Issue 26 | August 7, 2015
SPECIAL EDITION: PART 5 OF 5
Note: This is the end of a five-part series on the important topic of talking about pornography and dealing with accountability with your students. If you missed any part of this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to have the full series sent to you, OR you can access it directly on our Culture Translator archive at axis.org/ct/archive/.
DEVICE ACCOUNTABILITY: ANDROID
Currently, the Android operating system is the most prevalent mobile OS and is preloaded on a wide variety of devices. Though the Covenant Eyes app for Android is unable to offer content filtering, it does offer accountability for pages visited on the stock browser, as well as on the following apps: Chrome, Chrome beta, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. A representative from Covenant Eyes recently told us that they will eventually release a version of Covenant Eyes that monitors all websites accessed on the device, regardless of which app is used, but as of now, the Android accountability function is restricted to the aforementioned apps. However, CE for Android does include an ability to disable any other browsers and apps with a passcode, as well as accountability for the amount of time spent on all apps, though no content reports for any apps not listed above.
There are other options available for Internet filtering on Android devices, but we still recommend the Covenant Eyes app for two reasons: 1. Because it is included with the highly beneficial desktop subscription; and 2. Because it offers as many or more features than other options. But whatever you decide to go with, we can’t stress enough that nothing will replace you and your ability to disciple your kids.
Clearly, devices pose a unique challenge. One of our main recommendations is to talk with your kids about their smartphone use. It could be argued, also, that doing all of this defeats the purpose of trusting your child with a smartphone in the first place, but that decision must be left up to you and the Holy Spirit, as every situation is unique. Please don’t think we’re saying that installing an accountability app on students’ phones exempts us from that responsibility.
CONCLUSION: AUTONOMY IS A PRIVILEGE
Throughout our extensive travels, we’ve met several families who have the following mentality: when it comes to Internet and smartphone use, autonomy is a privilege, not a right. For something like social media, many parents require that their children provide usernames and passwords to all social media accounts and that they also submit to a weekly cellphone check, where texts are read at random, web history checked, etc. If such practices are established on the front end, kids are less likely to complain about the “invasion of privacy,” because they will have no other reality with which to compare theirs.
Android accountability software is progressing (though it still has a way to go), but especially when it comes to Apple devices, no single app is versatile enough to notify you when porn appears on the phone screen regardless of the app used. This means that the level of accessibility available to your kids on smartphones should be determined by a previously demonstrated amount of trustworthiness. In addition, someone needs to be having regular accountability conversations with your teenagers, regardless of the devices they’re using to connect. Please, consider setting up mentors—outside voices to reinforce the kinds of principles you’re trying to instill—for each of your teenagers to meet with on a regular basis. Maybe this is someone from church who you trust and who your child would enjoy spending time with, not just to discuss topics like pornography, but because the spiritual benefits of such a relationship are often innumerable.
If it does become clear that your teen, or someone else you know, is struggling with porn addiction and wants help, consider recommending this excellent online recovery program called Fortify. It’s free for anyone under 20, and $39 for anyone older.
Again, pray incessantly that your kids develop a desire to be accountable for their online actions, because when God answers that prayer, it’s much easier to bring all of this to fruition. Remember that God is for you as a parent—He has given you the task of preparing your child to deal with the modern world, and whenever God gives us a task, we know He takes on the responsibility of making sure it can be done. And remember that you’re not alone. Many parents have walked or are still walking the path with you and have lots of wisdom to offer. Please don’t be afraid to talk to others about what your family is going through. God bless you in your work.
If you missed any part of this series, please email email@example.com requesting to have the full series sent to you, OR you can access it directly on our Culture Translator archive at axis.org/ct/archive/.
For your convenience, here is a full list of all the resources referenced in these articles:
- Covenant Eyes
- Doreen Dodgen Parenting/Technology Talk
- Psychology Today Porn/Divorce Article
- Rescue:Freedom Porn/Sex Trafficking video
- Fight the New Drug
- Online Integrity Blog
- Setting up iOS Parental Controls
- Setting up Android Parental Controls