The Internet: A Tool…Or a Trap?
As the world of technology progresses, it seems that it's almost impossible to even live without the internet. I know very few people who do not have internet access at their home, and even so there are occasions when they must go to a friend's house or to the library to get online.
You almost cannot complete paperwork anywhere without having a valid email address. And many times crucial information is sent to that email address that you will never receive unless you actually get online and check it.
Companies are trying their best to eliminate paper bills and move to all online systems.
Printed research material is becoming outdated, and new information is available mostly online.
Friends and family members may only be accessible to contact through Facebook or email.
Even missionaries for whom you would like to pray may only send their updates via email.
If you are going to stay on top of some of these tasks which are necessary for living, you're pretty much forced to have internet access.
The internet is a wonderful tool. Many aspects of life have become much more convenient because of it.
Prayer requests shared on Facebook can spread around the world in a matter of minutes.
God's Word can be shared on blogs and social media and reach into areas of the world where it is normally suppressed.
Research material on any topic imaginable has become readily accessible.
Bills can be paid without cluttering your house with papers and without any money spent on postage.
Shopping can be done conveniently from home, saving gas money and time.
But as convenient and as great of a tool as the internet is, it also has the potential to be a deadly trap.
Although your goal may be to use it as a tool to spread God's Word, keep up with missionaries, pray for the needs of others, or save time on essential tasks, the devil's goal is to use it for your destruction.
He may do this blatantly by throwing pornographic advertisements in your face when you least expect it. Or he may take a more subtle approach by leading you to more and more interesting (although entirely appropriate) content which slowly sucks away your time. Both tactics can result in the destruction of homes, families, and individual lives.
Men, Satan would love for you to become addicted to pornography even though you came across it completely by accident.
Ladies, he would love for you to frustrate your husband and children by neglecting your household duties because you were glued to your Facebook feed or Pinterest account.
Parents, he would love to expose your sons and daughters to perverse material that will forever be etched into their minds.
You must not be blind to his tactics, and you must arm yourself against them.
Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…
In the previous passage, you find instruction in the use of the spiritual weapons with which God has provided us to withstand the devil. They are useless unless you take advantage of them!
Daily infiltrating our minds with God's Word, a lifestyle of prayer, and yielding to the Holy Spirit should be our first line of defense against the devil's tactics.
But I am also thankful for practical tools to help us protect ourselves as well.
It would be foolish to delve into the online world without any type of protection against the traps that are embedded there.
Covenant Eyes is a wonderful place to find that protection. My husband and I have invested in a subscription each year because we both know that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Although we had the standard internet filters set up on our computer, we knew that we are capable of any type of sin and we figured, “Why take the risk? Why even give ourselves room to be tempted? Why let the thought remain in the back of our minds that we have the possibility of accessing any type of material our lustful flesh desires?”
Here are some reasons I think Covenant Eyes is an excellent choice for families:
- Separate users – you can add different members of your family and configure the settings to be most suitable for them. For example – for young children, you could set it up for them to be allowed on one or two websites to play educational games. For teenagers, you could select the strongest filtering so that they can browse and do school research without the ability to accidentally land on an inappropriate website. The administrator can enter their password to allow access to a website that has been blocked but doesn't necessarily need to be.
- Internet Filtering – select as strong or weak of a filter as you feel you need, and make the strength different depending on the user.
- Internet Accountability – Besides filtering out content that could potentially cause you to stumble in your Christian walk, you can also ask a friend or relative to be your accountability partner. Covenant Eyes will send regular reports via email of your online activity to the partner(s) of your choice. You can have as many accountability partners as you wish and choose the frequency of the report (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). The report will show your accountability partner how much time you've spent online, what webpages you visited or attempted to visit, the search terms you used, and even whether you tried to uninstall Covenant Eyes from your computer.
- Time filtering – one of the more subtle ways the devil uses the internet against us is by tempting us to use it to waste time. If you struggle with wasting time on the internet, you can take advantage of the time filters on Covenant Eyes. You can restrict internet usage to a certain number of hours per week or day or you can choose to block internet usage during certain times of the day.
- Resources for families and churches – Covenant Eyes offers free e-books on topics relating to Family Protection, Pornography Use and Recovery, and Helps for Churches to address the subject of pornography. They also have a great blog with many informative and thought-provoking posts.
Covenant Eyes pricing starts at $9.99 per month and goes up depending on how many users you have and which services you select (accountability, filtering, or both). You can also use the Covenant Eyes browser on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad or use the accountability app for Android.
I am determined to do all that I can to make sure the internet remains a tool and not a trap. How about you?