, bookmarks, accountability partners, from the app stay on the user's phone. addresses, credit cards, emails and other things a user fills in all stay in they iPhone.”
I asked Lion to explain what sets them apart. They responded:
“Lion is different because it is a one-time fee of $9.99 [to add accountability partners], there are no subscription fees. In fact, we don’t even have a sign up screen. Everything is stored on the device, we do not store any data whatsoever on our end. This make it super easy to set up and gives people peace of mind as far as security goes.”
Router Limits uses a different approach to the tools listed above – it operates at the router level. This means any device in your home that accesses the internet via your router can be managed and reported on by Router Limits.
You need to purchase a router (starting at USD$99). The ongoing costs start at $0 (pornography filtering + 3-day browsing history are always free) to USD$15/month for the Premium service (which includes all features, plus expert support).
The browsing history can be sorted by group of devices, specific device, and type of visit (allowed, blocked, reviewed, suspicious). The history shows a time stamp for when the particular device attempted a request (whether they reached the site or were blocked), and information about why the request was handled the way it was (such as “it was blocked because this device was not allowed to visit gaming sites during the time block requested”).
What about the security of your information?
Router Limits explains:
“All user data we access (i.e. websites) is secure and protected by the latest security features in our server environment.”
I asked Router Limits to explain what sets them apart. They responded:
“There are a few products on the market that are either “porn filters” or “firewalls,” or ways to limit screen time. But nobody is as easy to use as ours, nobody is compatible with more systems and devices as ours, and nobody allows the level of micromanagement that ours does. You may not want to get that specific, but if you do, we can do it, including allowing only certain sites for certain devices at certain times. Very detailed and granular. We also include a way to *lock on* Google SafeSearch, Bing SafeSearch, and YouTube Restricted Mode, so that users cannot turn off those safety features on their devices.
X3 Watch allows you to block content, and sends accountability reports to up to 10 people.
X3 Watch works on:
I asked X3 Watch to explain what sets them apart. They didn't respond. However, a friend has been a part of their X3 Groups initiative and has found it very helpful.
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