Accountability software, or Internet accountability software, is a type of Internet usage monitoring software marketed by groups opposed to pornography, such as Christian groups in the United States. To try to avoid pornography use, some individuals install accountability software, and filtering software, on their own computers, smartphones, and tablets. Others install such software on their children's computers and devices.
The largest users of accountability software are religious groups and families. One of the largest for-profit companies marketing accountability software, called Covenant Eyes, makes roughly US $4 million per year from around 56,000 customers who pay for a subscription. Ever Accountable, Accountable2You, and Lion are other popular for-profit companies who have designed accountability software for various platforms. Each company uses a slightly different approach for providing protective internet experiences.
Conservative American states like Utah have more paying pornography subscribers per capita than blue states, and are more likely to self-diagnose as "addicts", and best-selling Christian anti-masturbation books encourage Evangelical men to stop using internet pornography and focus sexual attention on their wives. Sarah Diefendorf, a sociologist at the University of Washington, found that Evangelical men who took an abstinence pledge before marriage "still struggle with issues like excessive pornography viewing, masturbation" when married.
"Internet accountability" is a neologism used to describe a commitment to refrain from using Internet pornography. Accountability software may monitor Internet use on a personal computer, or Internet use by a specific user on a computer. These software applications then generate reports of Internet use viewable by a third party, sometimes called an accountability partner.
Most accountability software costs money to use, but there are free options including Net Responsibility (for Mac OS and Linux) and the free version of X3watch (for Windows and Mac OS). A 2011 Swinburne University report discusses some commercial options for computers, including Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes. Smartphone and tablet users, if they do not want to pay for accountability software, may still be able to obtain no-cost filtering software.
- XXXChurch Pastor and Porn Star Find Some Common Ground at christianpost.com "XXXChurch.com also encourages accountability through its filtering software "X3watch," which sends an email or text message to a person's accountability partner every time he or she visits a questionable website"
- "Orthodox Jews Rally to Keep the Internet Kosher". WIRED. 23 May 2012.
- Behun, Richard Joseph; Sweeney, Valerie; Delmonico, David L.; Griffin, Elizabeth J. (2012). "Filtering and Monitoring Internet Content: A Primer for Helping Professionals". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. 19 (1–2): 140–155. ISSN 1072-0162. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.666425.
These tools are especially popular with religious groups and families.
- "Sumbission - Covenant Eyes, Inc.; Ronald DeHaas (CEO), author Filter Plus Accountability Software" (PDF). submission to law.harvard.edu.
- "Accountability Software - Comparing 5 of the Best Tools". Communicate Jesus. 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
- Paul Olaf Chelsen (2011). "An Examination of Internet Pornography Usage Among Male Students at Evangelical Christian Colleges". Loyola University Chicago.
79.3 percent of male undergraduate students at Evangelical colleges reported accessing Internet pornography at some point in the previous year, with 61.1 percent reported accessing Internet pornography at least some amount of time each week
- Dagmar Herzog (2008). Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00214-6.
- "ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn". Marketwire.
- "More than half of Christian men admit to watching pornography". The Washingtion Times.
Vinny Barborka. "Utah: Pornography Capital of America?". Social Dialogue. University of Utah.
"Utah: Online Porn Capital of America?". PCWorld. 3 March 2009.
"Which State Consumes The Most Online Porn?". Consumerist.
Conservative Christians also report using pornography at a similar rate to the general population.
- Grubbs, Joshua B.; Exline, Julie J.; Pargament, Kenneth I.; Hook, Joshua N.; Carlisle, Robert D. (2014). "Transgression as Addiction: Religiosity and Moral Disapproval as Predictors of Perceived Addiction to Pornography". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 44 (1): 125–136. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 24519108. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0257-z.
- "Your Belief in Porn Addiction Makes Things Worse". Psychology Today.
- "Religious People More Likely To Feel They're Addicted To Porn, New Study Shows". The Huffington Post.
- Abel, Jennifer. "Researchers: pornography addiction isn't real Though self-identified porn addicts are probably sincere". Consumer Affairs. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- Staff. "Christians fear porn addiction A psychology study found that people who regard themselves as very religious may regard themselves as addicts – even if they watch internet porn only once.". Health24.com. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- Eric Tiansay. "WaterBrook Multnomah titles achieve sales milestones". Christian Retailing.
- 'Soulgasms' and the War on Masturbation. YouTube. 11 December 2008.
- Dagmar Herzog. "Fear and Loathing". Lapham's Quarterly.
In a similar vein, an enterprising group of evangelicals hit the jackpot with a series of books (replete with accompanying audiotapes, workbooks, and expensive weekend workshops) that gave men guidance on breaking their porn habit and redirecting their sexual desires to their flesh-and-blood spouses. The target audience was enormous. The fact that three million copies of these books were sold within seven years suggests the extent of the emotional pain gripping the American heartland.
- Alice Robb. "Secular Sociologist Studies Evangelical Virgin Men Who Got Married - The New Republic". The New Republic.
- Sarah Diefendorf (9 October 2015). "What happens to men who stay abstinent until marriage?". The Conversation.
- Porn again (World (magazine)) "programs track web browsing and deliver regular e-mail updates to an accountability partner of choice."
- Church Counsels Women Addicted to Pornography at nytimes.com
- Grundy, Judith; Grundy, John (August 2011). Australian Social Services Agency Software: Requirements, Current Usage and Opportunities (PDF) (Technical report). Victoria, Australia: Swinburne University Faculty of ICT. Retrieved 12 August 2013.