The internet is a great tool for accomplishing a lot in our technologically advanced society. Yet with a single click it can easily bring temptation to the believer. Many people find that overcoming sin and temptation on the internet is virtually impossible on their own. Now you can develop the discipline to guard your heart and integrity using a website called Covenant Eyes (CE) and developing accountability with others.
The CE program gives you the tools to remove the secrecy and privacy of using the internet and promotes self-control and personal discipline. You begin agreeing with another brother or two to hold each other accountable for your internet usage. Then each of you downloads a program from CovenantEyes.com. Once installed on your computer, it will track your web surfing and send a periodic report to your accountability partner(s).
The report will include a list of sites you have visited, how many times you visited them and it will highlight those sites which are questionable. It will even inform your accountability partners how much time you spend on the internet and which sites you spend the most time at. And if you attempt to disable the program, your partner will find out immediately! Doing a system restore (on PCs) is identified as well. For the average internet user, it is virtually foolproof, so that during weak times you will not be able to circumvent the accountability.
Can you alter the records?
The CE program is an independently operated ministry maintained on computers in Michigan—therefore, the history of sites visited by the member can not be erased or changed (though they can be viewed confidentially over the internet by the user or accountability partners).
Why not just use a filter?
CE is not a filter, so it does not actually block you from entering any website, but it informs your accountability partner of your internet activities. Filters can impose some undue restrictions on the user. In addition, counselors have found that imposing these kind of restrictions on a person are not helpful in developing self-control.
Filters can also be turned off or bypassed by the one who installed or activated them, rendering them ineffective during times of weakness. CE helps you develop self-discipline and accountability. (There are times when a filter used in conjunction with CE may be helpful for families—see later.)
Are there ways to fool the CE program?
At times your resolve may be low and temptation may be high. Once installed, CE is highly tamper-resistant. Attempts to modify or manually delete the program will render the internet inaccessible to your computer.
What about multiple computers?
You can set up one account to work with multiple computers in your home. Activities on all the computers will show up on the report. Or you can set up multiple accounts, each with separate reports generated.
Listen to what some users have said:
“Let me tell you how pleased I am with this software. It really captures the essence of how internet responsibility should rest—not with an external control that can be deactivated, but within the heart of the user. A very cool setup.” – Dale, network administrator, Bible College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“I tried everything from expensive software to inexpensive proxy programs . . . nothing worked. Filters seem to become a challenge, a sort of mental game that is there to be beaten—and many men do beat them. It wasn’t until I became a member of Covenant Eyes that my addiction began to disappear. As a matter of fact, I have not seen ANY internet pornography since I installed the program several months ago. I praise God for Covenant Eyes and your organization!” – Anonymous
“When you know that your accountability partner is going to see where you’ve been surfing, it has a way of sucking the life out of temptation. And it’s amazing how this service has positively affected other areas of my life too.” – Rob, editor, New Man magazine
How can I get started?
- Decide on one or two accountability partners, men you can trust and who can hold confidence.
- Enlist a group of men to get involved. This also adds an extra layer of accountability by letting others know you are committed to purity and integrity on the internet. The camaraderie of many will help you stay strong and encourage others to join. (Note: only your selected accountability partners will see the report of sites you visit).
- Sign up at www.covenanteyes.com. There is a small monthly fee, but the investment in your purity and integrity is well worth the money! See the CE website for details.
- There is no cost to your accountability partner to receive the reports.
When a filter is necessary
As mentioned above, CE does not block access to any site. When you accidentally access an undesirable site, you will have to explain to your accountability partners—the net effect is that you will tend to stay far away from sites that might post links to questionable things.
If children are using the same computer as you do, there may be the occasion where an undesirable site is encountered. While this will be recorded on the accountability report, your children will still have been exposed to the site. In cases like this, we recommend using a filter in conjunction with CE. With very young children, the built-in filters of MS Windows or Apple software may do the trick. With computer-savvy adolescents, you may consider a “server-side” filtering service. The CE website has recommendations for filters that work well with the CE program.
Other helpful ideas to consider:
- Keep your computer in an open area of the home such as the family room, if possible.
- Situate your computer so the screen faces the doorway of the room. This is a good idea at your workplace as well.
- Limit the time your children spend on the internet.
- Avoid using the internet late at night when no one else is awake or at times when no one else is at home.
- Memorize Philippians 4:8.
Our prayer is that every man, especially Christian leaders, would take steps to guard their hearts and eyes while on the internet.