What is Screen Accountability? Explain It Like I’m Five

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated March 1, 2024

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What is screen accountability?

Screen accountability involves keeping track of and managing the amount of time spent on electronic devices and digital content. It can help individuals strike a better balance between online activities and other aspects of life, fostering healthier tech habits and productivity. It's your recurring friendly reminder to take breaks and make conscious choices about screen usage.

Screen accountability fast facts

  • Screen accountability monitors device screens for harmful content, sharing activity with trusted partners and family members without compromising privacy and leaking passwords.

  • Content filtering is tech that blocks access to inappropriate websites, using AI for precise detection and online safety automation.

  • Covenant Eyes’ accountability software captures and analyzes blurred screenshots from various devices to hold users accountable.

  • Covenant Eyes' subscription offers comprehensive online protection and accountability for at least two users, with a subscription cost of $17/month.

  • Employers can legally track employees' computer screens, including screenshots, within privacy bounds, ensuring workplace productivity.

A conceptual diagram illustrating accountability with figures standing on interconnected platforms. Photograph: Skillsoft.

What is screen accountability and filtering?

Screen accountability and filtering are two essential components of a comprehensive internet safety strategy. They work together to provide users, particularly families, with peace of mind while browsing the web. By incorporating advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI), these tools help protect against harmful content such as pornography or other objectionable material.

Screen accountability monitors screen activity on devices and shares it with designated accountability partners. For example, Covenant Eyes' screen accountability software captures blurred screenshots of device screens at random intervals without revealing explicit images or violating privacy. These reports can be sent via email to partners who offer support in maintaining personal responsibility for one's online behavior. 

On the other hand, filtering refers to content restrictions applied through parental control apps or browser settings that block access to inappropriate websites based on predetermined criteria. Content filtering apps use advanced content detection algorithms to identify explicit content within sites and prevent them from being displayed on-screen — this includes suspicious activity such as circumvention attempts made by users trying to bypass filters. Parental controls may also include customizable alerts for real-time notifications regarding questionable imagery or searches detected across various devices used by family members or accountability partners.

How does Covenant Eyes screen accountability work?

Covenant Eyes screen accountability is a cutting-edge approach to promoting responsible internet usage and providing support in the fight against explicit content, such as pornography. Using advanced technologies, this software keeps track of screen activities on various devices like phones, laptops, and tablets.

To begin with, users need to install Covenant Eyes on all relevant devices within their household or personal network. Once set up, the program discreetly captures screenshots at random moments while ensuring privacy by blurring any sensitive images. The AI system then examines these blurred images for signs of inappropriate material or attempts to bypass security measures.

These findings are compiled into accountability reports that are shared with trusted individuals known as Accountability Partners via email updates. These partners can be anyone who offers encouragement and guidance in maintaining online responsibility — friends, family members, or mentors. 

The comprehensive weekly report outlines different types of detected activity along with obscured visuals from captured screenshots without exposing explicit details. This method encourages open communication between users and their partners while cultivating a culture of accountability.

An iconographic depiction of a content filtering AI, with different application screens showing varied content types. Photograph: Covenant Eyes.

What accountability software has screenshots?

Covenant Eyes is a notable accountability software that takes screenshots in the background to keep everyone accountable. The screenshots are taken multiple times per minute and displayed in an activity feed on Covenant Eyes's monitoring app, Victory.

The software's screenshot accountability feature takes screenshots on various devices such as smartphones, computers, or tablets. To ensure privacy and avoid false alarms, Covenant Eyes blurs any screenshots before analyzing it with its advanced content detection system. Sensitive information such as passwords will never be visible to Covenant Eyes' servers or your accountability partners.

How often does Ever Accountable take screenshots?

Ever Accountable is all about helping accountability partners stay on track online, especially for those who are trying to kick the habit of looking at stuff they'd rather avoid, like porn. In order to keep everyone accountable, they take random snapshots of what you're up to on your device.

These aren't scheduled or predictable, so they may catch anything on your screen. The main idea is to make sure you're not slipping into old habits by showing your screen activity to someone you trust. This can be a game-changer for people who are serious about staying away from content they find harmful. The screenshots get analyzed and sorted, so your accountability partner doesn't have to go through every single one, saving them a ton of time and sparing them from potentially awkward stuff.

