Accountability, whether in life or on the web, is more about prevention than it is about probation. Accountability is something to cherish because it makes us better humans – more respectful, more honest, more caring. Accountability has the special ability to take a perfectly fine person and – well, keep them as such. We don’t tie a bad dog to a short leash and call that accountability, but we set the rules for a good dog and teach them that there are consequences to breaking those rules – and we call that accountability.
I’ve always had a tendency toward procrastination – which is probably why I decided to become a writer. At least that seems to be a common thread I’ve found among my peers, so I assume it is a character trait that by process of evolution precludes an individual to becoming a scribe. A year ago last summer I was aware of a problem with our house – it lacked adequate insulation in the floors, and due to the fact that our only source of heat was a small freestanding gas stove, I feared that in the winter we could be at risk for freezing pipes. But, true to my nature, I decided that winter was a far distant idea, and it wasn’t likely that the temperatures would get cold enough for long enough to freeze under the house anyway.
Life went on merrily until one frigid morning I hopped in the shower – and life suddenly ceased being merry. I stood shivering in my bathtub staring at the faucet that I’d turned to full blast, but there was no water coming out. Not even a trickle. The wind seemed to whisper tauntingly as it swept by the window panes. I put heaters under the house, I wrapped pipes in blankets – I did all the things I knew how to do, but it was all to no avail. Finally, I had to call professionals in to try and save my pipes before I ended up with major problems. My lack of prevention cost me many times more than a few rolls of insulation and a handful of staples.
I imagine that most of us are familiar with the phrase “prevention is better than the cure.” I’m here to tell you that this rule doesn’t only apply to freezing pipes, but it relates brilliantly to web protection as well. You might not have a problem with visiting inappropriate internet sites, or perhaps you don’t have a problem wasting time on the internet, and I commend you if that’s the case. But, I also caution you – because the temptation of the web is always a click away, and just because you don’t have a problem now, doesn’t mean your eyes are bulletproof. It is better to install those safeguards now while there isn’t a problem rather than have to install the safeguards after a relationship has ended or a job is lost.
Accountability isn’t just about keeping tabs on someone that has messed up in the past – accountability is for everyone. You, me, the president, the pope – everyone should live a life that is accountable to someone else. Accountability protects us, it helps us, it guides us. If you’ve been wanting to install accountability software on your phone, but you’ve worried that your significant other might think you have a problem with the internet – show them this blog, help them understand that accountability isn’t spying on someone thats shown poor judgement in the past. Accountability is prevention.
I’ve never had a cavity – but, I still pay my dentist a visit twice a year. I’ve never been involved in an automobile accident – but you better believe the first thing I do when I get in a car is strap that seatbelt on. These are simple steps of prevention – even though I’ve had no history of problems in those areas. My work background includes some work in the insurance industry, and I learned that one of the easiest ways to lower premiums in insurance is to exercise good preventative measures. Prevention isn’t punishment for past behavior – it’s insurance against falling into the trap of poor behavior in the future.