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Hi all – it’s Christmas season and I have so much to be thankful for. I have a great family, wife, job and friends. What more could a guy ask for? I am so blessed by the Father. He is so good to me even though I don’t deserve it.  Grace is great!

I don’t think grace is cheap.  Cheap grace is thinking you can go on and sin knowing your sins are forgiven.  God forgive us for cheap grace.  It cost him so much and to us it is of little value sometimes…  sorry for the digression there.

 

covenant eyes review

Christmas time is a time of reflection on all the blessings our Lord has given to us.  All good things come from above!  We give gifts at Christmas time as a representation of what God gave to us in the form of his son Jesus.  The gift of eternal life through Jesus!  God loves us so much and doesn’t want us to go to hell.  He is also a God of justice and must punish sin.  Perfect love, perfect justice… that is what He is.  Jesus is the answer to the gap between our sin deserving punishment from his justice and the willingness that he doesn’t want us to go to hell.  Jesus was born sinless and lived sinless and then was sacrificed to pay the price for sinful man.  He is our atoning sacrifice to satisfy the justice God requires in punishing sin.  We need to accept that gift from God and we are then counted as righteous in the eye of God!  How great is that!!

Christmas presents are given as a symbol of the gift God gave to us in the form of His son Jesus.  When giving gifts this year, tech gifts are among the hottest things to give.  Protect your loved ones from internet filth by installing Covenant Eyes software on these gifts.  You want to bless them, not give them the opportunity to stumble.

I have a special relationship with Covenant Eyes, Inc.  They are the developers of accountability and filtering software for the internet.  This software is installed on any computer, phone or tablet and it will watch or filter the internet sites that are visited by the user.  Ron Dehaas the founder of Covenant Eyes, is a good christian family man who has a passion for protecting youth, family and marriages from the devastation of internet pornography.

If you click on this link and sign up for Covenant Eyes you will:

  • Get a limited time 60 days free trail (until December 19, 2014)
  • Support this ministry to fight against porn and help those ensnared in it (they send me a commission for signups)
  • Most importantly! – protect your loved ones from influence of internet p0rn

Once this offer is gone, you still will receive 30 days for free!  It’s Covenant Eyes belief that every man & woman should make a covenant with their eyes to not look upon the opposite sex with lust!

Join the thousands of other families who rely upon Covenant Eyes to keep their families free from the influence of our porn saturated culture!

Try Covenant Eyes – Click Here

Merry Christmas

Brian

Porn on the iPod – Check their device, protect their purity | Block iPod Porn

block porn on the ipod is a concern
porn on the ipod is a concern

Internet access in your hand

Block iPod Porn!

iPods are neat devices – They can play music, videos, games and many other things.  My 9 year old son received one for his birthday.  He loves to make zombie movies and chase the cat or dog around the house.  His favorite music on loaded onto it and he loves rocking out to tunes from Skillet and Kutless.

Just tonight, I was doing homework with him and grabbed his iPod to check out what apps he had and what else he was doing with it.   I went into Safari and found about 9 open windows – not unusual.  I also browsed his internet history.  I was a bit shocked.  It seems that he did a search today on ‘girls in bikinis’ and another on ‘naked girl pictures’.

Now, given my history I’m starting to think “Oh Lord, He is starting on this now”.   I was pleased to find that in his search for the naked pictures, he hit an Open DNS blocked site page.  Yea!  On the bikini girl search he only got as far as a mild photo in the google image essearch.  Great! I calmly asked him if he searched for that stuff and after some studdering and stammering, he said him and his friend did the search this afternoon.  I told him that he should stay away from those searches and internet sites.  He did not really see anything, so I don’t have to explain any images to him!

