Affordable Christian Internet Filter and Accountability Providers
Why Do I Need a Filter and Accountability?
Nobody should use a personal computer, phone, or other device with Internet access that is not protected from the evils the world, the flesh, and the devil make easily available on the Internet. The companies below offer both Internet filtering and Internet accountability from a Christian perspective. That is, while I am in no position to affirm (or deny) that the employees of the companies are genuinely born again, they base their filtering from the Biblical premise that nobody should view pornography, nudity, sex, fornication, sodomy, or other abominations, rather than the worldly premise that only children should avoid such evils while adults can indulge in them. What is more, these companies do not just offer filtering but accountability. You can have every website you visit sent to one or more accountability partners (spouse, pastor, parent, discipler, etc.). That is, with this software it is as if other godly people were constantly looking over your shoulder seeing what you are looking at. Of course, God Himself is all-knowing and does indeed see it all. You need a filter and Internet accountability because:
1.) God warns that sexual temptation is extremely powerful. Listen to His warning about the “strange woman,” the heathen, pagan, or immoral lady, who has ruined the lives of innumerable godly men and has brought innumerable worldlings to hell: “Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:24-27). Is not an unfiltered computer one of the primary ways today that men go in the “paths” of the immoral woman and are cast down to hell by their own inflamed lusts through her?
2.) Scripture sets the positive pattern: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalm 101:3). Pornography is without doubt a wicked thing which you must resolve to never, ever set before your eyes. Holy Job said: “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Christ warned: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). The fearful connection of lustful looks with ungodly actions was manifested even in the godly king David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even this righteous king, after looking on the nakedness of his neighbor’s wife, committed physical adultery after spiritually committing the sin in his heart (2 Samuel 11). You should by no means think that you are stronger than King David.
3.) Christ’s model prayer includes the request: “ And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). You cannot honesty and sincerely ask God to not lead you into temptation if you refuse to protect yourself from being a few clicks away from an incredibly vast library of pornography. Furthermore, 2 Timothy 2:22 commands: “ Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Would you say that remaining a handful of seconds away from a bloodthirsty beast that wanted to pounce on you and devour you would be “fleeing” from it? Genesis 4:7, in the first instance of the word “sin” in Scripture, pictures sin as a bloodthirsty beast with a passionate desire to devour you. If you have an unfiltered, unaccountable computer or smartphone, you are constantly a handful of seconds away from incredible evil that can permanently ruin your life, your family, your testimony for the Lord, and can have immeasurable eternal consequences. You are simply and flatly disobeying the command to “flee” lust and “follow” after righteousness if you have an unfiltered device with Internet access. You are failing to be on guard and watch against that devouring beast of sin, remembering that your flesh is weak (Mark 14:38) and you are giving place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). God does not allow the believer to encounter a temptation that he cannot gain victory over by Christ’s enabling grace (1 Corinthians 10:13), but “the way to escape” is regularly to “flee” it, not to keep it around (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; Genesis 39:12). God commands concerning the way of the wicked: “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away” (Proverbs 4:15). If you have an unfiltered phone, the fact is that you are entering into temptation (Mark 14:38). Do not be surprised if you fall into it.
4.) The Lord Jesus also taught: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” (Matthew 18:6-8) It is better to significantly change your lifestyle than to cause one Christian to stumble into sin or one non-Christian to not embrace Christ and the gospel (1 Corinthians 8:13). If it would be better to have your body parts hacked off than to either sin yourself, lead one of your heavenly Father’s beloved children to sin, or lead one of your fellow men to eternal torment in hell by your bad example, how necessary it is for you to have a filtered computer and Internet accountability! Vast numbers of Christians have fallen into terrible sin, and vast numbers of unbelievers reject Christ and are eternally damned because their hard hearts are too in love with pornography and other sexual sin to repent and trust in that Savior who always delivers from both the penalty and power of sin when the lost come to Him to be justified by repentant faith alone. If you are one of the rare people who, by God’s utterly undeserved mercy, does not yourself fall into sin when you have unaccountable and unfiltered Internet access, you are certainly being a terrible example and are causing others to stumble. If having an unaccountable and unfiltered Internet meant that your right arm and left leg would be chopped off, would you spend a few dollars and get a clean Internet connection? Who would not? But it would be better for you to lose your limbs than to cause even one person to stumble by your bad example. Clearly, today is the day to make sure that you, your family, and everyone you are responsible to God for has clean, accountable, and filtered Internet access, or no Internet access at all.