But here's the deal: Ever Accountable takes privacy seriously. They try their best to blur out sensitive info like passwords or credit card numbers from these screenshots. However, they're upfront about the fact that it's not a perfect system, so you gotta pick an accountability partner you can really trust.

A blurred Covenant Eyes screen accountability report, representing screen accountability through screenshots. Photograph: WebChaver.

Can Covenant Eyes see incognito searches?

Yes, Covenant Eyes can monitor incognito searches. When installed on a device, the software is designed to provide comprehensive internet accountability by tracking online activity regardless of whether it occurs in regular browsing mode or incognito/private mode.

Covenant Eyes' advanced technology ensures that users cannot bypass its monitoring capabilities simply by switching to an incognito or private browsing window. The software captures screen activity and detects inappropriate content even when users attempt to hide their actions using these privacy modes.

By maintaining visibility into all aspects of online behavior, including incognito searches, Covenant Eyes is very hard to bypass without any unusual activity being detected and sent to the accountability partner.

Can Covenant Eyes see YouTube?

Covenant Eyes can indeed monitor YouTube activity, thanks to its Screen Accountability feature which captures screenshots of your device at least once per minute, including while watching videos on YouTube. It also gives you the option to set YouTube to Restricted Mode to filter explicit videos and content.

For iPhone users, Covenant Eyes recommends setting Safari as the default browser and using the Safari extension for screen-capture, which allows the app to monitor activities in Safari, including watching YouTube videos. This means that whether you're browsing the web or watching videos, Covenant Eyes can keep track of your online activities to help maintain accountability.

A standard YouTube notification for age-restricted content. Photograph: ClevGuard.

Can Covenant Eyes see Snapchat?

Covenant Eyes doesn’t directly monitor Snapchat activity due to the nature of Snapchat's design, where messages and content disappear after a short period. This feature makes it challenging for monitoring services like Covenant Eyes to effectively track and analyze the content shared on Snapchat.

While it doesn’t specifically track or report on individual messages, snaps, or stories within the app itself, Covenant Eyes captures blurred screenshots of device screens at random intervals. This means that if a user is accessing Snapchat during one of these screenshot moments, the software will capture an image of what's displayed on the screen.

Why is Covenant Eyes so expensive?

Covenant Eyes may seem expensive at first glance, but the value it provides justifies its cost. For the subscription price of $17 per month for two accounts (yourself and your accountability partner), which comes out to $8.50 per person, you gain access to an array of advanced features designed to promote responsible internet usage and protect against harmful content.

The software offers complete accountability solutions through screen monitoring on unlimited devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. The software is split into two apps — It's divided into two applications: Covenant Eyes, which safeguards devices, and Victory, which focuses on monitoring and maintaining accountability across other users' devices. Both apps can be used under the same subscription at a fixed monthly or yearly fee.

Additionally, investing in Covenant Eyes' services helps provide peace of mind knowing that your entire family is protected from objectionable online material as well as promoting a culture of responsibility among users who share their device activity with trusted partners.

Covenant Eyes’ two apps for accountability and screen monitoring. Photograph: Covenant Eyes.

Does Covenant Eyes slow down your computer?

Covenant Eyes is designed to run efficiently in the background without causing significant performance issues on your computer. However, like any software, it may have a minimal impact on system resources depending on the device's specifications and other running applications.

The developers of Covenant Eyes continuously work to optimize its performance and minimize resource usage while maintaining comprehensive monitoring capabilities. It's essential to keep the software updated with the latest version for optimal efficiency and compatibility with your operating system.

In most cases, users should not experience noticeable slowdowns or disruptions in their daily computing activities due to Covenant Eyes. If you do encounter performance issues after installing this accountability software, consider reaching out to their customer support team for assistance in troubleshooting potential causes.

Can your employer track screenshots?

Yes, employers can legally monitor employees' computer screens, including screenshot tracking, within certain limitations to ensure they respect employees' privacy rights. This monitoring is more acceptable during work hours and on company devices. 

There are manual and automatic methods for screenshot monitoring, with automatic methods being less discriminatory as they apply to all employees uniformly. However, employers should avoid capturing personal or financial information and consider employee privacy, especially during breaks.

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