 

 

The next thing I did was install Covenant Eyes for iPhone & iPod.  We are big users and proponents of Covenant Eyes (you can read my covenant eyes review here).  It works by becoming the browser for the iPod when you lock out Safari. Please stay tuned for my upcoming full review of the covenant eyes app for iPhone & iPod. After securing his iPod, my wife and I need to discuss how and when I need to sit him down and talk a bit more in depth about sex and women.  He is only 9, but these days that may be the right time to get to them and give them a biblical view of sex.

 

 

What did I learn from this?  First off, I am glad Open DNS blocked the porn site that was supposed to load!  Second, I was not doing my parental job to secure his iPod sooner!  Even though it has been a month, I should have loaded the covenant eyes on there sooner.  If he had been subjected to viewing porn, I would only have myself to blame.  I don’t want him falling into the same traps I did as a young boy.  He has the potential to be a man of God with the correct view of sex and women, without the distorted view I had.

Thank God another crisis avoided!  You cannot tell me that we are not under attack in this society!  Read about our first attack and crisis avoided; when an 8 year old receives a Playboy offer in the mail.

Please leave comments below-  Have you had a similar experience?  When did you have the talk with your child?

Review of Covenant Eyes Android Accountability Software

Accountability Android

Covenant Eyes Android – Accountability has come to Android devices!

I have been a long time covenant eyes customer and have it installed on my home computers.  I am pleased with the way it works to with the filter and accountability.  In order to get the app for the android, you have to be a current PC installed customer. The app is free if you are an existing customer.

Covenant eyes has had their android accountability software out for a while and I have purposely waited to test it.  In all applications there is a period to work out the bugs and I didn’t want to download it until they were fixed.  Based on the reviews, it seemed to be working fine.

The download can be done straight from the Google Play application or from your PC when logged into Google Play.  Once installed you sign into the app using your established credentials.  When the application is running the only noticeable sign that it is doing anything is the ever present covenant eyes ‘all seeing eye’ in the upper left notifications area.

During my testing period I did not notice any slowness in phone response or any battery drain as some folks claimed to experience.  My phone was just as fast and battery life was just the same.  I am not a big user of my phone for surfing the web and apps as some people are, just in case it makes a difference.

A proper understanding of what this software does is the first step in any good test.  This software does not block any websites from being accessed; only records what sites are visited and ranks them according to the covenant eyes rating system.  Knowing this, I went to Google and performed a few searches using inappropriate terms.  Next, I opened up the apps that were on my phone and used them.  I also logged out of the application and then logged back in.

Next I logged into my covenant eyes dashboard to run a report.  I first ran the detailed report and was quick to pick out which searches and sites were visited on my android.  I think the only reason I quickly picked out these was because it was right there on the first page, plus there I knew what I was looking for.  An accountability partner may not have such an easy job using this report.  Covenant eyes detailed log

My next step was to run the accountability report.  Right away under the search terms section I noticed those that I had just put through the search engine.  These terms are grouped in with all the other terms that have been searched on for that time period, so there is no way to distinguish who did the searches or from what device (PC or computer) they came from.  I then paged down the report past the blocked sites section since this app does not block sites and came to the high ratings per site.  The high ratings section showed a site I quickly hit on my android.  The last section on the report is the android apps section.  This shows what app was used on your phone, the possible rating of the app and how much time spent on the app.  It logged how much time I spent texting, looking at mail, and reading the bible.

Covenant eyes accountability report

Here is my opinion of the covenant eyes accountability app for Android.  The application does what it should and records the sites, searches and apps used on your android device.  All the history is available in the accountability report for your partner to review.  This will work well if you have a covenant eyes account dedicated only to the person needing accountability for devices they solely use.  There is no way to tell from what device the log entries are coming from.  Covenant eyes needs to somehow get the info to log the device name and user account to go along with the site for the log.

My only reservation about this app is that it allows the user to log in and log out at will.  A user could log out of the app to surf at will then log back in later to register usage on the accountability report.  What should be done if they can’t implement the uninstall password would be to record every log out and log in time on the accountability report.  This would provide better assurance that the app was active and being used.

