Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Internet Accountability: Accountable2You REVIEW

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

The internet can be a scary place. I've often said that for as much good, and progress, the internet has brought to humanity, it has also been a detriment. Equal yet opposite forces, you could say. The internet has promoted infidelity, cyber bullying, internet gambling, wasted time, forgotten responsibilities, and much more. Then again, it has given us a linked world where we can learn about other cultures with ease. We have the world at our fingertips. Need to research a report? No problem! Need medical information? You got it! Forgot to mail that check for your power bill? It's ok! You can pay online! The store doesn't have your size in that must have outfit? It's ok, you can order it online and even get free shipping! Anything is bad without moderation and accountability, and that's where Accountable2You comes into play. I wanted to review this because I thought it would be an interesting way to see how much time we spend online doing non-productive, non-necessity activities.  Accountable2You allowed Crew members to choose the plan that best fit their needs for review. For this review, we chose the Family Plan




Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Accountable2You offers a variety of plans. I'll detail those, first.

  • Individual Plan: This is the plan you want if you are monitoring internet usage of just one person such as a spouse or child. You can install on up to 6 devices. 
  • Family Plan: This is great for families, as you can add multiple people. What I find interesting about this, is you can even use this for an older child who is away at school, and it will allow you to set up time guidelines for your children, so you will get an alert if they are on at times you have said for them to not be.  This works for up to 20 devices. 
  • Group Plan: This is designed for a group of people-perhaps a women's group, church group, etc. Each person can have up to 6 devices, and you can choose an accountability partner who can view your report. 
  • Small Business: This is great to monitor internet usage on company time/devices. M is an IT manager, and has worked on the corporate level for years. You'd be SHOCKED to know how much naughty malware he has to clean off company computers on a regular basis!

    Speaking of M being an IT guy....I'm turning this review over to him, for his perspective.


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Hey everyone! M here. Accountable2You would be quite handy to have in a business setting. As an IT Manager, I would like to have this on all non-secure company PCs and laptops to track employee internet usage while on company time, so that I could better plan and implement firewall needs. It would also reduce the amount of pornography I have to clean off company machines. So from a business standpoint, I could see a lot of applications for this.

As a group setting, I could see this as a tool to use under specific situations, such as talking about using the internet more than what you think you are using it. How many times have you logged on to Facebook, for "just a minute" and spent an hour or longer, neglected other obligation? I could see using this as an eye opener to illustrate the problem there. On the flip side, I could see the embarrassment that could result should someone else in the home not know the program is running, or forget. Now, some might say that's a good thing and would bring to light problems...but I disagree.

From a family side, I am torn. First, I want to say it does the job nicely. Your internet usage is monitored, and reports are sent. There are different reports for different activities, with some activities requiring daily reports, others less frequent weekly reports. There is a single admin who sets up all of the accounts on each device, whether it is a phone, tablet, or computer. In our experience, these devices do not need to be connected to the same network, so an older child away from home can be monitored as well. If a family is having an issue with internet usage, or sites visited, this would certainly do the job to bring all of that out in the open. 

My concerns are the following:

Who else views the generated reports? Are these things saved on a server somewhere? There is a disclaimer that everything is kept private, so this has me wondering if all our out computer/internet usage is being monitored. Is our bank information being monitored and stored? Credit cards? Travel plans? These issues concern me from a securities standpoint.

Next, I am concerned about the possible uses. It is intended that each individual gives their permission to have the program installed on their devices, but it would be extremely easy to not seek permission, install and invade privacy. I could marital problems becoming exacerbated when one spouse installs this without the knowledge of the other, and then uses the reports against them. I would hate to think there's a family out there when a porn addiction problem using this as a means to correct that, when they need to seek counseling, prayer, and internal communication between the spouses. I could see the usefulness when both spouses are open and honest about it being on the PC. 

Lastly, I am not a fan of allowing children to use the internet unsupervised, regardless of whatever programs are installed to filter or monitor. Yes, this will show you if your child had partaken in unsavory internet activities, but it will not prevent them from doing so (with the exception of self policing) and you won't find out about it until after the fact. I would rather see questionable or highly questionable words result in a blank screen, rather than a report. I also wonder how this could be used to prevent chat room activities where so many kids get in trouble. 

I guess overall, I do not find this program to be particularly useful in our home. But you may find it useful for yours. I could really see this being good for those with teens who may be home alone, with unsupervised device/computer time. This would definitely curb any sort of desire they may have to do something they shouldn't while on their devices. Would this, alone, prevent them from ever doing anything? I don't think so. I think you need to instill things like that from a very young age, in age appropriate manners, and still curious kids are going to be curious kids-so supervision is key. We are very open and honest about our internet usage, often times using our devices together in the same room. Miss and I have each other's passwords for email and social media, though we do not make use of that privilege unless one asks the other to log in to check something because of the trust we have for each other. Our son is not permitted on the internet alone for any reason what so ever. When he gets older, and he's permitted limited internet time without direct supervision, I would prefer a program that did more in terms of prevention and blocking. I like how you can view exactly how much time is spent on various webpages. I can see that being a useful tool. I do not feel comfortable with reports being generated that state our banking institution and time spent on that site, nor do I feel comfortable wondering who else can see these reports. I can see this being useful during marital distress if both spouses are in agreement and open-minded, but on the other hand I can see the possibility of it being used in poor taste. I do not wish to sound negative at all, and I worry that is how I sound. I would like to use this for non-secure PCs for my company, but after reviewing this for our home, and seeing the reports generated, I do not find it a necessity at this time. We do not have any issues that need addressed, nor do we spend excessive amounts of time online. And for that, I'm very thankful. Should we find this program a necessity in the future, it will be after a very thorough, very open family discussion. 



Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
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