Adult Accountability – Hidden truths and struggles
The need for adult accountability software is real and growing. Addiction to porn via smartphones is prevalent. Now, many adults are being proactive in trying to curb their addictions with tools never before available. They can do this in the privacy of their home, simply requiring one trusted friend or “accountability partner.” to help them get past their addiction, or own-avowed personal and technological struggle. Police departments, judges, and even employers are looking at these tools to help make positive impacts on adults who are in need of self monitoring.
… 11 porn sites [are] now in the top 300 most popular sites globally. Pornhub, attracting 1.1 billion visits a month globally, sees a staggering 54% of its visits from mobile phones, with an average user session lasting about 8 ½ minutes. It rose from 38th place to 23rd, a higher position than online titans such as eBay, MSN and Netflix.
source: Similar Web
First, a bit of history. When we started Netsanity over 3 years ago, we had a goal in mind: help parents manage their children’s internet usage, filter pornography, and give parents another tool to help them gain a foothold on the ever-growing mobile technology that was widening the gap between themselves and their brilliant, tech-savvy kids. To that end, we succeeded, and continue to evolve and innovate. We have parents in over 50 countries that have installed many thousands of devices that currently filter and monitor more than 3 million internet transactions daily.
What we did NOT know, and what we learned over those 3+ years is that parents and kids are not the only users of our service. In fact, an untold number of “ghost users,” and silent adults have been using our services for years in order to stem internet addictions, ranging from spousal cheating, pornography, and other more specific and personal reasons.
Each month, the number of these users grow and many feel like victims without a voice. By talking to our users, learning about their needs, and developing features that would help them, we have created a solution that not only works for kids, but is very effective for some adults. It can make their addictions manageable, and allow them safe access to technology, while having a trusted technology partner to ensure that they are compliant.
47% of men over the age of 60 viewed porn within the past 2 months.
29% of men in their seventies viewed porn within the past 2 months.
56% said they had tried to stop but couldn’t.
58% said they believed it was wrong.
source: The Gilmer Mirror
Having an adult accountability service or software is not without its challenges. Unlike a parent with a child, which they can generally control, an adult has no legal restrictions to prevent nor to stop circumventing self-imposed protections.
Traditional accountability solutions and why they fail
There are many companies that offer adult accountability software. Some offer it for PC’s and MAC’s, and some attempt to offer it for iOS and Android devices. While many of these are great solutions and have many followers and users, they have not kept up with technology and sadly, many are not very effective to prevent regular and addicted users from circumventing them.
Today, more than 54% of porn is viewed via a mobile device source: Similar Web. Any solution that is focused on PC’s and MAC laptops, is already behind as it will only affect a small percentage of the target audience.
Traditional mobile device solutions are weak – most rely on locking down the device and forcing users to use a “safe browser.” Safe browsers are the Achilles heel of filtering. They offer great filtering, except one big problem – there are over 3,000 browsers and apps which will allow unrestricted internet access. Just search for fake calculators, fake folders, and fake browsers in the app store just to get an idea of options. So unless 100% of app installs are disabled and many standard apps are removed, the safe browsing will not achieve its intended goal of protecting the adult. Additionally, if you make the device a paperweight, users will not use it and either circumvent or use a different device. The right balance is to have your technology handy and helping you, while at the same time, offering protection and monitoring.
Luckily, for Apple iOS and soon Android, there is a better and cleaner solution.
Striking the right balance
Netsanity’s Apple iOS service allows for a “user”, who takes on the role of the adult using the Apple mobile device and an “admin,” their accountability partner, who they trust. The process is quite simple and can be set up in a few minutes. It is NOT an app, and works seamlessly and transparently in the background. No jail-breaking is required and its fully built in to the Apple iOS’ core functionality.
Benefits of adult accountability software
Before we show you how easy it is to use Netsanity’s powerful service for adult accountability, here is a list of features and restrictions which an accountability partner can employ on the targeted device of the adult. Once installed, the partner can perform all restrictions and guidance remotely without needing physical access to the device.
- Block pornography
- Block other categories like Personal Sites, Web Proxys, Social Media, Email, and 40+ more
- Optionally, mirror the adult users iMessages – here’s how
- The accountability partner has real-time access to a raw internet log that shows every website attempted by the adult user. They can also export this log to present to the adult for later discussion.