If you are searching for an accountability app for your android device this will do the job, but I don’t like the logging in and out without recording it.  Once this is fixed I can wholeheartedly endorse this app.

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Saavi Accountability Software Review

internet accountability software

Update:  Saavi Accountability was recently acquired by Covenant Eyes, Inc.  please refer to my review of Covenant eyes

 

Occasionally I will be asked to review a new tool for accountability, but mostly I find them on my own.  In this case, I was approached by the CEO of Saavi to take a look at their accountability software.  I was kind of hesitant to present another product to my readers, but now I feel it can’t hurt to let you know of another tool.

Accountability software is meant to record and report your online activity to an accountability partner.  Knowing that someone has access to your website visits, it helps you to stay away from whatever it is that you struggle with.  Saavi Accountability software can be set up to notify your accountability partner when you hit on a site that deals in Gambling, Games, Hate, Sexually Explicit, or Violence.  These are the general categories that will generate an email or text message to your partner.

Saavi software can also alert your accountability partner to certain applications such as file sharing, games or VOIP.  You can also set the software to catch keyword phrases if you have problems with vices such as drinking or drugs.

I installed the software on a laptop computer then configured the standards online.  I also input my cell number and email account for notification, but these will be assigned to your accountability partner.  Now it was time to test the software.

My first test was to go to Google to do a few searches.  My first search was for ‘porn’.  Within a minute I received a text message stating that the named computer had looked at google.com which contained the flagged keyword ‘porn’.  Wow, that was quick!  I also received an email right behind the text message.  To prevent any temptations, I limited the rest of my test to normal usage.

I checked my email, logged into this site, and did some internet searches.  I received 3 more text messages.  The software flagged pornography and porn.  I guess my own website can trigger an alert, but the good thing is you can see the context of which the word was found.  In my alerts, I saw that my email triggered the word and also this website.  Nothing to be concerned about here.

So I went back to Saavi’s online dashboard and looked at the reports.  The reports are top notch!  You see the email alerts and text alerts that were sent.  You can also see what videos were watched and what searches were performed and where.  If your computer has multiple users set up you can see which user watched the videos, did the searching or visited questionable sites.

One thing I must mention is that you need to configure the standards along with your accountability partner.  I found that the MSN homepage has the word ‘porn’ embedded in it somewhere and I would get an alert every time someone in my house hit the MSN homepage.  There is a simple fix to work out these types of bugs on the control panel by either rating the site safe or adding the site to your do not scan list.

In conclusion, I think Saavi Accountability software is very good if you want to be accountable for your internet activity in regards to pornography addiction.  The best part of the software is the instant alerts to your accountability partner to get instant help in time of temptation.  The reporting is simple and provides enough information to create discussions however often you and your partner get together.  The only sticky part of Saavi is working out the bugs like I had to with the MSN homepage, but that is minor all things considered.

I can whole heartily recommend Saavi Accountability Software because it simply works well.  You can purchase Saavi and download it instantly by going to SaaviAccountability.com.  Please mention Battleplan in the promotion code box to help support my website.  Thank you.

 Related Articles:

Review of Covenant Eyes Accountability Software

Covenant Eyes Review Accountability Filter Software

Covenant eyes software

 

Covenant Eyes Review – Accountability & internet filtering software

covenant eyes review

Covenant Eyes is a software package that loads on your computer similar to other accountability & filtering software.  Unlike X3Watch, Covenant Eyes is not free.  You will pay a monthly fee based on what services you use and how many accounts you need.

The number of user accounts you choose will depend on how you want to police the internet in your house.  I have one account on my computer and it automatically logs on when my computer starts up.  Under this one account, all computer users in my house will be subject to the same level of internet filtering and accountability reporting.  This works for me, but may not for you.  Sometimes the best approach is one account for the children and one for the adults.  If you have more than one account, each account will have a separate login to use the internet.

