Router Based Solution for CE - Gaming Consoles and Smart TVs need to be addressed as well as image search engines...

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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It looks like other community users have raised these issues before.

Smart TVs and Gaming Consoles currently have access to the web. This makes them just as dangerous as computers and smart phones, and possibly even more so because there is no accountability or filtering coverage provided. This might be a stretch, but I'd guess that "most" households that use the Covenant Eyes software also have at least one of these devices.

I’ve seen responses indicating that the development team is only focusing on PCs, Macs and phones. I have a hard time with that view. Isn’t Covenant Eyes an Internet accountability and filtering software? That statement shouldn’t be limited to select platforms.

A home solution is needed that tackles all platforms (except for mobile, which you’ve already addressed with an app) — which brings up the question — When will Covenant Eyes provide a router based solution?

OpenDNS by Cisco is a router based solution that is free and doesn’t require any additional hardware - just an account. It works with the user's existing router/service provider account, but unlike Covenant Eyes, it lacks the accountability feature. So while most content is blocked, users might still be able to search long enough to find content that hasn’t yet been blocked. The big plus (at least for me) about Covenant Eyes is that even certain searches come back as red flags (and accountability partners are notified)...

A solution for Smart TVs and Gaming Consoles is absolutely needed. If users aren’t protected on these devices in addition to their computers and smart phones, then they’re just not protected... Having Covenant Eyes software is only strong when users aren’t in proximity to a Gaming Console or Smart TV.

My second concern has to do with image search engines... These aren't currently filtered... A user can be vague in their search and still return inappropriate images. Even though the returned images are only thumbnails, they're still accessible/view-able, and not blocked... and accountability partners aren't notified unless the search term itself is illicit. When will Covenant Eyes address image search engines?

Just concerned... I know research has been going on for while. The self help tips for Gaming Consoles and Smart TVs aren’t sufficient. It needs to be tackled at the router level. Please give us some hope that these issues will be resolved... Thank you for your help and all that you do. God bless you all.
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Eric Smith

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Posted 2 years ago

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Robert B, Official Rep

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I appreciate your genuine concern for safe browsing and your kind words about Covenant Eyes.

From a business perspective, creating a router based solution has not shown enough promise to merit development. Here's one angle on that - CE would have to make a physical product. Having been a software company for so long, it would be risky to try to become a manufacturing company. Not impossible, of course, but not promising either.

That's why we've chosen to recommend, for Smart TVs and gaming consoles, OpenDNS or Disney's Circle. While they don't do the same job of reporting that Covenant Eyes does, they do provide some assistance in safe browsing.

Image searches are a special challenge for all software filters, and that's why we always recommend filtering as an addition to accountability. If someone clicks a thumbnail from an objectionable website, that website will be flagged in the next accountability report. But, we agree with you, a filter that could block images within a list of search results or within a page would be great!

Although I haven't tried it personally, is a dedicated porn blocker that takes a step in that direction. They do offer a free 14-day trial.

Thanks for posting,

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Eric Smith

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Thank you very much for the reply Robert. I guess I’m still a little confused as to why CE would need to manufacture/provide a router as well. OpenDNS is a software solution that doesn’t require an additional or special router - It works with the one I already have on hand. Why couldn’t Covenant Eyes be able to produce software that could interact with the user’s existing router?
Thank you again Robert.