The Matzav Shmoooze: Internet Yes or No?


kids-computers-internetDear Fellow Parents,

Yes, raising teenagers or for that matter any age kids these days is a lot tougher due to the lure of technology. I won’t bore you with pointing fingers at parents who have fallen in deep themselves or the pressure from friends not to be a nerd without a Smartphone or even texting.

Our schools seem to preach the same but unfortunately give assignments that are impossible without the internet. My daughter was ask by a teacher to “get” pictures on certain themes for a slide show to accompany the choir. Where does one go for this, to the library?

Another daughter in 12th grade is involved with many chesed projects and will be working in a camp for special children. The only communications she gets from the camp are via email. I am sure you’ve had the same experiences.

What am I supposed to say? We are told no, no, no, but lemaaseh, at the end of the day, everyone, including our schools, are turning to the (filtered) internet. So which is it?

A Frustrated Father who Wants to Do the Right Thing

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  1. Banning the internet altogether is a gezeira she’ein hatzibbur yachol la’amod bo.

    Many poskim have allowed filtered internet. One should ask his personal posek for a ruling appropriate for his situation.

  2. Filtered Internet is OK. If your children need an email address (only if they are teenagers and responsible) then it may be OK. One idea is for you to keep their email password. If they need to login you can do it for them. Another idea is to spot check their email time to time. Don’t forget to check their deleted items.

    Another idea is you do the searches for them….

    Note: I am no Rabbi so please consult with your LOR.

  3. I have the same issue with my childrens school. They demand cetian reports be done which require the internet. At the same time I have to sign a paper each year saying that I will not let my children use the internet.

    WHat I have stareted doing is sending a noite back to school saying that my child cannot complete the assignment since we do not have internet at home. This push back resolved the issue.

    SInce I have internet at work, I print out emails for my children there and bring them home.

    You are correct about the camps. We have long been saying that camps are anti educational.

    The camps should be confronted and required to change their system..

  4. it is NO. tell the schools that for religious reasons (ie Judaism), you cannot have internet in your house and that they need to accommodate you.

  5. I smell a troll just trying to provoke inappropriate positions. Two suggestions: 1) grow up and 2) consider getting your daughter a camera. Navigating the world is part of everyone’s avodas hakodesh.

  6. Once gedolim mattir Internet with a filter, there is no makom for a school to say “NO INTERNET!” . This is precisely why many Roshei Yeshiva were against the effort and gatherings because as many times that they said “If you don’t need it don’t get it! ” with utmost sincerity, the gathering WAS mattir filtered Internet. At this point, it’s kind of foolish for a school to ignore the resource the Internet truly is. Sit with your kid and help him or her with their report and teach them how to use it because in all likelihood they will have it in their houses and be using it when they get older.

  7. Just 1 opinion:

    I firmly believe that in our communities (don’t know about Eretz Yisroel) not having internet at all is counter-productive. When something is so widespread, and it’s merely a tool – not something that’s only bad – if you don’t have it at all you become either insecure and left out, or develop an extreme superiority over others…

    It’s so much better to have your children see you in action how you handle the internet, and they’ll SEE CLEARLY WHERE THE RED LINE IS, which they won’t learn anywhere else, and the gray just gets bigger and bigger… as children, now is the time to get hands on direction from parents in this very crucial temptation.

    Only keep a computer in an open area, like a den, etc. and secure it with filters upon filters.

    And yes, if your child is cunning and sneaky enough he/she can still get around it, but doing this early enough will DECREASE THE ODDS of them loosing that trusting relationship, which is really the only good filter. If the trust is lost, chas veshalom, even no computer and steel bars on all windows won’t do it.

  8. Why is it that in Chassidishe circles the schools have very strong policies that no school project should require internet usage, and I’m speaking about chassidishe girls high schools that have alot of extra curricular activity.

  9. unless one is living on another planet or does not have kids in school then you don’t understand the reality.
    At least 90 percent of schools – yes even yeshivishe schools, are giving homework to the kids that even though can be painstakingly done without internet with a lot of time and effort, in reality 95 percent of the kids are doing them with internet and your kid will feel completely inadequate and inferior if he or she does it without the internet.
    So, it is hypocritical of schools to demand no internet when they are in some way advocating it’s use

  10. “another father”, you amaze me – you’re an example to all, your tzidkus shows thru & thru
    that’s the best way to handle it – only at the office, any internet at home is 99.9% of the times used for stam batteling

    also, please keep in mind that filters are generally useless. they try to filter out content based on text, and some have even attempted – with a pretty low success rate – to filter out images based on certain colors.
    i, as a veteran computer programmer, know that to perfect such a plan is a monumental task, that’s bound to yield unwanted results, hashem yerachem
    these filters cannot filter out videos, and that’s where the biggest of trouble begins

    so everyone out there, stick to “another father”‘s example, and simply don’t have internet at home. period

  11. Most kids know how to circumvent filters
    The answer is, as always, just say no. You are your parents mechanech, not the school, and don’t expect society or gedolim to bend to your problems. You have to use your sechel, with or without advice from smarter people than yourself, to achieve your goals.

  12. when I was growing up and there was no internet,everytime we needed to do a report, we had to mail away requests to all these foreign embassies, states, countries, etc. then await all the pamphlets and that is where we gathered our information from. granted this is a much slooower way of doing things, but you don’t NEED the internet. having someone at work print it out for you is another idea…

  13. There were great protests when cars became attainable by the masses

    There were great protests against simple cell phones until it because part of our lives.

    There were great protests against texting, yet it is now part of our lives.

    There are great protests against the internet, yet it is quickly becoming part of our lives.

    Yidden had better learn quickly how to be responsible for their own actions and protect their children, but it can’t be stopped, and unless you plan on going to live in a Shteitel without electricity, it’s going to be part of your life.

    Put in filters, public space… but it’s here for good.

    Deal with it, and stop talking about it.

    There will always be abusers and failures, but that doesn’t define us, and it’s a small percentage.

    For goodness sake – just be responsible and stop talking about it already.

  14. for those that say no to having the internet in the home with a proper filter, I have a question.

    Do you expect your kids to grow up knowing that internet is assur and then all of a sudden when they get a job – probably after they are married and out of the house – it will become muttar?

    When are we teaching them how to use the internet responsibly? Or is that something that does not need to be taught?

  15. To Michoel,
    I assume you are not of the same religion as the writer. You suggest that for “religious reason” she can not have the internet. You apparantly DO have the internet. so fess up, what religion are you??

  16. We have totally unfiltered Internet in our home. I spot check my children’s devices 3 time a week. I’m a bi of a techi so I know how to find all the hidden stuff, and “residue” of files you think you deleted. I’ve neve once found anything that my wife and I disapprove of. Maybe the solution is unfiltered Internet. If you ban something it will only make your kids more curious about it.

  17. From one parent to the next, I’d rather my kids use my filtered computer than use the library’s or someone else’s. The point is, children are curious no matter how you may try to shelter them.

  18. There are many yeshivos who don’t give homework that requires internet. Take Mirrer Yeshiva Ktana, my son never asked me to use the internet for homework. Any technological device is banned there cracking down to a simple mp3 player.

  19. Yes, and if a boy is caught with any kind of device like that, it means suspension for a week, and the device being confiscated until the end of the year! THESE RULES ARE HEAVILY ENFORCED!