2002: My father got the ‘Internet’ in his office for business reasons – no need to worry, right? Wrong!
As a young adolescent with hormones raging, all it took was a little hint from an immature classmate to spark off my curiosity, and with a little help from ‘Professor Google’, another young mind was quickly filled with the worst type of shmutz – the kind that a lions share (4/5ths) of websites are dedicated to, in one form or another.
Well, back then I was inexperienced, and did not know to delete my history. My father quickly caught on, and when confronted, as most children, I just shifted the blame (“There are other people who use your computer!'”. I may have been banned from using the computer for a while, but the damage was done.
2012: Oh, dearest Internet, how I wish you could go back to where you came from.
Many years have passed since my first clash with the obscenities of the Internet, years full of struggle. While I may be considered a chassidishe bochur by many, and come from a ‘gezeh’ family, I still feel the spiritual scars caused by the Internet, scars which every-so-often reopen, as I again fall prey to the oh-so-easily-reachable lusts of my Yetzer Hara.
So, why am I telling you this?!
I am telling you this because my heart breaks every time another Yiddishe neshomo irrevocably gets trapped in the ‘Net’ – it is preventable! How, you may ask, and here is where I am stuck.
Most teens have lots to teach their parents when it comes to technology, and even the best filters can quickly be rendered useless by a knowledgeable (Facebook) friend. You don’t even have to have a computer in order for every aspect of the Internet open before you – all you need is a portable device with wi-fi/cellular capabilities (including iPods and PsPs)!
Once someone has tasted ‘internet’, it will be an uphill battle to try and deny them access – ever heard of friends houses or internet cafes (or open wi-fi spots in the street)? And believe it or not, the dangers of the Internet are not limited boys – as far as I’m aware girls were created with a Yetzer HoRa as well!
But neither can we successfully completely cut ourselves off from the Internet, as we do with TV, because this world is becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet, from banking to traveling and heaps more.
So, do the pros weigh out the cons? I don’t know. All I know it that this generation needs serious guidance if we are to bring up a next generation of Yirei Shomayim.
This is a cry to Rabbonim, Mechanchim and community leaders – help! And this is a warning to parents – watch out before it’s too late, the Internet poses real dangers.
(And to all the commentators here on COLlive, I have no connection to the Cityfield asifa – I’m actually Europe based).