DO YOU KNOW
WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING?
parents who have Internet in the house without a site-screening service, are transgressing against their children.
As we mentioned, from time to time, we will be turning this blog over to people who have important things to say. Rabbi Elisha Aviner is considered one of the top educators in the religious Zionist movement in Israel, specializing in the complex world of teenagers and their parents. We have translated portions of an article he wrote for the weekly Hebrew journal, “B’Ahavh V’B’Emunah,” published by the Machon Meir Yeshiva. Basing the article on research statistics, he warns the parents of religious teenagers, and the heads of their schools, to wake up to the very real dangers of pornography on the Internet. As we approach Shabbat Zachor, when we are obligated to remember what Amalek did to us, our fight against pornography in our homes takes on added importance:
“A research study conducted at the University of Haifa, regarding the teenage viewing of Internet pornography revealed a wide difference between what young people admitted watching and what their parents thought they were watching. 60% of the young people admitted they regularly visited porn sites, while only 16% of their parents believed that their children would do such a thing. 60% of young people are watching pornography and smut!!!! This is a staggering percentage! It has to set of a red light for everyone who is concerned with their children’s future. There was no specific survey for the religious
public. However, other less professional surveys amongst religious teenagers have indicated that while the percentage of porn site surfers is less, it is not less by any dramatic degree. This is a blow that we can not run away from. The illusions of parents are also a source for concern. An intense campaign of education is needed to counteract this. Since there is a simple and inexpensive solution – the installation of a censorship filter that prevents entry into immoral websites – one must ask the question, why don’t religious parents equip their computers with this readily available service? Perhaps this stems from a lack of awareness. Perhaps from a too naïve attitude, as if to say, “This could never happen in our home.” Perhaps it is laziness or parental carelessness. The fact is - parents who have Internet in the house without a site-screening service, are transgressing against their children.
“While a school’s responsibility is toward the children and not the parents, sometimes positive educational goals cannot be reached without also educating the parents. It is impossible to educate a young person toward the values of holiness and the reverence of G-d while the Internet drags him down and down into an abyss of pollution.”
Therefore, Rabbi Elisha Aviner concludes, schools must undertake an urgent campaign to educate parents, even to the point of refusing to register children who have uncensored Internet at home. The Torah prohibition against viewing pornography, he notes, applies to both adults and children alike. Thus parents cannot evade their responsibility by hiding behind the flag of freedom of expression and their right to view what they please.
Let’s face it. Any society that allows the evils of pornography to flourish under the banner of free expression is an evil society. We don’t have to feel embarrassed in demanding the obliteration of this evil from the world. That is one of our missions as G-d’s holy nation on earth. This is one of the ways that we can fulfill the commandment to blot out the memory of Amalek, whose strategy has always been to sever the connection between the Jewish People and G-d by luring us into sexual transgression. And if it is not yet in our power to rid the world of its cyberspace garbage, at least we can be sure to do so in our homes - for the sake of our children.