Filter and Accountability Setup for Home Computers and Mobile Devices

Dec 12, 2022 | Filtering, Practical Advice and Research

Recently we received a request from a community member who successfully enjoyed Qustodio on their computer and home devices. Their experience with the filter on the iPhone was not the greatest –  ‘super glitchy and messing with our phones.’ Therefore, the Qustodio filter was deleted from the iPhone.

As with any filtering software, there are personal preferences and extensive setup tutorials available. Many users are satisfied with the platform, and we advise you to take the time to go over the proper setup procedures and reach out to your filter’s support team.

The following question was asked, “We are curious about which filter would be the best fit for us if we want both the (1) accountability tracking, as well as (2) thorough filtering options and (3) the ability to set time limits on certain sites/apps, and (4) we also want the filter to work for the whole device and social media… not just internet browsing. We just spent a bunch of time checking out each of the suggested filters, but didn’t see one that would do all of that. Would it be suggested then to use two filter companies at the same time in order to get it all?”

Many people are looking for the perfect and golden solution. Unfortunately, there are no products that cover all these bases, but that doesn’t mean you can’t layer your filtering. The basic filtering description is outlined in our White Paper on filtering.

Layering the filters means that a computer in the home has a filter, but also, the mobile device is covered in the home and outside the home.

 We have some recommendations for building this layering approach:

  1. Covenant Eyes is a great product for accountability. This platform can be installed Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. Please be aware of the limitations of Covenant Eyes on Apple products, and in order for it to be effective, you need to ensure their browser is being used. Setup tutorials to lock other browsers on your iPhone are available on the Covenant Eyes website
  2. Covenant Eyes is also a great product for device filtering. Its filtering capabilities can be found on its website. This platform does not provide reporting on which websites were visited, but will send regular emails to ‘accountability partners’ if suspicious activity is detected. A screen shot from these activities is shared, and communication between the users is recommended. This core feature makes Covenant Eyes a better platform for older teens, adults and couples, but not suitable for (smaller) children who need a more detailed reporting and filtering approach.
  3. To complete the layered filtering approach, implementing a DNS filter on your router is recommended. This network filtering will ensure any device connected to your WiFi is covered by filtered results. While not 100% effective, it goes a long way in preventing explicit material from getting into your home.  Popular DNS filters are:
  4. Parental controls on the phone are a great way to set up time limits and app availability per device or account. A few example tutorials are:
  5. For adult users, we suggest also setting up an app on your mobile device that tracks usage and blocks distraction. One example for Android is the StayFree-Stay Focused application. A password with an accountability partner can be added to limit time usage. For the IOs devices, you can use OffScreen – Less Screen Time. A day-to-day example: reading the news drags out to an hour per day, which bothers you, and you would like to cut this time shorter. With the above-mentioned apps, you can limit the time for the news website to 15 or 30 minutes.

As you can see, there is a staggering amount of options available to you.  Please be aware that there is no single filter that is 100% effective, so we continually insist you speak with your children about the dangers of the internet, be vigilant with the activities of your children in regard to the internet and continue to educate yourself on the uses thereof. For adults and couples, we encourage open dialogue around internet usage and valuable time spent on our devices.

We hope this helps in making some decisions.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns!