Filters to limit children's access to the internet or help if you struggle with internet pornography
I'm often asked about good computer filters, so I thought I'd write a bit here to help you get started with some basic information. For parents, these programs can be very helpful to limit your child's access to certain sites on the internet. For sex addicts or those who struggle with pornography, setting up filters and accountability software is a vital component of successful recovery.
There are two basic types of programs - Internet filters and accountability programs. So what is the difference between filters and accountability programs? Simply put, internet filters block or limit access to internet sites while accountability programs provide a record of what the user has accessed to a designated third party. These programs can vary a great deal in the amount of content filtered on the internet or the amount of information reported to an accountability partner. For example, some mobile accountability programs have the capability to monitor the user's location via GPS, emails, texts, internet use, etc. Typically, accountability programs will email a summary of what the individual has looked at to an accountability partner or parent, including previously flagged types or levels of information accessed (e.g., pornography). Similarly, filters can be programmed to block certain types of content while allowing other content to be accessed.
Most accountability software and filters work well on PCs and Macs. These programs have also been adapted for phones and tablets. Programs can be downloaded as applications for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Android-based devices. Unfortunately, there are no great programs for Blackberry devices, but I will list a few that I have tried.
Here are some different programs that can help you get started:
K-9 - this is a free program that works on Macs, PCs, and i-devices (iPhones, iPads, iPods)
netnany - A low cost program that works for PCs, Macs, and Android devices
bsecure - Another low cost program that works on PCs and i-devices
Cyberpatrol - Another program that works on PCs
OpenDNS - This program filters the home router, so all connected devices are filtered. Free and paid versions available
x3watch - This has a free version and a paid version, and works on Macs, PCs, i-devices, and Android devices. x3 watch also has a basic filter
Combination of Internet Filter and Accountability:
While many of the programs above do provide accountability reports, the following programs not only work well as filters but also have excellent features for accountability to others:
Covenant Eyes - A moderately priced program that has excellent accountability features and adds filters for PCs, Macs, i-devices, and Android devices
Safe Eyes - A low-cost program that filters and provides accountability for PCs, Macs, and i-devices
Mobicip - An inexpensive program that works on PCs, i-devices, Android devices, and systems that operate on Linux
Programs for Blackberry:
Again, I haven't found any great programs for Blackberry yet, but these programs do work on most Blackberry devices:
Mobile-spy - A moderately priced program that provides accountability on email, text, phone, GPS, video, and other data. This program does not work with every device
Stealth Genie - A similar program to the one above that works for more devices
I hope this helps give you a basic overview of some of the internet filters and accountability programs out there and how they can help you keep your kids safe or help you manage compulsive sexual behavior. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have other programs you have tried that have not been included. I would be happy to add more good programs to the list.