Do you trust your kids? I mean implicitly trust them to never yield to a clear temptation? I did, and I’ve learned that to do so is foolishness. Children are going to be tempted. And they are going to sin. And sometimes, they are going to sin in ways you never expected.
A few nights ago, we noticed a data charge on our phone plan that was way above the expected amount. It was significant enough that we started poking around on our account page to figure out who was watching movies without plugging into wi-fi. It didn’t take us long to get to the bottom of the whole thing. While the child at fault definitely betrayed our trust (and won’t be getting their iPhone back for a very long time), thankfully it wasn’t as devastating as it could have been.
But we learned some significant truths in the process.
1. Your trusted child could be watching YouTube videos behind your back.
2. Even seemingly innocent YouTube videos can be addicting and lead to further temptations.
3. When a child asks you to install Covenant Eyes on their phone (or take other protective measures), you should listen. Ours asked. Multiple times. We kept putting it off because we were too busy, and we trusted the child. But it was a cry for help. And we ignored it.
4. It’s easy to install Covenant Eyes and you should do it the moment you open a new mobile device. Super easy. As in, it took me about five minutes once it became important enough to me that I sat down to figure it out.
At this point, you might be wondering what I’m talking about — this thing called Covenant Eyes. We’ve actually had Covenant Eyes installed on our computers for years — since the very first time one of us accidentally surfed into something inappropriate. It’s a two-pronged approach to protected internet use:
Accountability and Restrictions
Accountability comes in the form of an email sent to each accountability partner once each week. This email report details all of the internet use tracked during that week for a specific user. It shows you which sites were allowed and which ones were blocked. It shows you the peak times that person was on the internet, and the total times as well. (If you don’t want restrictions, you can just have this accountability part.)
With six children in the house we have always opted to have restrictions set up as well.
These restrictions can be set up differently for each computer user, and ours are. We have our younger children restricted more than our teens, and our teens restricted more than us parents. We have certain sites blocked for all users. YouTube and Pinterest are both on that list, and require a password override from the account guardian. I’m the only one who needs to use Pinterest (for business) and I am the account guardian so it works out well.
When my teenage daughter got her iPhone a few years ago, we also discovered that the Covenant Eyes software had finally been developed as an app to enable the same restrictions on mobile devices. So we added that functionality and installed it on every iPhone and iPod in this Apple-crazy house. And it stayed that way — all of us safe and sound and happy — for a couple years. Until we trusted too much.
Don’t trust your kids too much! It puts some of the blame back on you even though they are responsible for their own sin. Installing Covenant Eyes on every web-enabled device or computer in your home provides a much needed safety net for your family.