CE is easily cercumvented by apps that have built in browsers

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  • Updated 7 months ago
My older adult son shared with me, after getting married and moving out, that CE was easily circumvented by apps that have built in browsers. What do I do to protect my younger boys?
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Ralph

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Posted 3 years ago

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Heather, Official Rep

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Hi Ralph,

Your son is right, it can be circumvented by using apps with built-in browsers. We suggest that all apps such as this are locked down in your iOS Restrictions settings, for iPhones, or with our App Lock in the Covenant Eyes app for Android.

If you would like to give us a call, we can help you get your younger sons fully protected.

1.877.479.1119
Hrs: 0800-0000 M-F and 1000-1800 Sa EST

Regards,

Heather
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Heather Elicker

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I'm confused as to why this isn't explained better. If I'm lead to believe they're protected, until they get smart enough to figure out how to get around it. Or if my husband decides he wants to. Isn't the whole point to block the bad content. No offense, isn't that what I'm paying $15 month for? Protection?
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John, Official Rep

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Hey Heather, 

Sorry it took longer than I wanted to get back to you here. I'm really sorry that you felt like we weren't clear about the dangers of the iOS devices. We do our best to make sure that we explain how to setup those devices, even going so far as to automatically pop of a page with a video explaining how to setup CE as soon as you install the app. You can see exactly what that page looks like by visiting www.covenanteyes.com/ios

Our support articles also explain that you need lock down dangerous apps, and more information can be found here http://www.covenanteyes.com/support-articles/how-do-i-use-the-iphone-browser-app/

The best news is that we are working on ways to provide additional protection on iOS, but it is extremely difficult to do so (because of the way Apple has set up their iphones & iOS devices).

Again I am sorry that this was not clear. It would help me if you could tell me where else you expected this information to be, so that we could make it clearer for users like yourself in the future.
(Edited)
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Drescheg

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Disney's Circle Go claims to filter while away from a home network by setting up a VPN on the iPhone and then notifying the home network admin if it is disabled? Is this a technique that CE could leverage to protect apps with built in browsers?
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Matt Bowman

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CE should edit the first paragraph on this "How do I Use the Iphone Browser App" article: http://www.covenanteyes.com/support-articles/how-do-i-use-the-iphone-browser-app/. It says that the Iphone app "enforces Safe Search through Google and Bing across all apps." That is false. If you install an app with built-in browser, say, Google Docs, and then click on a hyperlink to Google, the apps' internal browser will not enforce safesearch. The text in that intro paragraph should be changed, imo, as it gives people a false sense of security. I can't read it any way that makes it true.          
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Danny B., Official Rep

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Matt,

Thank you for your thoughts. I highly value your perspective on this, and while I am not specifically able to make that change, I will gladly share your feedback with our team.

It is suggestions like this one which convey they importance of continual examination and improvement of our processes and presentation, and I want to assure you that your Covenant Eyes® team appreciates your feedback.

Thank you again, and I will share this suggestion promptly.

Best Regards,

Danny B.
Customer Support Representative
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Chance

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Hi Ralph,

I have an iPhone and I see two ways to tackle the problem, and I've tried both depending on my needs.


1) Use the CE browser and download only a few apps.

2) Set Web Restrictions to either Specific Websites Only.  The bad thing about this is that you can only visit a handful of sites, but the advantage is that you have more freedom in installing apps, because this limits the in-app browsers also.

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Mike

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I agree with Ralph. With the CE browser installed and no limitations on apps (17 and up is required for the Covenant Eyes app to be downloaded from the App Store) you really can only have a few apps installed and the App Store MUST be turned off in restrictions. There are browsers in nearly every app (our kids already know this and I am certain yours do too) either through advertisements or help links in the app. We have found in our family that we have much MORE use of the device by enforcing age restrictions on the apps (this makes the Covenant Eyes browser not available) and setting up specific websites only. Our home rule is that the only open browsers are on on full computers where Covenant Eyes works.
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Kevin

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Thanks everyone for your posts.  I've always taken the approach to use the CE browser in combo with restrictions and download only a few apps.  The hard part is figuring out which apps are safe!  Anyone have a list of safe iOS apps that have no way to get to a built-in browser?  Some apps that I thought were safe have turned out not to be.  Apple News, Dropbox, My Fitness Pal, any Google App, even the YouVersion Bible app!! - they've all turned out to have built-in browsers that make them unsafe.  A list of safe apps would really help.  

