Pritzus on the Internet

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  • #591072

    chofetzchaim
    Member

    Received in an email:

    I’ve seen a number of articles written up recently, titled ‘The elephant in the room’. I’d like to present my ‘elephant in the room’ to the heilige Chevra:

    Much has been written and spoken about regarding the problems of the Internet in terms of Tznius. We’ve been told by the gedolim that we should not use it and certainly not have

    it in our homes. Only when truly necessary, for one’s job, can it be used, but under the greatest protections and filters.

    The discussion I’d like to raise is what’s really going on? It seems that many people have the Internet (including myself). Let’s assume that filters are installed, never-the-less when

    you go to a ‘kosher’ site, their is still pritzusdike pictures there. I’m not referring to the ‘shmutz sites’ or even ‘news sites’ that are full of pritzus. I’m referring to a typical site that one

    needs to view for information. There is mamash pritzus there. I think all those that go on the Internet know exactly what I’m referring too.

    My question is: Of course we aren’t going on to the Internet for that purpose and of course it’s only to sites that are necessary and of course we go on only long enough to get the

    information we are seeking and of course…..

    But lemayse we are seeing terrible things.

    (I’m not talking about when it says click here for information on some znus scandal, or some other inappropriate issue, where of course ‘somehow’ we would ‘never click’.)

    I use the Internet for business related purposes and therefore am exposed to it for a good part of the day. But lemaaseh is there any heter to use it for any reason whatsoever?

    A few tidbits from the Sefer Lishichnishu Tidrishu:

    * Rav Baruch Ber zt’l was at a wedding in Vilna and when he entered he noticed that the women were not bitznius. He closed his eyes completely, and walked as if he was

    mamash blind until he left that room. (Birchas Shmuel Introduction to Vol. 2)

    * Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein heard from Rav Ahron Roth zt’l (author of Shomer Emunim) that if a person is walking in the street and comes across a nisayon and overcomes his

    yetzer and does not look, it is a great ‘Shaas ratzon bashamayim’. It is a great segula to ask from Hashem at that time for what he wants.

    * A talmid asked Rav Elya Lopian zt’l if he can attend a relative’s wedding in another city. R’E asked him if he knows that there would not be any pritzus there. The talmid

    responded that he’d be eating with his father and mother alone at their own table, and ended off by saying ‘it won’t effect me’. R’E shook when he heard that and responded:

    Please listen, I’m already past 80 years old and blind in one eye, and never-the-less, when I go in the street I’m full of trepidation that perhaps I’ll stumble in histaklus biarayis, and

    you are a young bachur with two good eyes and you are telling me that you won’t be effected by it?!!

    In a recent post, a maaseh was told of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky when he stopped at a rest stop. When Reb Shmuel got out of the car he said in Yiddish, ‘We have to rip out our

    eyes’.

    In conclusion, I’d like to know, is it enough to say that I’m using the Internet only for business and I have a filter and I’m careful and…. or lemaysa it’s asur??

    Name Withheld!

    #672930

    chofetzchaim
    Member

    My answer:

    In response to the problem of pritzus on legitimate web sites. True, even people who are using the Internet for completely legitimate purposes will run into inappropriate pictures. I use the Internet a lot and I have a way to eliminate almost all of the pritzus that you are referring to. The way I deal with this is by using a few Firefox add-ons.

    For those who don’t know, Firefox is a web browser, the program that you use to view the Internet. Many people use Internet Explorer which comes with Windows. Firefox is an alternative to Internet Explorer that is customizable through “add-ons”. Below I will describe how to use 3 of these add-ons to help eliminate pritzus.

    First obviously you have to install and use Firefox as your browser. You can get it from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/switch.html. The link should give instructions how to install it.

    Next I will describe the 3 add-ons that I use which block out pretty much all inappropriate pictures and videos. Note, these aren’t classic “filters” and you still have to be careful which sites you visit. This will just help make sure that the sites you do visit won’t subject you to inappropriate pictures.

