How can I tell if a site rated “M” or “HM” is really objectionable without going there?

The Covenant Eyes rating system measures mature content. These ratings range from “E” (appropriate for everyone) to “Highly Mature” (often highly sexualized content).  For the vast majority of cases, the higher the rating, the more objectionable the language and content is.

When you are unsure if a site rated “M” or “HM” is really inappropriate for you or your Accountability Partner, use the following tips.

  1. Have a clear idea about what you consider “objectionable.” Is it merely pornographic websites? Or are you also concerned about sites with profanity, violence, and/or risque content? Your answer to this question will largely depend on the person you hold accountable.
  2. Understand our rating system. Sites rated M may be considered inappropriate for some adults, but not all, and include dating sites, lingerie, crude humor, intense violence, and materials of a sexual nature. Sites rated HM are likely going to be inappropriate for all audiences, and include anonymizers, nudity, erotica, and pornography. (Read: “What do the ratings mean?“)
  3. Remember how Covenant Eyes monitors and records websites. Typically, a Web page is made up of individual URLs (such as links, photos, videos, banners, etc.). Each URL is rated by our system. Someone might visit an otherwise benign website that contains one or two highly rated links. Generally, if a mature website is visited, many or all of its URLs are given a high rating. Tip number 4 will help you in deciphering if the URL in question was possibly viewed or running in the background.
  4. Determine whether it was a Viewed Page, Secondary Content, or Web Content. Starting with Covenant Eyes for Windows versions, Mac version 2.5.0, and Android version 1.8.1, our software determines whether a URL accessed on a supported browser was specifically visited, or whether it is a supporting component of a website (such as an ad or piece of code). Each URL will either be Viewed Page, Secondary Content, or Web Content.
  5. Look up the site name or URL in a search engine. You can find out a lot about a website or URL by doing a search for it within a search engine. The search results tend to have more information about the site or URL and will help you better determine if this site is considered objectionable.
  6. Observe the domain name. Some domain names give away the objectionable nature of their content. In the Accountability Report, under the section “Activity for Review,” the highly rated URLs are listed by domain name.
  7. Make use of our Title Reporting feature. On both Accountability Reports and the Detailed Browsing Logs, page titles will appear above some of the URLs listed. Nearly always, URLs with titles represent titles of Web pages the user actually visited. The title may indicate to you the nature of the Web page in question. For instance, when a video is watched on YouTube, the title on the report is also the name of the video that was played. If the home page of is visited, the title may say “CNN Breaking News…”
  8. Make use of our URL notes. Below some Web addresses we provide a description of certain Web domains. Sometimes the URL notes give a reason why a high rating might be found on a particular site.
  9. Occasionally, sites are rated incorrectly. If you suspect the site has been rated in error, or have a further question about a URL, submit a rating change request. Our rating team reviews every request we receive. (Read: What is a rating change request? How can I submit one?)

If you are still unclear about the nature of a particular website, remember the overall goal of the Accountability Report is to help you start a discussion with the person you hold accountable. Take note of the day and the time the highly rated URL was accessed. Use the Detailed Browsing Logs to get a feel for the “context” of their Web browsing at that day and time. Using this information, ask your Partner about the questionable site. (Read: How do I talk to my friend about a high rating on his Accountability Report?)