5.) The Scriptural facts above validate the terrible power of Internet pornography to lead people into sin. Statistics compiled on the Covenant Eyes and X3 Watch websites validate the true warnings of God’s Word:
- Pornography makes up nearly 40% of the total content on the Internet
- One in eight online searches is for pornography
- Nearly 25% of Internet search queries are about pornography
- c. 25% of smartphone users admit to having pornography on their phone
- The majority of men who call themselves Christian (that is not to say that they are real, truly born-again Christians–find out how to become a real Christian by clicking here) say they watch pornography at least once a month
- c. 75% of pastors do not keep themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use
- 90% of boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
- 60% of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
- Over 50% of boys and over 30% of girls first viewed pornography before their teenage years (12 or younger).
- Over 70% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
- Nearly 30% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to pornography online.
- Over 80% of boys and the majority of girls have seen group sex online.
- Nearly 70% of boys and the majority of girls have seen homosexual acts online.
- c. 65% of college men spend time online for Internet sex every week.
- Nearly 70% of young adult men and c. 20% of young adult women view pornography at least once a week.
- Nearly 70% of young men and half of young women say that viewing pornography is not sinful.
- Politically liberal people are more likely to view pornography.
- Happily married men are over 60% less likely to look at pornography.
- Nearly 70% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new lover over the Internet.
- c. 55% of divorce cases involve one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.
- Adulterers are 218% more likely to look at pornography than those who have not broken their holy marriage vows.
There is an incredible power in the lust of the flesh. You underestimate its power to your ruin!
There are a number of solid options for a Christian who wants to honor God and avoid temptation on the Internet by having accountability partners and a filter. Two good ones are:
Covenant Eyes offers Internet accountability and filtering. Detailed, easy to understand, and customizable records of Internet usage with age-based content ratings can be sent weekly to an unlimited number of accountability partners. They also offer an Internet filter that is customizable for age-appropriate sites; attempts to bypass the filter are recorded on the accountability report. The filter can even make the Internet entirely inaccessible at certain hours, or restrict users to specific websites. It is highly customizable for appropriate levels of Internet access. On one’s computer (but not a phone, at least at this time) one can block out certain times of the day or night during which the Internet is not accessible at all. Of course, pornography is never appropriate for anyone of any age to view, so adults who want to honor God and avoid temptation can make sure that their accountability partner controls the settings on their browser so that wickedness is not accessible. They are a for-profit company with a background in Christendom, but they are not specifically Christian. They have a three-digit number of employees, and they affirm that their customer service and product quality reflects their dedicated team. A comparison of their services with competition such as X3 Watch, indicating why Covenant Eyes believes its product is the way to go, is available by clicking here. A flyer summarizing their services that could be useful to you, or to give to others who would be interested in filtering and accountability, can be downloaded by clicking here.
In addition to the software for one’s computer, Covenant Eyes offers protection for smartphones. For Apple iPhone, iPad, and related devices you download a filtered browser app. You can then also lock down Safari, the App Store, and whatever else offers unfiltered access to the Internet so that one cannot just avoid the filtered browser. For Android devices, the default browser is monitored, and other browsers, Google Play, etc. can be locked to minimize unmonitored browsing. Unfortunately, at this time Covenant Eyes does not offer a filter for Android phones–only accountability. Thus, X3 Watch has a definite advantage over Covenant Eyes for Android users (although Covenant Eyes is actively working on developing an Android product and hope to have one available in a few months). You can compare the services Covenant Eyes offers for computers, Apple, and Android phones by clicking here.
Covenant Eyes has quality phone support as well as e-mail and forum support, both within and outside of the USA. This is a definite advantage it has over X3 Watch, where it is not possible to just pick up a phone and speak to an agent. Covenant Eyes also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee. Also, if you, your family, or your organization use the coupon code FAITHSAVES and/or click on the banners for Covenant Eyes on this webpage, you get your first 30 days free! Their prices cover all devices for that person or group (in other words, you do not pay once for your desktop, once for your laptop, and once for your smartphone). Their prices are:
For one person: $12.49 for accountability & filtering. (One can get accountability on its own for $10.99/month, but the $12.49/month for both is definitely best).
For a family (mother and father) of any size with any number of children: $14.99 for accountability & filtering
A third attractive option for Covenant Eyes includes their option for group coverage for churches, businesses, and other organizations. The first person pays $12.49 for filtering and accountability, and each person after that, up to an unlimited number, pays $3.50. A church, business, or other organization could sign up and have a greatly reduced cost for their organization. For example, an organization with 10 users who have accountability & filtering pays only $43.99/month, or $4.39 per user. An organization with 50 users pays $183.99/month or only $3.68 a person. An organization with 100 users pays $358.99/month or a mere $3.59 per person. Our church is doing this, and I think it is a great idea. The way we think it is good to do it is:
1.) Make the Scriptural case for Internet accountability and filtering so the saints see the need, and explain what the options are for solutions. The flyer you can download here is a good resource in this regard that you could distribute in your congregation or other organization.
