Friday, December 04, 2015

Christian Internet Filtering, part 2 of 2

X3 Watch is another organization that offers inexpensive Internet accountability and filtering for computers and smartphones–essentially, all devices that have Internet access.  Their basic package is only $6.99 a month or $64.99 a year ($5.41/month), and sometimes even lower prices come up if one explores their website a bit.  These prices make X3 cheaper than Covenant Eyes, discussed in part 1.  Furthermore, X3 Watch also offers a program that provides Internet accountability (but no filtering) entirely free.  I would recommend both the filtering and accountability for everyone.  If you really cannot afford around $5 a month to protect yourself from the wickedness on the Internet, I doubt you can afford to own a computer, a smartphone, or pay for Internet access in the first place. (Note that one price protects all the devices a particular person owns;  you don’t pay per device, but per person.)  You can get your electronic devices protected with X3 Watch for the price of going to a fast food place once a month.  It goes without saying that the protection is far more important.  For that matter, many people can save significantly more than the cost of either X3 Watch and Covenant Eyes by simply changing their cell phone carrier.  (Find out how to get totally free cell phone service, service for c. $10 a month, or other low cost service by clicking here.

However, if you really want the free version of X3 that only has accountability but no filtering, you can sign up using the link here.  It is very difficult to find the page to get the free version of X3 on the organization’s website because X3 wants you to sign up for the version you pay for that has filtering as well.

X3 Watch also claims it is a Christian ministry dedicated to helping people with the danger of pornography, not a profit-making business.  The organization’s statement of faith is:

  • The Bible is the Inerrant Word of God. The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God and without mistakes as originally written. It is the complete revelation of His will for salvation and the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life. (II Timothy 3:16-17II Peter 1:21John 17:17)

  • The Trinity. There is one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that these three are co-eternal and of equal dignity and power. (Matthew 28:19II Corinthians 13:14)

  • Jesus Christ. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ; His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit; His virgin birth; His sinless life; His substitutionary death on a cross; His bodily resurrection; His ascension to the right hand of the Father; and His personal, imminent return. (John 1:11418Luke 1:35Romans 3:24-264:25Hebrews 1:33:17:23-25;I John 2:1-2)

This is a good statement, as far as it goes, although it is not very comprehensive and it is not very prominent on the X3 websites.  I have not found a clear and convicting presentation of the gospel for the lost such as the one here or such as is found in the resources here on X3 Watch or its related websites, much less an exposure of false teaching and false gospels following the pattern of Christ (Matthew 24) and His Apostles (Acts 8;Galatians 1:8-91 John 2:22).  The organization does not fit the model of what Scripture teaches about a faithful church (see also here).  Nor are careful Biblical studies of the doctrine of sanctification and the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in progressively eradicating indwelling sin and renewing the saints in holiness, because of the miraculous destruction of the dominion of sin through the new birth, especially easy to find.  However, for Internet filtering and accountability, as well as material on dealing with pornography, X3 is definitely useful.

While X3 Watch is probably cheaper than Covenant Eyes for most people, there are certain losses that come with the lower price tag.  Prominent among these is the lack of phone support.  With X3, you cannot just pick up the phone and speak to a human being if you have an issue setting up your filtering and accountability software.  They do have support and Frequently Asked Questions pages with helpful videos and written material that users can navigate, pages which are definitely helpful, and one can communicate with X3 via e-mail.  You can download their quick reference guide by clicking here.  For significant numbers of users, paying a little more each month with Covenant Eyes is worth it because of the phone support and more reliable customer service.  For a significant number of other users, these negatives are outweighed by the bottom line that X3 Watch simply costs less.    To sign up for X3 filtering and accountability or to get more information about X3 Watch, click on the banner below:

X3 Watch

It should also be noted that there are ways to get a church or other organizational system with Covenant Eyes that will lead to their product being cheaper per person than X3 Watch; see here for more information.
This post is an excerpt and abridgment of the study here.


Farmer Brown said...

I have the pay version of X3. Not very satisfied. Here are the reasons:

1. Filtering software is incompatible with work computers. This is not an X3 problem, but all filtering software. If you use your computer for work with any specialized programs, you most likely will not be able to use any filtering software.

Basically, if you transmit any information that is protected, medical, SSN, DL#, insurance, banking, credit card, the sites involved will not tolerate monitoring. In fact, you may be breaking the law if you allow traffic with that info to be routed through a filtering proxy.

2. The way they do accountability is through a proxy server. This means there are periods of slowdowns if their server is busy. Be ready for a lot of "page cannot be found" type errors. Also, some banks and other high security websites will balk at the proxy connection.

3. Tech support is not great. It is all by email, and some questions just go unanswered.

4. Some important extensions and addons do not play well with a proxy server for the same reason the banks do not. They think your internet connection has been hacked and rerouted and lock you out. Same for google drive. Continual problems. No fix for this yet by X3.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Kent,

My family also has the TV Guardian bad language filter and we have a Clearplay Blu-ray player which filters Blu-ray and DVD movies from sexual content, bad language, gore, violence and even disrespect to parents. Worth checking out, if anyone is interested.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer,

Thanks for the heads up. I have Covenant Eyes, partially because of some of the support issues you mentioned here. We actually got a church group together (see on that) so that we each pay c. $4 a month for a service with better support than X3. I have had no problems of any kind accessing my bank(s), etc.

With the job thing, at work none of the computers are filtered, but what you do on the web is monitored so you would get fired for looking at bad stuff. That may not be what you are talking about, though.