There are a lot of devices out there now with unlimited access to any and all websites, pictures or video. With the advent of iPhones, iPads, Droids, Netflix, Hulu, Xbox Live, etc..., there are a lot of ways your kids, or you, can access material that you might not want them to. Here are just a few ideas that might help you out.
Home Computer or Laptop.
There are a lot of reporting and blocking software out there that can help with filtering content. But Safe Eyes is probably the best and does both reporting AND filtering. One thing that’s really nice about it is that you can install it on up to three different computers with one account. So, you only have to buy one account for a year, and it’ll remain active on all three computers you install it on. This is handy for those of us that have a tower for our home computer and a laptop for when we need to hit the coffee shop.
There are many ways to setup Safe Eyes, from simply blocking categories (like adult content) all the way to blocking ALL sites except for those specified. You can even set it up to restrict the times that are available. This especially handy for kids that stay up way too freekin’ late. Lock that thing down so their internet shuts off at midnight and BAM, no more internet, time to go to bed.
A few things:
Administrator: If you’re setting this up for yourself, and you and your accountability partner decide to have each others administrator passwords...well, don’t do that. Any admin password can unlock an account for Safe Eyes, it doesn’t matter if it’s for that account or not. Pretty stupid huh? So, if you and a few other guys need Safe Eyes, you’ll have to find someone else who doesn’t need Safe Eyes to hold on to your admin passwords.
Safe Eyes Mobile: Do NOT use their mobile app for iPhone. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t actually prevent you from getting access to any site you want. It just sets the default Google Search filtering to moderate. But if you setup a google account you can change it so there is no filtering and totally get around this. So, pretty much worthless.
Now that we have access to video wherever we want with mobile devices, the ease of access is making temptation even harder for people who struggle with porn addiction or want to block their kids from accessing inappropriate content.
Turn off Safari and Install Apps
The best fix I’ve found is to turn off Safari and the ability to Install Apps. This blocks the ability to surf the web or install a different browser. That takes care of about %80 of it.
Uninstall Ad Supported Apps
However, there is something else to keep an eye on. Any app that is ad supported can have a built in browser, and therefore, unlimited access to the internet. To be safe, remove ALL ad supported apps.
Regular Apps with built in browsers
Unfortunately, there are a lot of apps that are not ad supported that have a built in app with unlimited access to the internet. Pandora, IMDb, Google Places are just to name a few. If you want to make sure no one gets too smart and starts looking for back doors to the web, you should check all the apps that are installed with Safari turned off, and see if you can get to the internet by clicking on links inside them. If there is a link to the internet that uses a built in browser, it is usually in the About or Contact Us section. This is especially true if there is a link to the websites for Facebook or Twitter. Please note that apps that offer the ability to “like” or “share” via Facebook are fine.
If you still want to be able to use the internet, there is a very good browser app called Mobicip that is similar to Safe Eyes. You can set Mobicip up and restrict it as much as you want.
(Again, if you are setting this up for yourself, make sure to have your accountability partner, friend, or wife setup the admin passwords for your iPhone and Mobicip).
Netflix offers a wide variety of very good and entertaining movies and shows and is getting to the point that we almost need it (almost). But...there are some movies that are pretty much soft core on there...and you don’t want your kids to “accidentally” stumble across those.
So, all you have to do is change the settings so that it only lets you watch things up to PG-13 movies and Rated T shows. This will make rated R moves and M shows off limits. It will also not let you watch unrated shows or movies.
This works not only for any computer you watch Netflix with, but also for any other device including your mobile device and game console.
(Again, if this is for you, hand over your Netflix password to your accountability partner)
Hulu has newer TV shows that you might want. But they also have movies and shows that you might not want your kids to see either. There are even some NC-17 movies in there...pretty much anything goes at that point.
Unfortunately, at this point, Hulu doesn’t offer the ability to set the access level of rated content like Netflix does. But, you can send them an email asking them to change the age of the user, thereby making rated M shows and R movies and unrated content unavailable. Of course this includes NC-17 movies as well.
(again, hand over your password to your accountability partner)
Talking and Prayer
All these solutions are filters for the media devices and video subscriptions that your child or you have access to in your home or on your and their mobile devices. But what about other ways of accessing adult media? Other peoples computers, RedBox or other movie rental places, or even the random gas stations with the adult magazine. There will always be temptations for you, or your child.
So what the hell do you do?
As for your kids, TALK TO THEM! Tell them how you feel about all this, tell them what you expect of their behavior and what you feel about adult content and WHY you don’t think it’s a good idea for them to see it.
And as for you? Get regular prayer and be honest and accountable on a regular basis with those you trust. If you’re in Duluth, take a look at the Vineyard Church’s Men’s ministry page.
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