Technology Protection Plan

God calls us to be faithful, wise stewards of the gifts and tools he gives us. Technology in our homes that connects to the internet is one of the most powerful tools humanity has ever wielded, and with it come great benefits along with profound dangers. For anyone who owns tools that could easily inflict bodily harm, you probably have safety measures and protocols to make sure those tools are operated in the safest ways possible. The same is true for technology surrounding the internet. The dangers of going down roads of great destruction are too high to not have a proactive plan of protection for you and your family.

If you are looking for practical guidance in setting up a technology protection plan for your family, especially your children, check out our Online Course, Raising Sexually Faithful Kids: Unit 3, “Protecting: Navigating the Technological Terrain.” This Unit provides you a basic framework for how to protect your family, as well as the leading recommended software for monitoring and filtering the internet on your devices.

For those struggling with the temptation towards pornography or other sexual sin via the internet, here is a short list of steps to take along with recommended resources to explore: (Note: There is no “one size fits all” method. Everyone will have different needs and opportunities. The key will be to assess your particular needs with trusted people in your life. Don’t make these decisions alone)

Before anything else, talk to trusted friends, mentors, pastors in your life who can hold you accountable and encourage you as you develop your plan. Ask them to pray with you for God’s guidance and blessing in this process.

Recognize that technology never causes you to sin. Sin comes from our hearts (James 1:13-15). So the solution is never going to be simply dealing with technology. Not only can you still lust in your heart without any tech, but none of the solutions we recommend are guaranteed to make sinful content inaccessible. In our experience, where there’s a will, there’s a way (Matt.26:41, Rom. 7:15-24). If your heart really wants to sin, you’ll find ways to sin. These steps are not impenetrable walls to keep you from sin, but are more like speed bumps giving you time to slow down and find the quickest exit off the highway of temptation and sin.

Take stock of every possible means of accessing sexual sin via technology in your possession. This includes, but is not limited to phones, tablets, e-readers, computers, video game consoles, smart TVs, streaming services, and anything else that connects to the internet. Don’t forget about old devices that may be in a box in your basement or locked away in a storage container.

Systematically determine which devices are absolutely essential for you to keep, and get rid of any non-essential devices. Sober mindedness is key to taking difficult, costly steps in your life. If you are struggling to get rid of certain devices, ask yourself, “will I be more equipped to pursue Christ in this season with or without this device?” It’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t get rid of something, but this is a battle with eternal consequences. In times of warfare, what you see as a necessity drastically changes. Simply put, if having this device is not leading to greater holiness, you probably need to get rid of it.

Now you have to figure out how to put protective measures on all of your remaining devices. There are two steps you can take here. The first, and most robust step would be to buy a router equipped with filtering built in. This way, any device connected to your Wifi will automatically get a layer of filtering protection. Two options to consider are the Gryphon Tower and Synology

As an added layer of protection, you can also add another filtering layer on top of any Wifi router, whether or not you end up purchasing a new router. We recommend starting with OpenDNS, which even offers a free version of their filtering services. But router filtering is only the first step, as this only adds a layer of protection for devices connected to your router. If you take that device out of your home, it is no longer protected.

Determine a subscription to a specific service that will monitor/filter/restrict types of access to the internet on all of your devices. If the service you choose does not work on certain devices, that device should not be in your possession. Here is the current list of some of the top-rated services to explore. (Note: Harvest USA gives no guarantees of the quality of any service provided, and it is incumbent upon you to do the proper research regarding which solution best fits your needs, and how to use that service in the most effective way possible).

a. Bark 

b. Aura

c. Canopy

d. Family Keeper

f. Everaccountable

g. Qustodio

h. Accountable2You

I. Lead Me Not

Some services only work with specific apps or programs on a device. Therefore you must delete all apps on your devices that would present backdoors to temptations and are not compatible with the protection service you use. Once all unprotected apps have been deleted, have your trusted friend, mentor, pastor disable the downloading of apps and lock that feature with a password which only they know. Therefore, if you need a new app, your accountability must give you access to download it. For more help in locking down your phone and other mobile devices, Youtube has step by step tutorials for locking down specific devices. 

Not all internet browsers are created equal. Some have greater security and blocking abilities than others. While these are only suggestions, we have found that these 3 browsers should be altogether avoided: Brave, Firefox, and Opera. But the reason to only allow access to a single browser on all devices is so that you only have to worry about securing one browser, making sure all of the settings are correct and password protected by your accountability. If you have multiple browsers available, one might be secure while another has vulnerabilities. Better to ensure robust protection with one browser, while completely avoiding all others.

If you’re finding you have the ability to search for websites that the filters are not catching, first repent of the hours you may be spending searching for sin and turn to Christ and others for help. Next, to practically remove this temptation, in your browser settings (like Google Chrome) set up an “allowlist” of websites that only allows you to access sites you have directly put on that allowlist. This means any site you have not put on that list will by default be blocked.

Make sure that the service you are using has ways of sending reports of your activity for your accountability. Some services offer weekly or daily reports, others provide real time alerts for any suspicious activity. It is crucial to acknowledge that this service is not the solution, but merely one tool for the relationship you have with people who are helping you fight this battle. This means there needs to be a commitment from all parties to be engaged with the reports that are being sent out.

Determine the main avenues that tend to lead you down paths of temptation. Those avenues could be things like Youtube, Netflix, Instagram, Twitch, Discord, gaming, etc.. These platforms may or may not have explicit content, but they either have links to 3rd party explicit content or sinful material that wouldn’t be flagged as pornographic but is still a fuel for sinful lust. This not only includes pictures and video content, it also applies to fan fiction and romantic novels on e-readers or online bookstores. For those who no longer have access or the desire to look at explicit pornography, these softer platforms can become places of consistent temptation and sin. These too need to be addressed with your accountability.

We believe the steps outlined above are crucial for anyone ensnared by sexual sin via technology. These steps may feel burdensome and very restrictive. The extent and time which these restrictions remain will vary for each person. But this is a practical outworking of Jesus’ words to cut off that which would cause us to sin. Avoiding external temptations, when possible, is wise, prudent, and essential in the Christian life. But ultimately, temptation from without only finds traction in a heart that welcomes it. So the goal is not to live in an antiseptic bubble void of any temptation, but instead to grow more and more in the likeness of Christ, who, on this earth, loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, facing many temptations, yet without sin. And thus your plan regarding technology is not a replacement for Jesus, but a simple tool in a life of growing dependence upon our savior, who not only forgives but also transforms all who repent and turn to him in faith.

Finally, if you are trying to fight sexual sin in isolation, we want to encourage you today to take one of the most important steps in this battle: Reach out for help! Find a trusted friend, mentor, or pastor to share with. If you don’t know where to turn, or need more support, you can reach out to Harvest USA. To find more information about our one-on-one discipleship and biblical support groups, check out our Get Help page for more information.