So you’re thinking that not everything you can see or find online is suitable for your children (or even yourself)? Well, you’re right. Thoughts like how to block certain websites (if you know them) or how to keep your family away from all that nasty content you can find online probably crossed your mind. We don’t blame you, we’ve been there and that’s why we took Covenant Eyes for a test run. Below we talked about our experience with it and what we think about the software.
I had some problems downloading and installing the software, but in order to skip them you can use this guide from their forum. There are some known problems with Chrome, as it identifies the installation file as infected, but unfortunately we encountered the same problem with Firefox. The guide above will help you get through these steps faster and save yourself some time.
Setting it up
Things get better here. After the daunting challenge of installing the software, I wasn’t really looking forward to setting it up, I was too afraid. But this is like entering the highway and reaching the cruising speed. The menu on the website is pretty simple and it lets you control every aspect of your account with only 7 buttons.
Here’s what you have to do in order to set a filter:
- Click on Filter Settings
- You’ll get a list of users – your family members, for example
- Click Edit Settings for the desired user
- Select the appropriate level for the sensitivity filter
I selected Teen and had no problems so I guess I’m surfing just like a teenager (or more like a youth). Once the setup was complete, I was able to go back to doing my usual stuff without any problems. So yeah, it’s safe to say that you can do your job without this disrupting you.
I have to admit that I put it to the test a little bit, by trying to access pornographic material, but it blocked it. And not only that it blocked the content at Teen level, it blocked at Mature also – I actually had to go and add the website as an exception in order to open it. This would be great if you’re thinking about using internet accountability software for your employees because it automatically blocks porn so you could just go and add another 3-5 websites to the blacklist and you’re done. You know you’re safe and they still have access to 95% of the information online.
You also have the feature of blocking the internet connection for one of the users – for example, if you’re not home on Monday morning and your kid has homework, you can block his internet connection. Once you’re back home and the homework is done, you can remove the restriction. Or you can use this on your employees, if there’s a backlog, you can temporary restrict their internet access until everything is back to normal (I know it sounds like a punishment, but it also acts as an incentive because they will want access).
The bad news is that a kid or an employee is creative, if they want to see nasty stuff, they’ll do whatever they can. So I got creative: opened Google and typed porn. The sites were blocked, I couldn’t open them, but the images were all there…so maybe they should look for a solution for this also.
It’s good that the software cannot be uninstalled without the administrator’s permission – it will ask you for a code which is generated on the website and if you don’t have it, the uninstall will not go further. Talking about creative ways to avoid the restrictions! Luckily for your, Covenant Eyes comes prepared for this situation and the users will not be able to avoid your restrictions – to be honest, I couldn’t find any way to get past them, expect the part with Google search which is something they could include in a future update.
But there’s good news also – you know how every child has a smartphone? Well, you can actually install Covenant Eyes App on either an Android or iOS device. After you install the app, you just have to setup the user from the website. The only problem is that it doesn’t track the phone’s browser, it only tracks its own browser (it has one incorporated) so don’t forget to delete the other ones. At least you can receive a report on your e-mail regarding the content accessed from the mobile phones, so you’ll know if there’s something suspicious happening.
I have to admit that I was impressed with the software. In under an hour I forgot that I have it installed and running in the background and I could just keep on doing what I’m always doing. It’s nice to know that you can enjoy your day while the others are blocked from nasty content all over the internet. There may be one or two websites that will be blocked for no reason, but you can add them on the exceptions list.
On the other hand, for about 30 minutes, Covenant Eyes went crazy. I was working with DropBox and it was continuously blocking DropBox content (I was able to access it, just that it was giving me a notice that it blocked something, God knows what). Also, in the Youth level, social networks are not included and I’m not sure that this is correct – come on, everybody has Facebook.
Another thing I didn’t like is that you can’t access anything if you’re not logged in – basically the software keeps the internet gates closed until you identify yourself. And I also got the feeling that everything was loading slower than usual, probably because it has to be filtered before being displayed.
But overall, once you get past the quest of downloading it, Covenant Eyes is really worth it and it may really be the best accountability software out there. The platform is easy to use and once you get the hang of it you’ll forget it’s even there. The fees are similar to the ones from the competition, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your family away from bad websites.
Even if you choose to go with Covenant Eyes or not, the protection of your family is very important. These software are very well created and easy to use so if you’re looking to keep the bad, nasty websites away from your children, don’t be afraid to use one of them!
Let us know if you are using these and how’s that working out for you!