Photos: 1,500 Lakewood Parents Attend Asifa About Cell Phone Dangers

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rav-chaim-aharon-weinbergLast night, a gathering for all parents of high school students in Lakewood – fathers and mothers – was held at Bais Faiga Hall to raise awareness of the spiritual dangers inherent in many of the technological devices available today and specifically cell phones.

With technological advances being made at a rapid clip, mechanchim and parents were urged to not only keep pace, but to be a step ahead, in order to protect Yiddishe children from the harmful elements that are out there.

The speakers at last night’s event included the mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, Rav Matisyahu Salomon; Rav Chaim Aharon Weinberg, menahel of Yeshivat Ateret Torah; and Rav Nechemiah Gottlieb, who all gave impassioned pleas to parents to protect the ruchniyus of their children.

Rav Weinberg implored the parents to prevent their children from obtaining spiritually dangerous devices that can wreak havoc on their pure neshamos.

The speakers urged the attendees to have the strength to say “no” to their children when necessary and not surrender to their children’s wants and demands.

Rav Weinberg depicted the ever-present dangers of cell phones and made it clear what children can get entrapped in and how vigilant parents must be during these turbulent times.

Many of the incidents that were told regarding the dangers of text messaging and cell phones shook the assemblage to its core, as story after story was shared about how text messaging has literally ruined the lives of untold numbers of frum teens.

Many of the parents left dumbfounded, not having been aware of what is occurring in countless communities, including their own, with not enough being done to combat the dangers.

See below for photos of the asifa:

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  1. So what is being done? Many parents are powerless! Shouldn’t there be an outrite ban at having cellphones with texting capabilities?

  2. Teaching our children (and being an example yourself) about “Kedusha” and “Shemiras Ha Eynayim” is the answer.
    Just saying “no” to those gadgets is not going to work anymore.
    What works is lots of love, and lots of tefillos.

  3. I thought it was all the other reasons that was making the kids go off
    now your telling me its just a simple thing like an inappropriate text message a misused ipod with wifi connection wow I wonder if all those teens that went off that have all the most elaborate excuse for there bad behavior will now find themselves high and dry and only themselves to blame
    Wow finally the light is coming through keep up the good work for as long as we don’t address the root of the problem (todays genarations inability to have some self control) we can make excuses from today till tomorrow we will never solve the problem

  4. If the mechanchim are suggesting that the parents keep “a step ahead”, why not help them do that by providing education about the specific technologies to the parents. Parents need help in understanding exactly what hi-tech devices their kids are using and how they are being used.

  5. Does this mean it’s not the fault of the Rabaim!!!!!! That’s a breath of fresh air.

    Because I am a Rebbi and it seems that every time a kid goes of the derech its some how the Rebbis fault. Never the parents who give these things to their kids and certainly never the kids fault themselves, they were destined for greatness never even had a Yetzer Harrah.

  6. In my conjecture, I semblance the exigency to divulge into the fact that the internet and its ability to enmesh ones mind. Hours upon hours can be consumed by this incongruous device. Jewish children should be indulging their minds in torah oriented affairs. However, the ability to communicate through hand held devices is genius.We can spend hours discussing the dangers of text messaging. The yetzer hora of our swamped generation is indeed loshon hara, tziniut, honesty. To preach about such trifiling topics is certainly a waste of our time and teshuva. We should adjust our mindset to the AUTHENTIC yetzer hora of all generations. I understand that anything such as a cellular phonet is harrowing at a certain sickening degree. There are those who have reached that level in which the “blackberry” is their avoda zara. Removing ones phone in the duration of tefilah is a stage in which so many unfortunatly can relate too.
    “Too much of anything will harm you in the end”
    -Tori Amos

  7. guy – i guess rav matisyahu just made it up then, chas veshalom.

    glad to know we can make you our manhig now, what a relief! until now i thought gedolei torah were supposed to lead klal yisroel – oh well, no ‘guy’ has shown us that we really need ‘guys’.

    there’s a lot of psychology behin text messaging – the fact that it seems so pareve is hagufa the reason why it’s so dangerous. people get a message or a number, and a good guy wont talk to a girl, but texting is a different story – the mind works differently with written words – they dont seem to be communication, it’s just a message, just a joke..then it’s chillul shabbos with a chevra that has mohawks and so on

  8. And what was the reason kids went of the derech before cell phones and internet? Listen to Michoel Shnitzlers song and you’ll have the answer.
    Our system as a whole is Bankrupt. Nobody knows how to fix it so they are blaming it on materialistic things. We! parents and our Leadrers are responsibile for this out of control problem.
    “Throw out and don’t except and abuse a few more kids from our institutions and everything will be alright, as long as there no cellphones!!! :(“

  9. You are able to disable the texting feature on cell phones. Just call your cell phone provider and tell them you do not want the texting feature. Then when someone sends a text you won’t be charged for the text and you won’t be able to receive them.