There are two main functions of covenant eyes: Internet filtering and Accountability.  You have the option to use filtering, accountability or both.

The filter will block pornographic and questionable websites.  You can set the level of the filter based on the user as long as you set up separate user accounts.  You may also specify websites to always block or always allow.  This is great if you like a stricter level of filter, but want to allow one or two sites that would normally be blocked at that filter level.  The filter also gives you the ability to allow a user to access the internet at certain times of the day and for a certain total amount of time.  This works especially well if you want to limit the total time spent on the internet or prevent late night internet surfing while they should be sleeping!

Get your FREE 30 Day Trial of Covenant Eyes.

The accountability part of the software will log all of you visited websites.  This report is available to both you and your accountability partner on the internet through covenant eyes’ website.  Covenant eyes scores each site you visit.  The scoring is done in real time and scans a web page before it loads.  A low scoring site means it is harmless, but a higher scoring site means you might want to take a look into what it is.  Your report will only list higher scoring sites to keep the report useful and to not alarm the user.  A summary at the top of the report will tell the user at a glance whether there was anything to be concerned about for the reporting period selected.  Your accountability report will also list any questionable searches performed.  If someone was inquiring about ‘bikini photos’ they would be listed on this report.

One unique feature of covenant eyes is the panic button.  The panic button is available for the user to click in case they are overcome with the urge to view pornography or something else on the internet.  The panic button will disable your internet and forbid any websites to load until you can call the Covenant eyes hotline and have them turn it back on.  This is a great feature that allows someone to calm down and come back down to reality before returning to the internet.  If temptation is too much for you to handle the panic button is there for you.

My overall feelings about covenant eyes are positive.  The only downside in my opinion is that pages take an extra second or two to load up, but when I consider the benefits and think back to the days of dial-up, I can accept this.  I really like the adjustability of the filter, the accountability reporting and the panic button.  I highly recommend paying the monthly fee for both filter and accountability services.  The accountability report is much better than X3Watch because of the ranking system and the fact that a complete log of sites can be reviewed.  The filtering is very flexible and allows you to police the use of the internet far easier than other ways.  I feel that my kids and I are protected well from obscenities.  The accountability report is an added layer of protection should my wife or I become tempted to visit a website we would not want the other to know about.

Get your FREE 30 Day Trial of Covenant Eyes.

 

 If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my email course on tips/tricks to optimize covenant eyes – See here

Disclosure statement – I whole heartedly recommend covenant eyes and if you sign up, I will receive a small commission.  These commissions help to support this website and all of it’s content & help it provides.  Thank you. 


Secure the Internet Access in Your Home; Protect your Kids from adult content

diagram of internet access in home

The internet access in your home is probably as typical as mine.  We have cable internet, and a wireless router.  There is one PC, a Nintendo Wii, two Apple iPods, and a laptop all sharing our internet here at home.

This article is not about protecting your internet from hackers, malware and other security breaches.  I want to show you how to protect your family from the internet predators of pornography and other adult content.

Please click on the above picture for a full-size view.

Access to the internet in this diagram comes 2 different ways:  Through hardwire from the router and via wireless from the router.

The computer is sitting next to the modem and router.  The modem brings in the internet signal from your cable provider and translates it into computer readable signals.  The modem then plugs into your router.  The router distributes the internet to the computer via a network plug.  This is a larger telephone looking plug from router to computer.  To protect the computer from adult content you have two options.

Use a DNS filtering service such as Open DNS.  A DNS filtering service will protect all devices on your internet connection whether wireless or hardwired.  Sounds good right?  There is a drawback to this, you will have to administer the whole network’s access as one user, meaning you cannot customize content based on age or users.  I did this in my house until I kept getting calls from my wife and daughter to unblock this site and that site. My wife’s allowable content is definitely different from what we allow my daughter to view.

