Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Accountable2You - A Homeschool Review Crew Review
I'm going to tell you right now that the issue that I am going to talk about is a touchy one. No one wants to admit that anyone in their household has an issue with this. No one wants to admit that there is a family history of this. No one wants to admit that this even exists! However, it does exist. It does affect families. It has even affected my family. It is a problem that needs to be discussed. That problem is internet pornography, internet stalking, and other inappropriate internet activity.
I was one of those people that ignored the fact that it could be in my circle of friends and in my family until, just recently, a close friend came to me and told me he was having a problem with internet pornography. Although I was surprised, I wasn't shocked. I should have known better. I should have known that this evil was even more prevalent than I thought. It had affected me in my younger days and, now, with internet, it is even more accessible and available. Then, later on that same day, a family member came to me in tears saying that he had seen pornography on the internet as well. That's when I knew I needed to protect my immediate family and was glad that I was reviewing the Accountable2You online Family Plan for 12 months.
With the Family Plan, we could install the program on up to 20 devices including phones, tablets, and computers that include almost any system that you can think of. To begin, however, I wanted to see and get a feel for how the plan worked so I only installed it on a few devices that my wife and I use. The installation was incredibly easy. First you sign up for the plan. When you sign up, you are asked who should receive the accountability emails. You can choose a spouse, another family member, a friend - it doesn't matter. All that is required is an email address. Then, after you have signed up, you can go on any internet capable device, log in, and it will give easy prompts to install Accountable2You on that device. It's that simple. From then on Accountable2You is working in the background of that device.
Since it is only me and Sarah at this time, we have not set up any of the many "actions" that you can set up for each user. The actions include setting up objectionable words, non-objectionable words, and time limits that allow your accountability partner to be alerted if you are on line during a chosen time period. It is pretty obvious what these are intended for, but they can also be used in creative ways. For example, a friend of mine who is on the Homeschool Review Crew has her son's computer set to notify her if he looks up the word "lego" since he has the habit of looking up creative lego creations when he should be doing his math homeschool work online. Since we now know how this all works, I am looking forward to installing this on my children's devices as well and becoming pretty creative to be notified when they look up specific things during homeschool hours. :-)
I am very impressed with the notification system that my wife has been getting. I popped on there today to once again see it so that it would be fresh in my mind while writing this review. I was shocked to see that I had three questionable records in the last 15 days! First the notification tells you how many records that a particular device shows. There are two categories that show up - "Questionable" and "Highly Questionable". Thankfully I didn't have any "Highly Questionable" content but I was curious to find out what my "Questionable" content was. I found out that one was a comment that I had made on facebook that joked about a "pot plant"; another was a story that I had shared on facebook about how a bar in England is cleverly combating the sexual assault on women; and the last one was a facebook search that I did but I have no idea why it was listed as questionable.
And those things are just the first things that my wife sees when she goes to the notification page! She can also get a report on app usage that details what apps have been used on a device, how long has been spent on that app, and how active the device has been every day. She can also get a more detailed account. This blew me away! Every message that I have sent from my phone can be seen and every message sent to me can be seen. Sarah and I have an open phone policy where she can look at my messages when she wants but seeing all of my messages linked on one page still surprised me. It even lists when I rejected a call or answered a call! Finally, she can go to a full report that lists all devices that are registered on one page.
WOW! This is detailed. I am really impressed. We are definitely going to be putting this on all of my children's devices to keep track of what they are looking at and when. It's not that I don't trust them, it's just that I want them to be safe. As parents we ask where a child is going and how long it's going and when they will be home. We talk about friends and make sure who they are spending time with. We monitor all kinds of things so why shouldn't we be monitoring their internet activity?
As you can tell, Accountable2You is a keeper for us. Let me tell you now, that this is just a monitoring program and not a filter program although they do give you suggestions for good filtering sites. This will not block sites that anyone sees, it will just let you know what sites they are seeing. Oh, and this works when a child is away from home as well so if they are on a trip or spending the night at a friends house, you can keep track of what they are doing on their own online devices (not their friends devices, only the ones you have Accountable2You downloaded on).
To find out more about Accountable2You just click on any one of the highlighted links above. Accountable2You also has Individual Plans, Group Plans and Small Business Plans to choose from. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given those plans to review and you can find out what they thought by clicking on the banner below. You can also connect with Accountable2You on the social media links listed below.
Social Media Links