Internet filters are usually the first line of defense people think about when trying to safeguard their computer from undesired sites.
The problem, however, is that despite the good intentions and sometimes good results, there are three very good reasons that you might want to consider accountability software instead of a filter - or, even better, accountability software in addition to a filter.
Note that accountability software refers to an app like Ever Accountable that runs on your devices and shares reports of your activity with another person.
The transparency is a strong motivator to avoid pornography, teaches good habits, and builds healthy relationships.
For example - watch this video from one of our active Ever Accountable users.
1. Filters Often Make Mistakes.
It is easy to believe that filters alone will protect you from pornography or any other myriad of ill suited sites, but the reality is that filters simply cannot catch every single vile picture or post from making its way onto the screen.
Filters can also inadvertently block clean content.
The reason is that most filters work by blocking domains, but not all domains are easy to categorize. For example, the domain "twitter.com" contains plenty of perfectly clean content, but also content that is not clean.
A filter can either block all of twitter.com or block none of it. Filtering technology is unable to get more specific than that! Either action the filter takes is guaranteed to be wrong for a whole lot of content.
However, accountability software just reports what is viewed.
It is pointless to try to "outsmart" accountability software - like people sometimes do with a filter - because your accountability partner will see this. Accountability software provides protection from going to the places that aren't strictly "porn" but that can still cause you trouble.
Accountability software puts the responsibility on YOU to make the right choice. YOU build up your own internal filter together with your accountability partner.
2. Filters Can Feel Like Force.
Internet filters can sometimes feel like they are trying to force a person to behave well instead of respecting a person's ability to choose right on their own. Force prevents a person from learning to make good decisions on their own. Filters can be a great extra line of defense, but alone they are not enough.
Accountability is something you choose because you want to do better.
Accountability builds our confidence that we are making good choices because we choose to, not because we're forced to. When we choose accountability we choose the good life.
I like how Thomas Monson put it: "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."
3. Filters Leave Us Alone.
Pornography isolates us.
Lies and secrecy are porn's common companions. Filters try to block the porn but they do nothing to heal the isolation. And if the filter ever fails, nobody is going to know as the temptation to look at porn skyrockets.
On the other hand, accountability connects us with another person. It opens up real conversations and real healing. And when Ever Accountable is uninstalled, it sends a notice immediately to your accountability partner - so they can reach out and have a conversation about it.
The wife of one of our customers said that her weekly report from Ever Accountable is like a love letter from her husband. It proves to her that he is honoring her and their children.
Filters may be a first step in our personal battles against pornography. Becoming accountable is where we really start to win.