Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Here's an article that I'm reblogging from Razormouth that talks about a potential solution to men struggling with online porn. It's called NetAccountability. Rather than blocking sites with some sort of filter, the software keeps a record of every website visited and then compiles a report which can then be viewed by someone else (wife, accountability partner). The service is $3.95/month and apparently offers group rates to make it even more affordable, though I think $3.95/mo ($47.40/yr) is quite reasonable, and a relatively small price to pay considering the potential damage that can result from a porn addiction. With the overwhelming number of men who actively look at porn and struggle with online porn I'm glad that such a "solution" is now available. It seems to me that there are several advantages over a filter/blocker:

1) Legitimate sites and searches (e.g. breast cancer) wouldn't be blocked because of an overzealous filter

2) Someone's looking over your shoulder, which allows for counsel & rebuke, if necessary

3) Since a ridiculous number of new porn sites hit the web every day, this seems that it would be more effective. Filters often can't keep up with all of the sites that should be on their "off limits" list. The accountability report would allow the accountability partner to go snoop any site that, either looked suspicious or was visited with great frequency.

4) Beyond the issue of porn, a report of online activity would bring web-surfing habits (read time-wasting addictions) under the scrutiny of an accountability partner. For instance, is it really being a good steward of one's time and talent to spend hours and hours each week reading up on every possible angle on one's favorite college football or basketball team? (OK, I'm guilty!)

5) It's very affordable. Someone else tried this a couple of years ago, but was charging $150/year or something...which I thought was really a shame.

I would hope that this software would also monitor chat-room type activity, and even have an option for e-mail, to prevent "internet mistress" situations. Imagine having every current officer and staff member in your church, as well as every candidate for office sign up for this as a "requirement" for serving in office. The church could even foot the bill (with a group rate) and I think it would be money well spent -- preventative medicine.

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