Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2012 21:06 Written by YU Blogs Monday, 21 May 2012 20:59
New York - On Sunday tens of thousands of Jews filled Citi Field in Queens and heard from Haredi leaders that the Internet should be avoided in the home at all costs and used sparingly at work, and then only with a filter blocking out content that could be damaging spiritually.
Debate as you will what some may see as draconian edicts to protect the Jewish community from moral corruption. But at the heart of the matter is a question that should concern us all: How do we keep our children safe on the Internet?
We know that we cannot work around the Internet. Research from the Pew Foundation indicates that 54 percent of children say that they go to Google first when they have a question, as opposed to only 26 percent who say they go to a parent and three percent who say they go to a teacher. Rather, we must figure out how parents and teachers can make this important tool work safely and effectively for our kids.
The difficulty is that even the simple solutions are incredibly complicated.
Powerful filters can block illicit images and material but those filters often block out the good with the bad and limit far too much useful information. This solution has been discussed and debated on our own campus concerning Internet access in dormitories.
Some yeshivot have considered avoiding technology altogether and sticking with books and blackboards. But that would leave students without the digital competence required to succeed academically in college and beyond, not to mention that it would rob teachers of increasingly exciting and effective educational tools.
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Dr. Eliezer Jones is the educational technology specialist at Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership. Dr. David Pelcovitz is the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Jewish Education at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. The opinions expressed above are solely those of the authors and should not be attributed to Yeshiva University. For more information about safe Internet rules and guidelines, visit: www.yuschoolpartnership.org/parentguidedigitalage