As we now approach the summer bein hazmanim, I am writing this open letter to all the parents of yeshivah bachurim and seminary girls on behalf of your very own children.
I have been approached numerous times on different occasions by yeshivah bachurim from many different yeshivos who have all given vent to their tremendous frustration as they prepared to return home for the bein hazmanim. These are all chashuve boys who made great effort throughout the zman to reach heights in Torah and yiras Shamayim and have seen much success. At this stage, when they feel so accomplished and proud of their achievements, they are filled with dread at the prospect of going back home and risking the loss of all they have gained, when they will be challenged with the trials of open unfiltered or poorly filtered internet, on the computer or smartphones that their parents have left at their disposal. They are still scarred from previous visits back home when they succumbed to the digital temptations while their parents were blissfully unaware. They cannot bring themselves to face this scenario once again.
These dear boys stand there with tears in their eyes, too embarrassed to say anything to their parents. In some cases, their request to their parents to filter their devices has been scorned or rejected.
Dear parents, your children are begging and pleading! “Tatty! Mummy! Please get rid of that open or semi-open internet! I just can’t bear coming home to these nisyonos anymore! You think you are giving me a comfortable, happy life by having a liberal open home? I hate it!”
I have raised this issue with many mechanchim and they all shake their heads knowingly. They know this story too well and are at their wits’ end.
Now, as your children are on their way home and you are looking forward to reaping the nachas, listen to their silent plea and do all you are able in order to make sure they are coming to a home that runs in line with their aspirations.
It may be difficult for many parents to understand where the children are coming from due to the tremendous generation gap that we experience. However, take their word for it. No! Self-control is not enough! Definitely not for an active teenager; no difference on which level they stand. The one and only solution is to get the internet out of the way or, at the very least, to have it really well filtered with a strong password on the device.
Wishing all parents great nachas from all their children.
Eli Shmuel Sufrin, Menahel of London’s Va’ad Mishmeres and TAG (Technology Awareness) Group member