Out with the New

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2 Responses

  1. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    There seems to me to be no insurmountable halachic problem with having a preferred standard alongside a fallback position. There are those who need internet for work or professional study. There are those who have different standards as in kashrut. The annoying thing is the denial. There are people in the hareidi community who have cabinets designed to hide a television as well.

  2. Observer says:

    I HAVE, in fact, given a lot of thought as to the issues of internet access and children. And that is *precisely* why the ban in Beitar Illit seriously problematic. The families that have internet access will, by and large be unable to afford to give it up because they don’t have it for entertainment, but for reasons such as parnasa. What will happen is the same thing that I have seen happen in other communities – parents will simply lie about the matter. What, exactly, do you think this is going to do to the chinuch of the children?

    And how, exactly, are you going to help kids come to terms with the fact that almost every chareidi publication – trumpeting its adherence to the guidelines of the Gedolin, even in their advertising – has multiple ads for non-business products that have web sites and email addresses, and that these same publications – also intended for the home and not business – all have email addresses where they can be reached, and most of them ALSO have web sites. Are you really willing to tell children that these addresses are for people who transact their *personal* business at work? What is THAT going to do to their chinuch?

    Before anyone jumps down my throat for saying that people are not giving up their internet access, allow me to give you a couple of examples of what I have seen and heard, either directly or from sources I beleive are trustworthy.

    One frum blogger describes how his friend took a notebook around the frum areas of lakewood shortly after a similar ban was announced there, and discovered dozens of open wireless networks with access to the internet. Given that not everyone who has internet access has wireless, it’s obvious that a substantial number of families have internet access.

    Someone from Lakewood who was doing a project for my organization discussed the possibility of getting short term internet access. One of the issues on the table was the high probability that they could pick up wireless access from the neighbors. (It turned out that when working from their apartment, they couldn’t, but from a relative’s house they could.)

    An employee at my organization came to me to discuss filtered internet options for home (I’m the IT person). The story was that the school their child was going to be starting had finally relented on its ban after one relatively high profile parent had forced the issue, but still required an acceptable filtering mechanism (which makes a lot of sense.) “So we need a good filtering service because we don’t want to lie about it, which is what parents have been doing until now.”

    Don’t get me wrong – the internet is scary. But, so are the streets of Manhattan and Tel Aviv. Worse, whether you have internet at home or not, any child who is going to work (and many who do stay in learning and / or Avodas Hokidesh) wind up needing the internet. Period. So, whether you have internet access in the house or not, you had better deal with the problem up front and give your children the chinuch to deal with it.

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