Last year, Plough was very kind to publish this piece about how people can support their loved ones in breaking free from porn addiction. In the inscrutable councils of the algorithm, it showed up in the first page of Google results for “porn” for a day or two, so a lot of people read it that very clearly needed it. I was subsequently asked by Covenant Eyes to become an affiliate, which means that if you click on this link and use the code LOFTUS, you’ll get a month of the service for free and I get a small commission.
Am I selling out to The Man? I’m not gonna lie: tortilla chips are quite expensive here in Kenya, so yes, I am. Do I actually believe in what I’m hawking? Yes, absolutely. I’ve been using Covenant Eyes for the better part of a decade now, and it’s really helpful. The way that it works (sending random screenshots of your activity to your accountability partner and flagging AI-sensed “suspicious” activity in a weekly report) is pretty effective for someone like me, since it looks at everything that’s on your screen and not just URLs or particular apps.
I can say with all honesty that I do not know how often it will fail to flag a pornographic image as such because I’ve never tried. I can say that it will often give you false positives, like flagging The Great British Bake Off as suspicious (don’t ask me why). I’ve only ever used it on PC & Android, and it does not have the same robust monitoring on iOS due to the limitations of what iOS apps are allowed to do. Like all filters, it is neither foolproof nor addict-proof and requires a certain level of invasiveness in your system. Like all filters, it is only useful in the context of a balanced recovery plan, including intensives like Bethesda Workshops, Faithful and True, or Restoring the Soul or online and in-person meetings like Samson Society, Celebrate Recovery, Sexaholics Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous. (I do not get any commission for linking to these, they’re just worthwhile.)
Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org