If you’ve been following my Cyber Safety for Kids series, hopefully by now you are convinced you need to protect your kids from pornography on the internet.
Perhaps you’ve even taken the step of installing Open DNS to somewhat protect your internet-connected devices at home.
But what are you going to do about protecting your kids when they’re not at home?
I’ll admit, that question plagued me for quite some time. The truth is, there is no way to protect your kids from pornography 100% of the time.
But there are steps you can take to protect them most of the time.
After researching several different options, we settled on purchasing a family account at Covenant Eyes. Hopefully this Covenant Eyes review will help you decide whether Covenant Eyes is right for your family.
About Covenant Eyes
Covenant Eyes is mostly an accountability software. It can be installed on almost all internet connected devices. Once installed, Covenant Eyes monitors the device’s internet usage and emails a report to the accountability partner of the person who uses the device.
For instance, if my son is using his cell phone while he’s signed into Covenant Eyes, and he visits a porn site, Covenant Eyes will send me (his accountability partner) an email, letting me know what link he visited. That gives me the opportunity to talk with him about it.
Covenant Eyes also has a filtering component, meaning you can actually block pornographic content from the account (child) you choose to protect with a filter. The filter also allows you to control how much time your kids spend online.
For a family, Covenant Eyes costs just $13.99 a month.
My Covenant Eyes Review
Our family has been using Covenant Eyes for about a month now, and we love it! It was easy to install, though a little time consuming, as we have a lot of devices.
When you set up your account, you pick a username and password for each family member. You also pick a sensitivity level for the reports (child, youth, teen, mature teen, mature). A report will be generated if your child visits a site above their set sensitivity level.
To uninstall Covenant Eyes from any device, you need an uninstall code. Family members who are restricted (usually the kids), cannot make changes to their accounts or generate an uninstall code. So it’s very difficult to get around Covenant Eyes while browsing the internet.
Using Covenant Eyes
Since each person in our family signed into Covenant Eyes, we really haven’t noticed it running in the background. We chose to just use the accountability aspect of Covenant Eyes.
I want to teach my kids to learn to use self-control on the internet. I want them to learn to say no to certain websites instead of having a filter say no for them.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have Open DNS installed on our home router, so we do have some basic filtering in place. But my older kids are old enough to learn some self control in this area.
My youngest doesn’t use the internet yet. I will probably add filtering to her Covenant Eyes username when she begins.
If I had a kid who had a known struggle with porn, I’d absolutely use an internet filter with that child, too.
Covenant Eyes Reports
The reports are what I really love about Covenant Eyes.
When we set up our accounts, we opted that my husband and I would each receive our kids’ reports and that we would each receive each other’s reports.
Each week (you can change the frequency), I receive an email for my husband and my three kids. The subject of the email tells me whether the report looks good or whether review is needed. I don’t even need to open the good reports! That’s a bonus for this mom, who is overwhelmed with the amount of email she gets!
When I do choose to open the email, or if the email says review is needed, I find the following:
- Web searches above my child’s sensitivity level. (Mature, Teen, Child, etc).
- Sites with high ratings.
- Activity rated teen and above (for those with sensitivity levels below “teen”).
- Average hourly internet usage – nice for knowing when my teen was online in the middle of the night.
- Site report – a list of sites my child has visited.
- A list of all the apps my child has used on his Android phone and for how long. Also, it lists when the apps were installed.
I feel a lot better, knowing where my kids are spending their time online.
I’ve also found that I’m more careful online, knowing that my husband sees my activity. I didn’t visit any bad sites before, but I’m more aware now. For instance, I gave my husband a head’s up that I was doing a lot of searches for internet pornography as I was researching this series.
Sure enough, the searches came up on my report, and my husband could verify that the sites I visited were merely information sites.
Since we don’t use the filter, I can’t comment on how well it works, but we’ve been very pleased with the Covenant Eyes Accountability Software.
The Nitty Gritty on Covenant Eyes
The Pros of Covenant Eyes:
- $13.99 a month covers all family members and all devices.
- Once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything.
- Users must sign in to access the internet on a Covenant Eyes protected device.
- The reports are comprehensive.
- Covenant Eyes reports make it easy to discuss internet activity with children.
- Accountability software helps kids learn how to set their own limits online.
- Panic button allows you to lock down the internet for a period of time if you’re tempted to view something inappropriate.
The Cons of Covenant Eyes:
- Covenant Eyes isn’t available for the Chromebook (in all fairness, not much of any internet protection is available for the Chromebook).
- Filtering is not available on Android devices.
My Overall Opinion of Covenant Eyes:
I’ve tried a few free internet filters in the past, but Covenant Eyes is the best internet protection I’ve used to date. Being able to see what my kids are doing online gives me peace of mind. And since you can’t access the internet without signing in on a Covenant Eyes protected device, I feel pretty secure that I’m on top of my kids’ internet habits.
So far I’ve had some pretty good discussions with my twelve year old about the sites he visits. Covenant Eyes has not only set up internet accountability for my family, but opened the doors of communication about the internet, too.
If you’re looking for some sort of internet accountability for your kids, Covenant Eyes is a great choice! You can try it out here.
Read the rest of the series:
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