    The first add-on is called Ad-block Plus. It can be downloaded from

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865 . Go to that link from inside Firefox and click the “add to Firefox” button.

    This add-on will get rid of all the ads that appear around and in web pages. Once in awhile it will miss some ads and a few times I have found that it will block a picture that is actually not an ad but is part of the page but that is very rare. In general it gets rid of all ads which solves a lot of the problems since we are assuming that the web sites you are visiting are good pages, but even those might have ads that can be problematic.

    The 2nd add-on is Flash-block. It can be downloaded from

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/433 Go to that link from inside Firefox and click the “add to Firefox” button.

    This add-on blocks all flash-videos from starting. Instead these videos will have a button to click if you want to see it. Many sites use Flash to show content, some can be good and useful. But, with this add-on it won’t start right away and you won’t even see the first screenshot that is usually there. You can choose whether or not you want to see the video. This can be a bit of a nuisance because it now requires an extra click to see videos but it is a small price to pay for what it accomplishes. For the more technologically advanced, you can change the preferences so that certain sites will have the Flash videos not blocked by this add-on. This way, you can set the sites which you trust and frequent the most to show flash videos and for the rest you will have to click an extra time if you want to see them. It may be a little bit of work in the beginning but then you get used to it.

    My 3rd suggestion is the one that is most annoying but can be very helpful for those who are willing to go through it. It is an add-on called

    ImgLikeOpera. It can be downloaded from

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1672 Go to that link from inside Firefox and click the “add to Firefox” button.

    The description on the site says ‘ImgLikeOpera allows load only the images that you want in Firefox browser. This extension is very useful for non broadband users…’. This add-on was created for people with slow connections who don’t want images to make the loading even slower. I use this to block all images. It will block all images from loading so that every page you visit will only show you text and the images will come out as empty boxes. You can load an individual image by right-clicking it and choosing ‘load’ or you can make all the images for a particular site load by clicking a button on the toolbar. This is an extremly annoying way to browse the Internet since so many sites nowadays rely on pictures for basic browsing of the site. There are ways to make it easier. In the settings you can create filters that will have certain sites always load the pictures. For instance, I have it set for my own sites, as well as sites such as Yeshiva World and Matzav to automaticlly load all images (as an aside, I also have a filter like this for adblock so that I can see the ads on those sites since I find those interesting though most people find them annoying). For sites that I don’t necesarily trust I load the images one at a time by right-clicking them if they are needed. It may be a bit of work in the beginning to set all the filters for trusted sites, and even after that browsing the rest of the Internet can be very annoying but hopefully you can get used to it. Lifum Tzara Agra…

    Note, it might be an easier transition if you first start by using Firefox, then a few days later after you have gotten a bit used to it you can add the first add-on, a few days later the 2nd, etc.

    Please ask your Local Orthodox Techie if you have any questions.

    #672931

    Anonymous

    Thanks for this useful info!

    #672932

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The picture idea, of shutting off images and picking them up one at a time, is possible in InternetExplorer, too.

    I actually wrote a little script, and added something in the registry that I right click on any image that I don’t want to stay, and it becomes completely opaque.

    #672933

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    hmmm…thats a very interesting question. a filter is never foolproof. trust me. im a geek. there is no filter out there that i know of that you cant get around.

    blacklists (essentially how filters work) are by no means foolproof…

    your best bet if you want to be safe is a whitelist (which only allows certain sites and blocks EVERYTHING else) on which is a list of the sites you NEED…and nothing else, and to have someone else hold the password. but even those arent absolutely foolproof.

    the internet is a necessary tool. as necessary as walking in the street. walking in the street, there are many nisyonos that we all face walking in the streets in terms of pritzus, and we have to deal with it, because we all need to walk in the street. we need to use discretion, and i know that is hard when the nisayon is so hard but all we can do is our best.

    also in addition to the whitelists…you can use the add ons mentioned above…ALSO…you can have your network traffic dumped to a specific location for someone else to peruse at his leisure…(providing you are on the same network because oif not you would have to email the list to him and that would defeat the purpose…)

