What does Covenant Eyes monitor?

This article describes our legacy Internet Accountability service, which monitors URLs. With Screen Accountability™, our program monitors screens.

When Covenant Eyes is installed on a computer, phone, or tablet, it captures and rates each piece of web content that it detects. It also captures the time and date when the piece of content was accessed on your device, as well as anything we know about that content (such as a web page’s title).

On Windows and Mac computers, we monitor all of the web content accessed by the device. That includes websites visited on a browser like Chrome or Safari, and it also includes browsing done in iTunes or on a desktop program like TweetDeck.

On Android™ phones and tablets, we monitor top-level domains accessed across the entire device.

On iPhones® and iPads® we monitor top-level domains accessed across the entire device, as well as web content generated through our browser.

Unlike your computer’s browsing history, this activity cannot be erased. All browsing activity is preserved on the Covenant Eyes servers for 30 days.

What Covenant Eyes does not monitor

Covenant Eyes is not a “keylogger.” It does not capture the keystrokes you enter. This means our service does not record sensitive or private information, such as email messages, instant messages, chat conversations, or any information you enter into text fields, whether as innocuous as a Facebook message or as sensitive as your credit card information.

Common Types of Web Content

In addition to the words on a page, most websites are made up of many other elements. Some of these elements are visible, such as links, images, embedded videos, or ads. Others are hidden, such as CSS files, which controls the size of the text, the colors of headlines, and other layout and formatting details. Each of these elements has a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

These URLs are like puzzle pieces. Seen on their own, they may or may not make much sense, but together, they create websites as we see them. A page on a news site, like the Huffington Post, may contain more than 100 URLs, each of which represents a photo, a story, a video, a link, or one of those hidden items.

Common visible media elements

Audio, video, and image files all come in a variety of file types. If you see a strange link in the Accountability report or the Detailed Browsing Log, check for these file types at the end of the URL. If they appear, you can make a reasonable guess that the element was visible on the website.

These are some of the most common file types:

  • Images: .png, .jpg, .jpeg, .ico, .svg, .bmp, .tiff
  • Video: .mov, .mpg, .mpeg, .m4v, .wmv
  • Audio: .mp3, .mp4, .wma, .wav

For example, if you see “national-geographic-grand-prize-photo.jpg” on a report, it’s probably safe to assume that the URL is an image or award winning photo from National Geographic. The URL “national-geographic-photographer-interview.mp3” is probably an audio interview with an award-winning photographer, and “national-geographic-winner-interview.m4v” is probably a video interview.

Another common file type is .gif. These are a set of repeating, still images, halfway between pictures and video. Think of them as mini, repeating slideshows or flipbooks. Animated .gifs are especially popular on sites like Buzzfeed and Tumblr.

Common underlying code elements

Covenant Eyes monitors all of the underlying code elements on a page. Here are some of the most common code elements:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): This defines the content of the page. It often includes page text and contains display information like paragraph breaks, titles, and bold or italicized text.
  • Flash: A multimedia and software platform that is used with media elements like animation, gaming, and videos.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): A library of information to describe the formatting of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. It defines things like the default font and space between paragraphs.
  • PHP (Hypertext Preprocesser): A language describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language like HTML.
  • JS (Javascript): This is a programming language used with HTML and CSS to build text.
  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notification): A text format based on Javascript that can be read by both people and machines.
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): A large system of servers deployed across the internet to provide content to members.
  • API (Application Programming Interface): A library that tells software components how to work together. They can also protect information using keys that restrict who gets certain information.
  • Java: A programming language designed to run in different settings without adjustment.
  • DNS (Domain Name System): The technical name for the system that translates IP addresses to domain names. If you see something like DNS://platform.twitter.com on your report, it simply means that twitter.com was accessed, whether directly by the member or as part of the underlying code of a website.

Some of these elements may be directly visible, such as ads, which may appear as Flash files or Javascript. Others, such as CSS, should never be directly visible to a person, but may appear on the report if some of the letters in the URL spell something inappropriate (such as the letters “SEX” randomly generating in order).


For example, this is a URL that appeared on an Accountability report. You can see that it is a .json file, which means it may be code used to display something, such as an ad. You can also see which CDN the ad network used to display it, and the website and blog post where it was displayed. This example was supporting code for an ad displayed on a Christianity Today article about women and porn addiction.

Most of these pieces of Web Content go unnoticed by the member, and only appear in the Detailed Browsing Log.

Again, the material here applies only to members using Internet Accountability.

Screen Accountability™ is a revolutionary new service that keeps you accountable by monitoring everything on your screen. Learn how Screen Accountability works.