WHS 47 – Mobile Internet Filtering and Accountability: Covenant Eyes Mobile – The Wired Homeschool

Before I begin my review of Covenant Eyes I want to be very clear: I am a Covenant Eyes affiliate. I’m an affiliate because I believe they have a great product. However, my relationship with Covenant Eyes in no way will prevent me from speaking truthfully about their product.

I’ve written a lot about Covenant Eyes in the past, mostly on my old blog/podcast Jesus Geek. I’m a big advocate for their software so it will be difficult for me to control my enthusiasm.

But before I get into the full review, I’d like to mention a sponsor of the podcast: Scholaric. Scholaric is the simplest homeschool record keeping system I’ve ever seen. Fewer settings. No unnecessary features and highly customizable.  You can start by adding 1 student and course the start planning.  It even works on your iPad.  That’s right!  Don’t believe me?  Check it out today and get a 3 month free trial. When you go to the site click on the button for the 15 day free trial and you’ll receive 3 months free. That’s scholaric.com/wiredhs2012. With Scholaric simple homeschool record keeping is just a click away!

What is Covenant Eyes Mobile?

Let’s start with the basics.  Covenant Eyes is a browser that records your browsing habits on an iOS device and rates the “maturity” of the sites you visit.  It works along with the desktop version of the software so once you have everything configured for your home computer you don’t need to configure the mobile browser.  The mobile versions of the software are free with your monthly subscription to Covenant Eyes.  It can be installed on multiple devices for no extra charge.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how Covenant Eyes works, visit their website.  I want to focus on the browser for iOS rather than the service itself which I’ve reviewed in the past (check out the link above to my old blog).

How it Works

Once the app is installed enter your username and password and then start browsing.  That’s it!  Every time you visit a website it will be recorded and reviewed by Covenant Eyes and rated.  You and/or your accountability partner will be able to see on the accountability report the “safety level” of the site.  You can then use this to start a discussion about your Internet usage.

The browser works just like other third-party browsers on iOS and just like all the others it is also limited by the SDK.  Bookmarks, multiple pages, zoom, etc. are all available but the much desired options to make it the default browser, import Safari bookmarks, and share links or add them to the homepage aren’t there.  It’s frustrating but that is how Apple rolls.

There are two features that I really think Covenant Eyes needs in the iOS version.  First, a panic button similar to the one found in X3 Watch.  Being able to get a notification that you’re headed to a potentially offensive site (knowingly or unknowingly) is a great option.  Second, it should require you to disable Safari.  There is a reminder to do so but it really should just require that restriction to be enabled.

Covenant Eyes mobile has come a long way from its first release when it was slow, buggy, and crashed.  It’s a more mature app now and I think with a few more refinements it could almost be the “perfect” app for mobile accountability.

Covenant Eyes
Covenant Eyes - Covenant Eyes, Inc.
Cost: Free with Covenant Eyes subscription ($9.99/mo.)
Category: Utilities
Language: English
Rated: 17+
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.

End Notes

I am running audio spots at the end of each podcast for the New York State LEAH Homeschooling Conference.  You’ll hear these at the end of every podcast up until the conference.  If you or someone you know is on a homeschooling conference committee, feel free to contact me about having your audio advertisement included in the podcast.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to feedback@thewiredhomeschool.com, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

Music: Poofy Reel by Kevin Macleod.

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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