    #672934

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    heres just an add on (lol) to chofetzchaim’s post

    in adblock plus…if there are pics and vids or content of any kind that is getting past adblock plus…you can add in a filter.

    what you need is the address where the picture is…RIGHT click on the content, and click copy link address…or copy image location…or copy image URL.

    then, click to the right of the adblockplus button on the top right of your firefox page…there should be a little drop down menu there…click on that and select preferences

    on the bottom left of the window that opens, click add filter and paste the link in the input line that opens. (for the sake of demonstration ill use the link to addblock plus) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865

    what you can do to block any content from the site providing that content…you trunchate the link to just the actuat root web address, and add a wildcard function after that. for all of you who didnt understand that…heres a demonstration.

    to block all content from (in this case) mozilla.com i would take this link…

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865 and knock it down the main part which would be https://addons.mozilla.org/, and then add an * after that / to filter out any and all content provided by mozilla in all my future browsing. that would look like this https://addons.mozilla.org/* and hit on on the bottom right of the window. congratulations you have just added your first custom filter. (by the way dont block content from mozilla.com) i hope i have explained this well…if you have questions please post them.

    #672935

    and to have someone else hold the password

    In one family I know, the husband and wife each know half the password, so both have to be present to use the internet.

    #672936

    veryamusing
    Member

    I have a whitelist for the sites i need (apparently I need Yeshiva world..) it actually blocks even the ads on the sidebar of Yeshiva world’s homepage!

    however i have a very limited number of sites i need and i don’t constantly need new ones. if you constantly need access to different sites, a whitelist can get inconvinient.

    in any case, let’s not minimize the problem, and i applaude chofetzchaim for writing an important post.

    #672937

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    yes but like i said…blacklists are easy to circumvent so ideally you should use a whitelist

    #672939

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Just for arguments sake, I believe the gemara discusses the pasuk of otzem einav meir’os b’ra, and says what kind of a case are we talking about? If he doesn’t need to be at that place, then he is a rasha for going there in the first place. If he does need to be there, then even if he sees something, he is an ones. The gemara answers that although he is not mechuyav to look away, because he is an ones, however, if he does than he is a chassid, meaning going above and beyond what he is required to do.

    So it seems to depend on how strong the need to be there is. I don’t think the gemara meant one cannot go to work because he may see something. Work is a valid need or he will starve.

    #672940

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    uk’sillim masai taskilu

    #672941

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    However the Rashbam in bava Basra states that if one passes a place of pritzus even if he looks away he still is considered a rasha.

    #672943

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Bombmaniac, it is not nice to insult. If you disagree with how I learned the gemara, feel free to offer your own pshat. But what I said is probably the clear meaning.

    Again, gemara says if you don’t need to ne there, even if you look away, you are a rasha. If you do need to be there, and you see something, you are an ones. Conclusion is that even though you are an ones, if you look away, you are a chasid, (but if you don’t, you are still not a rasha). I don’t remember where the gemara is, but I think it uses the term ee ikah dracha acharina rasha hu, ee leka dracha acharina onus hu.

    The gemara doesn’t seem to define what it means if there is an alternate road. What if the alternate road is 100 miles out of the way, is that considered dracha acharina? What if he needs to pass by on way to work, but possibly could apply for a job somewhere else or retrain? If anybody has more details, please post.

    #672945

    Poster
    Member

    we have a program in which I had to submit a list of the sites i need open. Similar to a white list, besides for the fact that here and there is will let me onto other sites at random, such as today i got onto Huggies pamper’s website while it wasnt on my list etc. Every time I want to go onto a website and it is blocked, its a very good feeling. I feel that I am protecting myself and my family.

    #672947

    aries2756
    Participant

    You can also go through services like koshernet so things are prescreened and blocked. If you are on decent websites and things are inappropriately advertised there you should report it. I have seen photos on onlysimchas that should never have gotten through the screeners which I complained about and were removed. There are also posts on certain blogs that are reported and removed. WE each have a responsibility as decent people and good Jews to do our part to make the web and the world a decent place to be. So if I feel offended I speak up.