2.) Get a list of the individuals and/or family units that are interested in signing up. If a family is willing to use one username and all be on one account, that entire family will pay only a bit over $3.50 a month for protection. (I called Covenant Eyes and confirmed that this was OK). Of course, there are advantages for different family members having different accounts; if a bad site comes through on an accountability report, with only one account nobody can prove which one of the, say, seven kids it was, or mom, or dad. One can have individual accounts for individual people for a bit over $3.50 each to avoid that problem, with a maximum of the family price of $14.99 for any number of accounts per family. However, if a family is fine all being in one account, the charge is only the c. $3.50 / month, which is a fantastic price.
3.) Get it set up and get everyone protected! I think it is a very good idea to require everyone that is in a leadership ministry position to have the filtering, and very possibly to require the church to be one (not necessarily the only one) of the accountability partners listed. That will protect the pastors, deacons, Christian school teachers, Sunday School teachers, and so on from the incredible dangers of unfiltered and unaccountable Internet access. Wouldn’t you want to KNOW that your daughter’s Sunday School teacher wasn’t looking at pornography and doing who knows what else? If the $3.50 a month–the cost of about 1 gallon of milk or 1 gallon of gas–is a financial burden (and in the USA, this is difficult to take seriously–if it really is, then use the information here to cut your phone bill by way, way more than $3.50 / month), or if the church simply believes the God-honoring thing to do is to provide the service free to the pastor, missionaries sent out by or supported by your church, Christian school teachers, etc., then the church could pay the $3.50 / month for those individuals required to have the protection while everyone else chips in for the monthly rate.
4.) One other thing that is worth thinking about is having people in your church or other group pay in advance in 6 month or 1 year increments. It is not at all a burden to have people pay c. $21 for 6 months or c. $42 for a year in advance rather than going after a bunch of families every single month to get $3.50 from them. You could even have people set up recurring payments through Paypal or some other similar process if they want everything automated so that they don’t have to think about it.
I think that group coverage is a fantastic idea and I’m glad that we are doing it in our church. Perhaps you could do it in yours also. Isn’t it worth it so that one child doesn’t get lost to the world, one pastor or missionary doesn’t dishonor the precious name of Jesus Christ and is forced to leave the ministry, or one Christian school or Sunday School teacher doesn’t act on the wickedness he is secretly seeing online with a spiritually weak member of his class? (By the way, our church also conducts background checks for all Christian workers–if you don’t, perhaps today is the day to get started, both to be a good testimony to the world, and because wolves still slip in secretly to devour Christ’s flock. Let’s be wise as serpents as well as being harmless as doves.)
Finally, missionaries get $4 off the price of either individual, family, or group pricing (i. e., $8.49/month for individual, $10.99/month for family, and $4.00 off whatever size of a group price).
To get more information about Covenant Eyes or sign up as an individual, family, or group, click on the banner below. And don’t forget to use coupon code FAITHSAVES to get your first 30 days free!
Covenant Eyes also has books to help fight the temptation of pornography. They have, for example, a free e-book for parents to help their children resist this evil, a book on what pornography does to your brain, a book to help wives who have husbands involved in the sin of pornography, and a book for single people. (Click on the banner above, and then on “books,” to see these compositions and other related works.) While there is a lot of valuable material in these books, I do not endorse them 100%. They are kind of Christian-influenced, but are not specifically born-again, Biblical Christian books, much less separatist, independent Baptist books. They don’t even have a statement of faith, and if they did, it would be weaker than X3 Watch and would not have the affirmation of justification by faith alone and eternal security confessed by X3. One representative of Covenant Eyes I spoke to stated that Jewish Rabbis, Roman Catholic priests, and Protestants all agree with the content of their books, and that they all (allegedly) teach the same thing on this subject. Their two “Featured Speakers” on the subject of accountability and filtering are both Roman Catholics. Learn more about Biblical sanctification, arising out of the new birth and genuine conversion, about how to put sin (including pornography) to death by the decree of the Father, through the power of the resurrected Christ, and applied by the Holy Spirit, and about how God can produce supernatural spiritual growth in your life, by clicking here.
