Monday, January 18, 2010

Being Frum and Having the Internet - The Trifecta Approach

I believe that it goes without saying that with all of the terrible things on the internet, one has to use common sense to protect himself. For over a year, I've been using the kleenweb filter. It does let a lot of stuff get by and it's expensive ($13/month) and customer service is so-so. I'm in the process now of switching over all of our home's computers to the K9 filter, which is free. (See the unpaid sidebar ad I'm now posting.) I've been trying it out and whatever problems it had a couple of years ago when I had initially tried it out seem to have been ironed out.

I'd also tried a web accountability system a couple of years ago but it also didn't work well. But now there's a new system adapted for the Jewish community from a Xian system called Covenant Eyes. Ours is called Web Chaver. My old internet buddy signed up for it, making me his buddy and it seems to be working very well. Essentially, a web accountability system is great because it observes *all* of a person's internet activity and reports anything questionable to someone he designates to clarify if there's anything inappropriate. It causes a person to self censor anything he's reading or doing on the internet, including the use of programs that don't use web browsers like iTunes and ftp and filesharing programs. It also now has an app that reports on iPhone (and soon phones on the Droid platform as well) too!

I think that a filter by itself is inadequate because it lets certain inappropriate things go by and because sometimes it overfilters things that are appropriate. The web accountability system is also good but it doesn't prevent you (or your children) from seeing bad things to begin with. It just reports on it sometime in the week after the inappropriate site was visited. But I think that the two together make a great team. And if you combine the less expensive Web Chaver system ($4/month) with the free K9 filter, it's a great tag team protection for one's self and one's family.

So here's my plan for a setup that will really keep not only your family, but also you (Kesubos 13b: "אין אפוטרופוס לעריות," no one can trust himself when it comes to illicit matters):

1) Get the free K9 filter
2) Get the Web Chaver accountability software and subscription
3) After the systems are set up, tell your wife (or one of your parents, if you're single) to change the password to both of these systems and not to tell you what it is!

Having the internet is a must for most people today and this is becoming more and more true every year. But without taking some or all of these precautions, it's as if one is keeping a loaded gun in his home, sitting on his desk. It just makes no sense to fool one's self into thinking that he doesn't need to take some of these common sense precautions. (More information at Mystical Paths HERE)

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice!

One option is to never use the Internet unless another person is in the same room with you. Of course this can be difficult if you work at home.

Neil Harris said...

I've used K9 at home for about 2 1/2 years. It does the job, for the post part.

Anonymous said...

Since I started using K9 - Baruch Hashem I have not been nichshal at all. I also don't get the videos you post on your blog - but I'm willing to forego those videos for the better protection.

Unknown said...

I currently use NetNanny am extremely pleased with both the filtering and price. Here is the link
By the way the annual cost is $39.99 much cheaper.
Kol Tuv,