Porn is everywhere. The media has been sexualized and porn is normalized in our day-to-day lives, and we are walking around everywhere with immediate access to all of that, right in our pocket. This is a really big deal for individuals struggling with addiction. All it takes is a single click.
So what can you do? How can we possibly stay afloat?
Well, there are a few ways. Some can be costly, others not. The important thing is to try and find a method of protection/filtration that fits your needs and aids your recovery. Here is a quick list of tips, tricks, and products to help you fortify (see what we did there?) your life.
Home Network Protection
As far as filtration services go, there are basically two options: application based and router based. Let’s talk about network routers.
The router is that little box in your house that makes the internet happen. Some companies have created routers that are programmed to filter all of the Internet in your house. This is a blanket strategy, every device connected to the network will be covered and admins will have access to viewing records so there is an element of accountability. And you just plug in the hardware and go. They usually require minimal setup and update automatically so you are always on top of web protection. This method can be very effective but it does have a specific flaw: it is localized. You obviously can’t take your home network with you so any devices that have data enabled on them or can access wi-fi outside the house won’t be protected.
Our recommendation for network-based protection is a system called Routerlimits. Their service is effective and relatively inexpensive. There is a cost associated with using this, so Fortify users should talk to their families or accountability partners to see if this is truly the best option.
We should also mention a service called OpenDNS. This is a cloud-based system that does almost the same thing as a programmed router. By logging on and creating a system, you create a proxy IP address that will filter web use. It has similar pros and cons to a router but there is a free option. Our only disclaimer is the not-so-tech-savvy may find it a little confusing.
Take It With You
Aside from protecting the network, the other most common strategy is a device-based solution. Using a downloadable program that can filter multiple browsers and record history. The holes in this plan is that there are some devices that won’t be covered, such as gaming systems. There usually isn’t a downloadable option for these devices but you can still check if they have settings that can restrict browser and internet use.
NetNanny is a great, comprehensive service. You can protect multiple devices depending on the option you choose and there is a safe-browser mode for smartphones. There is a subscription fee involved in this solution as well so, again, discuss with your family and accountability partner.
Some of you may be at the stage where you are less concerned with filtration but would like to have an accountability system in place that keeps you honest. Some of the blocking software we talked about above has these monitoring options but there are others that are built specifically just for accountability. Covenant Eyes and Teen Safe are systems that allow a third-party to see what is happening on different computers and devices. This strategy is great for Fortifiers because it promotes trust and communication. You will have to rely on your accountability partners and understand that they will see what you are doing. If you are at a point in your recovery where you trust yourself enough to be accountable instead of filtered, we recommend this philosophy.
Another company to watch out for is Pyur, the world’s first smart filter. They combine both network and application-based protection and have one of the most innovative filtration systems out there. They have not yet released their service but you can sign up for early-access on their site. They are currently expecting products to ship by the end of 2015.
- Whenever you set up a filtration system, you want to make sure you don’t have an easy way around it. For example: if you decide to use a safe-browser on your mobile device, make sure you delete other browsers like Safari or Chrome. After doing this, change the settings with your accountability partner to restrict downloading new apps without their passcode.
- Watch out for dating and social media apps. Go through your devices and eliminate any apps you think could be triggers. Twitter and Instagram can be big ones if you’re not careful.
- As we mentioned earlier, most gaming devices have internet access now. However, because many who own these consoles are kids, they often have built-in restriction settings. Talk to your family/accountability partner and make sure these gaming devices are protected for you.
Remember The Bigger Picture
A really important thing to remember is that web-restriction is not recovery. It is a band-aid on the issue. It can be very helpful and important tool but it is not the same thing as learning to resist urges and build strong connections in your life. Many people use filtration software because it allows them to slow down and get sober. Using web-protection may be a big step for you, but it should just be another weapon in your arsenal of all the other things you are doing to fortify your life.
Remember, recovery is about true change, not just stopping.