The only other solution is to have filtering software and controls for each device and separate accounts for each user.  After much searching we went with Covenant Eyes Christian Internet Filter.  This filter installs on the PC, laptop and the iPods.  With a few different accounts – one for my wife and I and one for the kids, we can custom tailor internet content access! (use this covenant eyes coupon code to try it free for one month)

On the laptop and PC, the filter stands between all internet access and the browser.  You cannot access the internet aside from the filter.  That solved our problem with the PC and laptop, but we still have the iPods and Wii to protect.

On the iPod, you can install the covenant eyes web browser as you would any other application.  As long as you have a valid covenant eyes account to log in to.  However I still saw the Safari internet browser active!  All you do here is go to; Settings, General, Restrictions and slide the button for Safari to the off position.  Set your 4 digit password code and Safari will be disabled and the user can only use the covenant eyes browser.

Lastly, the Nintendo Wii has internet access capabilities (as well as other game consoles such as Xbox, PS3 and others).  You will need to either disable the wireless internet connectivity or password protect it with a 4 digit code.  This is the only way I was able to protect access on the Wii.

You could if you have the patience to figure out the right mix of DNS filtering along with device based software, you could have a very secure internet against adult content.

If you have any comments or suggestions of how to improve your internet connection filtering, please leave a comment below.

Using Free Accountability Software – X3Watch review

X3 Watch software

I have seen the ads for the free accountability software called X3watch for a while, but never tried it out since we have been using other software.  Just recently, we bought a new computer, switched internet service and dropped our old internet filtering service.  This presented the perfect opportunity to try out some new software and X3watch was one of a few at the top of the list.

X3 Watch software

I visited xxxchurch.com and downloaded the software very quickly.  Installation was very fast as well.  The only required actions upon install are to name the computer you are monitoring and to give two email addresses for the reports.  That is it.

 

Give a little thought first before inputting the email addresses.  The first email address should be yours so that you can review the same report as your accountability partner.  The second email address will be your accountability partner.  You both will receive an email confirming that reports will be forthcoming at either 2 or 4 week intervals.

 

I input my own email address and then my wife’s email address.  My email is private to myself and my wife’s is private to herself.  I cannot delete the email from her inbox or vice versa.  We can both keep tabs on that computer for our children’s usage and each other’s usage.  This keeps the whole family accountable.  Consider the situation you have and in what way you can maintain the integrity of the accountability.

 

After two weeks, the report showed up in my email inbox with the subject: X3watch – Accountability report.  This report will only show you sites that are possibly questionable.

 

My report listed only six sites as questionable.  None of the sites on my report were pornography related, except for the abattleplan website.  It listed a Barbie website and some of it’s subdomains along with a facebook subdomain as questionable.  The software did correctly identify this website, but the others were wrongly tagged.

 

Pros

  • Free
  • It is better than not having any accountability software
  • Unnoticeably runs in the background

Cons

  • Questionable sites on the report require you to either know what they are or click on the link to review them.  You could expose yourself to pornography while checking sites.
  •  There is concern in the criteria for flagging a website as questionable.
  • Since the software resides on your computer, it could be circumvented by savvy users.

X3Watch accountability software is a basic no frills way to establish internet accountability, however it lacks some very important features to make it totally effective.  The reporting leaves much to be desired.  Unless the questionable website has an obviously pornographic title, you need to click the link to review the site.  Also, the way a site makes the questionable list makes me wonder how well it works.  If Barbie and Facebook make the questionable list will the software flag these harmless sites and ignore some pornographic sites?  The software sits on your computer and therefore can be circumvented easily by a savvy computer user.  Your teen would figure out a way around this.

 

The bottom line is if you need accountability, this may work for you.  You could use this along with Open DNS to get the full suite of accountability and internet filtering.  If you are very serious about protecting your and your family’s purity or if you want to really quit using pornography, you should spend some money on better software.  The lack of site logging, possible circumvention and the sketchy reporting leave a lot of holes available for the addict to take advantage of.