I'm curious about the second approach - setting web restrictions to allow only specific websites.  I would love to be able to safely use the Dropbox app, My Fitness Pal app, and the YouVersion Bible app.  Is this approach really safe??  I would think I would have to be VERY selective of what websites I have allowed.  No google.com or any other search engine since unsafe images can be accessed.  Using the approach setting web restrictions to allow only specific websites, does anyone have a list of safe website to allow?
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Dave C

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This is a great point Ralph.

I think CE should be more upfront about the limitations of the Android application in the product description. I bought an Android phone because I thought it would be covered by CE only to realize that all apps not on the CE list were completely unmonitored. That means that CE's mission to create accountability (which it does wonderfully on mac's and pc's) fails for Android.

What's the point of a monitoring app that doesn't monitor everything? It's like having a security camera on your front door, but leaving your back door open. You either have accountability, or you don't.

(Edited)
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Patrick Smith, Employee

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Hi, Dave.

I know I'm a little late to the dance on this one. I saw your comment, though, and wanted to chime in.

Covenant Eyes for Android has an app locking feature that allows you to set up your phone so that all newly installed apps are locked by default.
  
Start by ridding your phone of apps that allow you to pursue questionable material unmonitored. Then, you can use the app locking feature within CE to ensure that any new app you install is locked until your accountability partner unlocks it. 

Make sense?

I hope this is helpful.

Patrick
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Justin Runyan

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How do you "app lock" the "Google" app on an android phone (I'm not talking about Chrome, but the google search feature that is often on your home screen)? It doesn't show up on the app lock screen, yet it provides access to the internet.
(Edited)
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TheKneeland

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I ran through this when I got my Andriod phone just about a year ago. I'd rather have no hot coals at all... so I want the temptation removed (Pr. 6:27). Here's what I did with my accountability partner:
1. Disable Google Search under the Andriod Application Manager. It may not be called "Google Search" so you'll have to do a little more digging, it's been a year since we did it.
2. Lock down Andriod Settings in CE App Locking. This is a nuisance, but I can still connect to Wifi and disable/enable connections via the quick drop down menu on my Samsung.
3. Be transparent and willing to draw boundaries. If System Settings is opened somehow on my phone, or tampered with (like I was trying to find a work around) it's an automatic "guilty" with my accountability partner. This removes the temptation of even going "down the path" of the adulterous woman (Pr. 5:8). Better to set the boundaries well before a cliff so that I'm never even tempted to look over the edge I feel.
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Annelise, Official Rep

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Hi Justin,

Great question! With our app locking feature we are not able to lock the Google Search widget that is usually on the home screen because technically it's not an app. However, on Android devices we are able to monitor the Google Search widget and report any searches done from there! It's only on the iOS devices where our Accountability service is limited to our browser app. 

If you have any further questions feel free to give our Customer Service a call at 877.479.1119

Best regards,
Annelise
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TheKneeland

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To the original post here this is my personal take:
1. Have the accountability partner spend a good amount of time with the device when it is first purchased. Give them the permission to remove everything and anything that they can find as a way to the internet (w/out accountability if that is your motivation).
2. Lock down google play
3. set disable all new apps in CE
4. If a new app is install, call it an instant guilty w/out charge. This will help remove temptation to go down the path toward sin even.
5. Have the the accountability partner do random checks for "ways out."

This does require some extra commitment, but if the accountability partner is someone who is close to you that shouldn't be an issue.
Also, I've noted that more and more apps are removing their built in browsers. Some that we've seen have them in the past, no longer have them.

Hope this helps.
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Kevin

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Does the Pokémon GO iOS app have a built-in browser making it unsafe for use?
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Luke Jones

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The Internet might have been born before me (ARPANET) but we grew up together. It has extraordinary potential for good, but even scriptures can be twisted for evil (See 1/2 Peter). Covenant Eyes can provide some level of protection, but it's never going to be perfect. Blocking all evil from a device that can access all the world's knowledge from almost any location is a hard problem. It's good to desire such a thing, but it's like wanting to never deal with evil again. That ship sailed thousands of years ago, and our only hope is that it comes back again, but would we even recognize it if we saw it?