X3 Watch also offers inexpensive Internet accountability and filtering for computers and smartphones–essentially, all devices that have Internet access. Their basic package is only $6.99 a month or $64.99 a year ($5.41/month), and often if one clicks on their website and explores a little the website will offer an additional discount below that. These prices often make X3 cheaper than Covenant Eyes. Furthermore, X3 Watch also offers a program that provides Internet accountability (but no filtering) entirely free. I would recommend both the filtering and accountability for everyone. If you really cannot afford around $5 a month to protect yourself from the wickedness on the Internet, I doubt you can afford to own a computer, a smartphone, or pay for Internet access in the first place. You can get your electronic devices protected with X3 Watch for the price of going to a fast food place once a month. It goes without saying that the protection is far more important. For that matter, many people can save significantly more than the cost of either X3 Watch and Covenant Eyes by simply changing their cell phone carrier. (Find out how to get totally free cell phone service, service for c. $10 a month, or other low cost service by clicking here.) However, if you really want the free version of X3 that only has accountability but no filtering, you can sign up using the link here. It is very difficult to find the page to get the free version of X3 on the organization’s website because X3 wants you to sign up for the version you pay for that has filtering as well. They say that it is not about the money but about having filtering as well as accountability, and I believe that is indeed possible.
X3 Watch believes (naturally) that it offers a superior product to its competitors. You can click here for a chart comparing X3 to Covenant Eyes and others on PC and Mac Computers, click here for a comparison on Android devices, and here for a comparison on iOS. X3 Watch also claims it is a Christian ministry dedicated to helping people with the danger of pornography, not a profit-making business. The organization’s statement of faith is:
- The Bible is the Inerrant Word of God. The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God and without mistakes as originally written. It is the complete revelation of His will for salvation and the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; John 17:17)
- The Trinity. There is one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that these three are co-eternal and of equal dignity and power. (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14)
- Jesus Christ. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ; His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit; His virgin birth; His sinless life; His substitutionary death on a cross; His bodily resurrection; His ascension to the right hand of the Father; and His personal, imminent return. (John 1:1, 14, 18; Luke 1:35; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; Hebrews 1:3; 3:1; 7:23-25; I John 2:1-2)
- God is Sovereign. We believe all things in heaven and earth were created by God and exist by His power. (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17)
- We believe that man is justified by grace through faith apart from works. (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10). We believe that all true believers, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever. (Romans 8:1, 38-39; John 10:27-30)
This is a good statement, as far as it goes, although it is not very comprehensive and it is not very prominent on the X3 websites. I have not found a clear and convicting presentation of the gospel for the lost such as the one here or such as is found in the resources here on X3 Watch or its related websites, much less an exposure of false teaching and false gospels following the pattern of Christ (Matthew 24) and His Apostles (Acts 8; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 John 2:22). The organization does not fit the model of what Scripture teaches about a faithful church (see also here). Nor are careful Biblical studies of the doctrine of sanctification and the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in progressively eradicating indwelling sin and renewing the saints in holiness, because of the miraculous destruction of the dominion of sin through the new birth, especially easy to find. However, for Internet filtering and accountability, as well as material on dealing with pornography, X3 is definitely useful.
While X3 Watch is probably cheaper than Covenant Eyes for most people (for a significant exception, note the material below on signing up for Covenant Eyes as an organization), there are certain losses that come with the lower price tag. Prominent among these is the lack of phone support. With X3, you cannot just pick up the phone and speak to a human being if you have an issue setting up your filtering and accountability software. They do have support and Frequently Asked Questions pages with helpful videos and written material that users can navigate, pages which are definitely helpful, and one can communicate with X3 via e-mail. You can download their quick reference guide by clicking here. For significant numbers of users, paying a little more each month with Covenant Eyes is worth it because of the phone support and more reliable customer service. For a significant number of other users, these negatives are outweighed by the bottom line that X3 Watch simply costs less. To sign up for X3 filtering and accountability or to get more information about the paid version of X3 Watch, click here, or get the free version that only offers accountability but not filtering (and thus really is not sufficient but is far better than nothing) by clicking here.
Open DNS is another company that provides Internet protection. I do not have it and do not know that much about how it works, but I provide the table below for your comparison:
Note: I have had Internet accountability and filtering for years and praise God for it. I believe Covenant Eyes and X3 Watch provide quality services. I am an affiliate of Covenant Eyes. If you use the banners on this webpage or coupon codes for those two companies and sign up for their filtering and accountability services, I will receive financial compensation for helping you to protect you spiritually and eternally from the powerful temptations of your flesh, this evil world, and the devil. I do not get anything if you sign up for X3 Watch program or Open DNS. I can in good conscience say that there is nothing on this website that I would not have said were I not an affiliate of Covenant Eyes, and I believe that it is appropriate that we both benefit from the information I have put together for your betterment (1 Timothy 5:18). However, if you are bothered by the fact that I will be compensated if you use these banners to sign up, you can sign up on the webpage of either or both companies without clicking on these banners, and I will get nothing. If you choose to use the buttons on this webpage, I offer you my sincere thanks.