kosher internet

The Ba’al Teshuva and the Internet: Do I Need to Burn My Smartphone?

You made the big decision to become religious and have gone through the hard work of koshering your kitchen, switching your Saturdays to Shabbat, and living a more focused life. But what about your smartphone? Tablet? Surfing the web? Because you are now orthodox, do you need to throw out all of your internet devices and boycott the internet?

Is There Life Without Internet?

For me the answer is definitely “no,” especially since it is my profession. Today, telecommuting is huge, so you need the internet. Plus there is a ton of great stuff on the web today, including Torah classes, music, movies, dating sites, kosher versions of Craigslist and apartment rental portals, there is even social media for the religious Jew. The truth is that our lives have become digital, and to take on a self-imposed exile from the internet may be admirable but not necessary.

So Why Are Some Jews Burning Their Smartphone?

The internet can be addictive and it exposes you to inappropriate materials.

It is easy to get sucked into hours on the internet. You decide to research one thing, and over here something pops up on your screen, it looks interesting, and off you go to check it out. Next thing you know you have spent five hours surfing the web.

The internet is flooded with inappropriate content, especially for young people. It is almost impossible to engage with any website without being exposed to something nefarious.

Our high-tech, digital world can also make us dumber. If all our information is coming in small “bytes” and all our communication is through text messages, we can start to forget how to use our brain. We become like zombies following whatever is put out there.

What to Do?

  • Set limits to how long you will cruise the internet, use an alarm if you need to.
  • Give yourself gadget-free days or hours, not only on Shabbat.
  • Install programs that block pop-ups and filtering software that will close the door to inappropriate websites.

Be smart. Remember that the internet is a tool, not your life.

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