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Friday, March 18, 2005

Gilui Daas

In the March 9 edition of Hamodia, the kosher newspaper which is trayfe on the 'net, on page B13 the following "Gilui Daas" appears:

We the undersigned state that it is unequivocally osur to allow internet access to school children of all ages in any way at all (underlined in original). It is also incumbent upon all menahim and menahalos to ensure that this isur is complied with fully, without compromise, as this is a matter of drastic consequence to the nefashos of all students.

The Gilui Daas has 10 signatures. Eight are well respected Roshei Yeshiva. One is the Lakewood mashgiach and one is the Novominsker Rebbe.
There is a note below the Gilui Daas composed by a committee of unkown membership stating that anyone who must have an 'internet accessed' computer must keep it under 'physical lock and key' at all times which only the parents have access to.

Truthfully, my first reaction to the Gilui Daas was positive, because this one, unlike previous ones, skirts the urgent need of B'nai Parnoso to utilize the web, a significant step forward in the parallel reality of internet proclamations.

However I do have two questions:
1. What will become of these schoolchildren when they inevitably mature and need the web? Where is the concern for their spiritual future, as opposed to their here and now?
2. What are we doing for those parents of children who will not or cannot put it under lock and key. Who says that a home lock and key are not more easily subverted than a good filter? When, in the history of yeshivas, has a physical lock and key stopped bochurim who wanted to get in to a room?

The internet becomes stronger from day to day.

We cannot abdicate our responsibility to find technical solutions by putting the onus on the overburdened parent under threat of their childs' expulsion.
We cannot abdicate our responsibility for chinuch by placing newspaper ads. This is 'feel good' activism on the cheap.

Finally, for the straight and narrow among us who avoid the internet due to the 'kol koras', who will have the responsibility here and perhaps in the hereafter for the lack and nature of their parnosas as a result, and the effects of the internet on the 'shabbos goyim' who access the net for them?


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orthodox jews and the internet.