  10. text messaging is a wonderful feature on our cellular phones! i have heard this arguement before — will somebody please share a story of how texting “ruined somebodys life” — it seems ridiculous!

  11. Texting is terrible. Children can use it spread accounts of other evil deeds which should not be repeated because of looshon horah

  12. Guy and #19: I am venturing a guess that you are both very very young and could imagine life without texting!!! The thought almost makes you feel faint, right??! Texting, like any other form of modern technology can be misused and abused – AND IT CERTAINLY HAS BEEN – I know from personal experience and from others: loshon hara, harassment/bullying amongst teenagers and even younger, cheating, doing “things” behind a parent’s back, just to name a few! While I have also received texts regardng the need to say tehillim, for example (and that is a wonderful advantage), however, as with all new technological advancements (phone, internet, cameras!! etc.,) careful scrutiny must be utilized by parents, teachers, etc. when allowing a cell phone to be used a child (and yes, anyone under 18 is still a child!) Have you ever noticed how “kids” today can’t even go to the bathroom without their cell phones!!! So Guy and #19, helloooo, wake up and smell the coffee, get with the program!!! TEXTING CAN BE A VERY BIG PROBLEM! The Rabbonim are justifiably concerned! And YOU should be too!

  13. As usual, the obscurantist ostrich heads are blindsided by yet another technological advancement that they can’t deal with. They should have learned by now (but haven’t and won’t) that if you don’t acknowledge the outside world, it will find you anyway and bop you on the head.

  14. I love the posters who write, its this generations problem, this generation has no self control, this generation are selfish. Well sorry folks, this generation (including me) ARE YOUR KIDS.

  15. to all those naive people, I just sent a text to my wife and I’m still doing fine.

    That’s not what R’ Matisyahu meant.

    The problem is that anything any normal parent would want to protect their kid from, the things that make us an Am Kadosh (the list begins, T.V. Movies, etc. etc.) is ALL available on that little handset. I learn in a yeshiva helping out struggling teens. They spend hours in the bathrrom at the back of the yeshiva, so they can pick up the neighbours wifi. So don’t be naive and say, “well it’s only a text message”. It’s EVERYTHING and it’s available EVERYWHERE.

  16. To #20
    to what you said about texting and Loshn Hora, Harassment ETC. You dont need to have texting for that to happen. It could happen by telephone or by Email.

  17. #10, I’ve heard that using cars has been connected to horrible disfigurement or even death.

    #11, do you really think there’s a straight line between a boy talking to a girl and chillul shabbos? If anything, its that attitude that causes kids to go off. After all, if having a conversation with a girl is enough to brand them as a bad kid, why not just dump the whole thing?

    #23, do you realize how offensive that comment is? The implication is that any parent who allows their kids to watch TV, etc. is not “normal.” There are a lot of fine frum people who would disagree with you.

    The solution is to teach responsible use, not to brand every new form of communication as evil and dangerous. We allow people to drive cars despite the potential danger, but we require them to learn how to operate the car responsibly. Everything is potentially dangerous.

  18. #24: You’re right. The problem is everywhere. Texting is yet another vehicle for kids (and unfortunately for adults too) to misuse and abuse. THE POINT IS: IT IS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS ATTENTION!!!!

  19. This article(and many of the comments on it) is simply further proof that one vital ingredient for a meaningful and successful life is in seriously short supply today:


    Here is all the proof I need that we are clueless:

    “With technological advances being made at a rapid clip, mechanchim and parents were urged to not only keep pace, but to be a step ahead, in order to protect Yiddishe children from the harmful elements that are out there.”

    Uh Huh.

    Let me get this straight……Parents and teachers who don’t know Wi-Fi from WiMax, 3G from 4G, or laptops from netbooks are supposed to not just keep pace with technology, but stay a step ahead of their children?

    Children have ALWAYS been ahead of parents and teachers in this arena. If they are determined, they will find a way……

    Technology is a tool which is neither inherently good nor inherently evil. Our children are exposed to good and bad influences and images every day and ,short of locking them up in a mountain-top monastery in Nepal, there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

    What you CAN do is teach your children to make good choices, to not be afraid to communicate with you no matter how uncomfortable the subject may be, and to value and not ridicule what the Torah says.


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