- Force Netsanity’s safesearch so that Google and Bing results are filtered
- Use appblocker to one-click block specific and popular internet-based apps like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and 35+ others
- Use screenlock to instantly lock the user’s screen in case an event forces the partner to take immediate action
- Use timeblocker to regulate times that the adult is allowed to use the internet, based on mutually agreed times
- Use hideapps to instantly hide all the 3rd-party apps on the device
- Knowing in real-time, every app on the device, including apps that try to hide their intended purpose
- Prevent the adult from using the camera, Facetime, downloading new apps, listening to objectionable music, and dozens more of device restrictions.
- Block specific websites that the adult needs to be refrained from visiting, using Netsanity’s siteblocker
- Prevent the adult user from removing the Netsanity secure profile without a passcode which is only known to the accountability partner
How To Set Up and Use Netsanity for Adult Accountability
To set up Netsanity for an adult, you first need the following:
- An Apple iOS device using iOS 8 or greater. Most of the time this will be an iPhone, but can also be a current iPad or iPod touch
- Touch ID (Fingerprint sensor) – the Apple mobile device must have Touch ID. Most current models including the 5S, 6, 6S, and the latest iPads and iPod touch devices. have Touch ID. Older devices like the 4S or 5C do not and will not work well for adults
- A Netsanity subscription
- An accountability partner (AP) – can be a friend, spouse, or a service
Once you are ready, set up is easy and the self-monitored adult can safely have their device in-hand, within minutes, safe from porn and other specific and harmful internet destinations.
Set up Netsanity for adult accountability
The process for set up and enrollment is fairly straight forward. We have summarized the steps below so both the adult user needing accountability as well as the accountability partner who will maintain the restrictions know the process and steps.
- Both the adult needing supervision and the partner must be together for the initial set up. After set up and enrollment is complete, most everything else can be accomplished remotely.
- Both parties need to write down their expectations of what sites and restrictions will be needed and a process for resolution. We suggest this is in writing and signed by both parties in advance.
- Have the Apple iOS device with Touch ID ready
- You must enroll at least one (we suggest two or more) fingerprints for the user and optionally for the accountability partner (AP).
- To do this, the AP will establish a passcode that only the AP will know. This is critical to all other steps. Only the AP must maintain this 4 or 6 digit passcode.
- (iOS 9.x) – from Settings > Touch ID & Passcode create a passcode. If the user already had a passcode, have them enter it, and then click change passcode, so now only the AP knows what it is.
- Once all fingerprints have been enrolled, scroll to to the top of the Touch ID & Passcode screen
- make sure that iPhone (iPad) Unlock is green – this is very important as this will allow the user to unlock their screen as needed with their finger without knowing the passcode that the AP has set up
- You are done can exit to the home screen
- Sign up for Netsanity. Your first 14-days are free so you will have a good sense if this solution is right for you. This step will be preformed by the AP. You will need one license for each Apple device. So if the user will have two devices, an iPhone and an iPad, you will need a 2-license subscription.
- The AP will create an admin user and a password. This will not be shared with the adult user.
- Once the admin user is created, the next step is to set up the user. Their is a wizard to help you through the process.
- The user will be the adult that will be monitored. Later after enrollment, the AP will go back and set up all the filtering and device restrictions.
- Next, the AP will create a device – this is the Apple iOS device that you will be enrolling shortly for the user.
- Lastly, enroll the device in to the Netsanity service and install the security profile.
- The AP, using the Safari browser will navigate the the enrollment website (provided after you subscribe) and login with their admin username and password
- They will click on the previously created device which will start the enrollment process – should take less than 10 seconds – there will be a series of popups and confirmations that the AP will need to acknowledge.
- Once complete, please log out of the enrollment website and hand back to the user
- Set up is complete. The AP can now go to their dashboard, select the user, and proceed to block the apps, websites, categories, and device restrictions as needed. Our support site has many articles, videos, and guides to use each feature.
Netsanity has a 100%, US-based customer service center with agents that will help with on-boarding and are available for questions using a dedicated feedback widget, email, or phone.
After the AP has installed the service on the targeted user’s device and has set up the filtering and restrictions as needed, both parties can resume normal activity. By not knowing the Apple passcode, Netsanity cannot be removed. All internet will be monitored and websites filtered. The adult user, however can use their iPhone as normal to make calls, texts, and use almost any apps for day to day functionality. Unlocking the screen is easy with their finger, so there is no need to know the passcode while enjoying the many advantages an iPhone or iPad bring. You can read more here in our best practices guide for Touch ID enabled devices.
Adult accountability is a serious need. Netsanity is proud to offer solutions that can help hundreds of thousands of adults around the world that need that extra tool to help them stay compliant. Our service platform is cutting edge and will continue to evolve and improve. Android support will be released in early Q4, 2016. Give the service a try and see if Netsanity may be right for you.