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Review of Accountable2You

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Technology - that double edged sword! How I love it and how I hate it. I'm sure many of you feel the exact same way. I have struggled with allowing my children freedom with their technology; I know that I have erred on the side of too much freedom. I have tried filtering software, but I could never figure out how to let them do their schoolwork with it in place and I gave up. I have never felt easy since...until now. Accountable2You is not filtering software, and its Family Plan allows me to monitor my children's activity on all of their devices. Accountable2You lets me know what they are doing and when, and for me, with children 15, 13, and twins nearly 12, that is far more effective than filtering software.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

How Does it Work?

Accountable2You can be installed on up to 20 devices in your home, including desktops, laptops, iPhones, Android phones, iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fires. It works on Mac and Windows. Truly, I don't have a device it doesn't work on (and I have many devices)! The directions for installing the software (or apps) on devices are clear, so don't be intimidated by the process - just jump right in and get started. With Accountable2You, you can set words as Questionable, Highly Questionable, or Not Questionable words (for myself, I realized rather quickly that if I didn't want a bunch of flagged items, I should exclude the word "breast." I search for recipes for chicken breasts *a lot*). Once you install Accountable2You, you designate an "accountability partner" to whom information will be sent (typically in a daily emailed digest, although the information can be accessed online anytime under the "reports" section of the website). The idea behind Accountable2You is that when you know that someone else sees what you're doing online (or on the computer), you will be much more aware of your activity.

Our Experience

Last thing's first - I'm very glad to know about this product, and when our complimentary review year is up, I absolutely plan to subscribe to the family plan for $9.99/mo. Having said that, I don't feel 100% good about using it. I have Accountable2You installed on my kids' phones, devices, and computers, and the amount of information that I now have access to about their "on-device" behavior is overwhelming. We are a very technology-driven household. My husband and I each have iPads, Kindle Fires (and I have a Paperwhite), laptops, desktops, Galaxy Note phones, and he has an iPhone for work. My kids all have smartphones and Kindle Fires, and the two eldest have laptops. It would not be accurate to say that we live on our devices, but it would definitely be fair to say that, because of work, school, and activities, we are far from Luddites. I will tell you that I am very aware of what my kids are doing online, and I am probably right 98% of the time, but it's that 2% that causes me angst. Hence, my deep appreciation for this program. 

*Now* I know *exactly* what my kids are doing every single second they are on a device with Accountable2You on it. I see every song played on Spotify and every podcast added to a playlist. I see how long it takes them to read a page on a book. That's why I say the information is overwhelming. The fact that I have access to this information (information is stored for 15 days, at which point you must either download it from Accountable2You or say goodbye to it) makes me wonder who else has access to it. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but the fact is that it must be stored *somewhere* and that means that someone else can get at it. As a Libertarian-leaning conservative, I have a fundamental problem with that idea. So what does a snapshot in my 13 year-old son's life on his computer look like? 


For details, I can select a different view:


This view shows me exactly what he was doing in those 2+ hours on Spotify (Maroon 5 - yuck!). 

Here's what an overview of multiple device activity looks like:


My 11 year-old son, Mikey, generated a highly questionable incident when he was playing Words with Friends on his phone and he tried out the words "nude" and "sex" (hey, if you can put an x on a double letter, more power to you!). Accountable2You is so detailed that I could tell that he was testing those words for point potential, because the screen showed me "nude-cancel," indicating that he put up that word and then took it down. That's what I mean when I say that this program is *detailed*. "Chow" generated a red dot because she initiated a private browsing session on her phone. Accountable2You tracks those and everything in them, too.

In sum, then, I feel much better about my kids being on their devices so much (for school, chatting with their friends, reading, gaming) now, but I feel a little, well, weird, about how much information I have access to. The good thing is that I control how much I choose to see. I can either sift through pages of Spotify song choices, or I can just monitor for "Questionable" and higher hits. Overall, though, I definitely recommend Accountable2You to everyone with teens and tweens.

54 other Crew members have been trying out Accountable2You, so be sure to click the banner below to read all the reviews.


Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}


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1 comments:

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