Married and Navigating Jewish Life

Blogging about marriage and relationships

About Technology: Part One (cell phones and home computer)

with 3 comments

This is going to be a continuing article on this blog. I feel that B”H I was blessed with parents who tackled technology when it came out and understood it, so many people did not have parents like that. I was able to be guided and sheltered while my friends were not. I know how good technology can be and how it can be used quite evilly (and evilly we are talking not for the good of Hashem or a Jewish Neshama) so I have decided to dedicate some time on this blog in an attempt to educate any of you who might not know a lot of about technology and how you can safe guard it for your children (and yourselves).

Cell Phones:

Bloggers Note: While many of the following ideas can be used upon any age group or with your spouse, we are primary focused on the group that has the most trouble with cell phones – teens. We do believe that if someone is out of HS then their privacy should be respected and remember that they are not a little child any more.

Most people are not attuned to how much a cell phone can we really change a teenagers life, or for that matter, a married person’s life. It keeps you in touch with the people you love, can be a life line, and can be used to circumvent any restrictions placed upon a child for use of houseline, Internet, or even text messaging.

How often do you go through the cell phone bills of others in the house hold? How often do you check those numbers with their friends, work, schools numbers? A terrific site Switchboard.com can help you back track the number if it is a house line (unless it is totally restricted/private) where as if it is a cell number then it should be your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child is using their cell phone responsibly and find out whose numbers are whom.

Also, does your child keep their cell phone at night? Why? What purpose does that do? They shouldn’t sleep with it. Teens especially need their rest.

Ask them when they are awake to show them their cell phone. See the numbers, check to see who is who. While they will more than likely resent this intrusion upon their privacy, think of it as something which can possibly help you and them in the future.

Get to know their friends, if you know their friends, you increase the chances of knowing who they come in contact with, especially with their cell phone.

With Internet access, why does your child need to IM all day? or to surf? Cut them off. Just because their friends have it doesn’t mean they should have it. Internet needs to be monitored and unmonitored use is just plain wrong.

The same thing with text messaging. Did they get a cell phone to text all day? Make sure there are restrictions on texting. Ask your child to share their text messages with you. Try and be involved with what they are doing and their interests.

Something new for those paranoid parents is GPS tracking. There are many companies now that will use your child’s cell phone as a GPS tracking unit which you could check online to see where they actually are.

This type of monitoring isn’t something to be done lightly, in fact, it would be very hard to do and retain a good relationship with your teen if you attempt to impose many of those restrictions. However, you are the parent. It is your duty to ensure their safety. This is a very tricky tightrope to try and walk.

It is our belief that parents need to be open with their children in order for their children to be open with them. One needs to remember that they are young adults and that they will and make decisions on a daily basis without ever coming to you about them. You need to be there to guide, protect, and stand with them through whatever challenges they are going through. By doing the above you can help protect them, but don’t go into it by just doing it. And even if you do it and you find something is going wrong, never ever condemn them or begin to punish them outright. Talk things out, figure what the two of you can do about these kind of situations. It is important that a child knows that you love and care for them. That no matter what you will love them. While it is hard if they would do certain actions, remember, you are responsible for bringing them into the world. You have a responsibility to ensure they are safe and loved. Anything less and against the contract that you and Hashem have in regards to being able to have been granted this unique neshama.

Computer at Home:

So you have a computer at home. Many of us do. But what can you do about it to ensure that the family has a clean good time of it? Here are some following ideas

1) Have an Admin account. Both you and your spouse have control of.

2) Any site you visit that requires an user name and password your spouse has it too.

3) You children are set to use their own private limited accounts. That you can control what they load and don’t load in the form of programs on the computer.

4) Monitor web usage on their computer. Do a google search for programs that track website visits.

5) Drastic: You can use a keyboard typing tracking program if you really suspect that something is going on badly with your children. HOWEVER if you ever do use such a program, PLEASE, do not use it to confront, condemn, punish, and make your child feel like they are being cornered. We do NOT recommend this, and if you do this, then you need to handle it with very soft gloves. This is not something to do and then use it as a club. We only put this one down because we are of the opinion of letting people decide what to do, and just because we disagree with it, doesn’t mean it might be a valid option for others.

6) Password lock the security features on your web browser to prevent certain websites from being able to come up (usually good for preventing xxx or other type of sites from coming up).

7) If just doing a usual password lock won’t cut it, places like Koshernet.com give the ability to filter out certain areas/sites of the internet in a kosher way.

8 ) THE MOST IMPORTANT: Keep the home computer in an area where A) People walk through a lot B) Is in the open C) Cannot be in a room that can be closed off. This allows for everyone to see what is going on with the computer.

For more specific helpful information, feel free to leave comments on this topic. Thanks

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Written by frombrooklyn

February 18, 2007 at 4:11 PM

3 Responses

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  1. Great advice!

    independentfrumthinker

    February 20, 2007 at 5:44 AM

  2. Thanks. I talk to other people, especially the parents of my friends and they give me blank stares about all of these ideas. If you are going to fight against the wrongness of this world you need to know how to manipulate and work the tools.

    frombrooklyn

    February 20, 2007 at 6:37 AM

  3. […] Posted by frombrooklyn on March 2nd, 2007 Part One can be found here […]


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