Also see: Covenant Eyes Review

Is Free Internet Filtering Software any Good? – OpenDNS Review

open dns review

OpenDNS Review – filter your entire network

When you see ads for free internet filtering software you are skeptical as I am.  What is the catch? Am I downloading spyware?

I have been using Open DNS now for about six months and have decided to let you know about my experience with it.  Let’s first look at what Open DNS is and how it works.

Open DNS is an online filtering service and nothing is installed on your computer.  You will not experience any difference in your internet speed.  Open DNS works by editing a few settings in your modem or router.

Your modem or router contains internet settings that you can access through your internet browser by typing in the IP address.  Your modem or router will have a sticker on it that says: IP address 192.08.01.1 or something similar.  You type this into the address bar and you can alter your settings.  Within these settings are your DNS settings.  You will modify these DNS settings to those supplied by Open DNS.

Your DNS settings or domain name server settings link to a server which returns a website every time you type in a website name.  When you want to go to Ebay, you type in Ebay.com and the request is sent to the DNS which translates that request into the IP address of Ebay which could be 192.08.01.1.  DNS servers allow you to use domain names instead of IP addresses to access websites.   You can see how much easier it is to remember names instead of number sequences for websites.

Open DNS takes your website request and returns either the website, or a blocked domain page based on the content filter level you choose.  Your website request is checked against a database of domains that are categorized by content.  There are over 50 Content categories which include: pornography, Adware, drugs, gambling, nudity, and much more.  You can choose filtering levels that are predefined or make a custom level where you choose which content categories to block.  All of your filter settings and reporting are done online through the Open DNS dashboard.

Block Websites by Category

 

Open DNS also logs all the internet sites that are accessed or were attempted to access.  This is all stored online so there are no logs to delete on your computer by someone who is trying to erase their tracks.  You can quickly see if anyone tried accessing anything that you have blocked by category.

Your Websites Visted Log

Your Websites Visted Log

We use Open DNS on our home network.  My home network consists of three desktops and occasionally a laptop.  All the computers that access the internet in my home are subject to the Open DNS filter because my DNS settings are made through my router.

I have been very satisfied with this free internet filtering service.  I use the free service which stores two weeks in your log and does everything I want it to do to keep the filth off my computers.  Most of my blocked websites deal with Adware or Phishing threats according to my log.  I also get to see what sites my family has visited without looking at each computer’s browser history.

Here are the advantages and uses for Open DNS:

  • It is Free
  • It doesn’t run on your computer to slow it down or uninstall it by others
  • You can create a custom filtering list to filter what you don’t want on your computers
  • The online log will show you all the domains visited by any computer on your network and cannot be erased or hidden locally.
  • You can block image searches in Yahoo & Google.  Pornography is rampant in the image searches.
  • Do you suspect your husband or teen is accessing pornography but you can’t prove it?  Use Open DNS and password protect your modem or router settings.  This way they cannot turn off the filtering from the Open DNS dashboard or temporarily change the DNS server settings to view Pornography.

The disadvantages and weaknesses of Open DNS:

  • It is not accountability software.  Accountability software reports your website access to your accountability partner.  This is set up by you and you will hold the passwords to control the content and is easily disabled by you.  Unless you give the router & Open DNS passwords to someone else to control, it will not keep you accountable.  Use this along with accountability software.
  • Be sure to password protect your modem or router.  If your router settings are not protected, someone who is a bit tech savvy will be able to get around this filter.
  • This does not block video searches in Google or Yahoo.  There may be another category such as video sharing that takes care of this, but pay attention to your logs.

 

Bottom line:  This filter is a great alternative to software you have to pay for.  In fact, I think this is better than most of the paid software.  This is the first line of defense to protecting you and your family from internet pornography.  You need to be vigilant by checking the site logs and using accountability software as well.  We are ultimately responsible for keeping our family and ourselves pure online.