    Recently I went on an auction site and lo and behold the first thing i saw was a Nazi swastika arm band for sale under collectibles. I immediately notified the PR department of the site that I was disgusted and offended that they allowed such revolting articles to be traded and sold on their website. I received a response immediately with an apology and a promise that they would have it removed and check into the seller, etc. We can’t just ignore what offends and disgusts us, if we are offended we have to say so. We need to do our own histadlus to stay away from the shmutz but if the shmutz follows us Speak up and shut it down.

    #672949

    not from ny
    Member

    the fire box idea didint work it sayd it was corupt

    #672950

    americaisover
    Participant

    you only let in your house, mind, body etc. what you want.

    #672951

    chofetzchaim
    Member

    not from ny, can you please explain in more detail what you did and what errors you are getting?

    A note about ImgLikeOpera, some people have complained that after installing it they can no longer use Gmail the way they used to because the image buttons to edit text when composing an email are not there as well as some other images on the site that make it very hard to use. The solution to this is to create a filter within ImgLikeOpera to have it always load images from Gmail (note, the images in Gmail are all Kosher as far as I know, Gmail itself will block images in an email and ask you if you want to display them). The way to do this is:

    1. click the image like Opera icon (looks like a camera) to get the menu
    2. choose “ImgLikeOpera stettings”
    3. click the “filters” tab
    4. in the filter box type “google.com/mail”
    5. under “filter policy” choose number 1, “Load All images”
    6. click “Add”
    7. Click “Apply”

    Note: this process can be used for any web site that you want to always load images. In general you should use filter policy number 2, “load images from originating Web site only” so that outside images that are embedded in the site will still be blocked. I use number 1 specifically for Gmail because it will sometimes try to load images in an email that are hosted on another site. These are already blocked by Gmail so I don’t need ImgLikeOpera to block them.

    #672952

    chofetzchaim
    Member

    Some more email responses I have received on this topic:

    1.

    It should be noted that Firefox must be restarted after installing the plugins for them to have any effect. If you install the plugin and don’t see any changes right away, don’t fret.

    2.

    WOT should be added to the list.

    http://www.mywot.com/en/download/ff

    WOT is a plugin that lets you know – before you even click a link – what type of a site you are potentially clicking through to.

    It also blocks pages that have a very low reputation.

    While this duplicates the behavior of many filters, it does it as part of the browser, it informs you before you click the link, and it can let you know things that filters dont (such as a vendor with a clean site but poor reputation.)

    3.

    ImageLikeOpera makes browsing much much quicker.

    Takes a few days to get used to it, but once you do, you will find yourself much much more productive.

    It should be used by everyone (There’s a reason it comes with Opera)

    Note: see my post above for instructions how to add filters to ImgLikeOpera

    4.

    Image like Opera imitates a browser called Opera.

    I believe that the other two plugins also come built into Opera as well, but need to be enabled.

    I would not recommend Opera over Firefox at all, but if someone has a reason to not use Firefox, they can use Opera and achieve the same result.

    Firefox is a far better browser than Internet Explorer, Opera, Chrome or Safari and should be used whenever possible.

    Having nothing to do with this discussion of tznius – always use Firefox. Always!

    5.

    None of the above replaces accountability and filtering software.

    6.

    I fiddled with the idea of creating a filter using Google’s face recognition project and FF’s Canvas API for Greasemonkey or JetPack.

    I never sat down to work on it, but if there are any insane coders in this group (Preferably from the C, Python, or SmallTalk families) that think such a challenge would be fun, contact me and we will hash out ideas.

    If anyone is interested in contacting this guy, please contact me for info – Moderator-42

    7.

    For those who use a site that requires Internet Explorer:

    Coral IE Tab: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10909

    This will allow to open Internet Explorer tabs from inside Firefox. Adblock will work even though you will be using IE!

    (If people need to use IE I am willing to properly research all the options.)

    8.

    For experienced Firefox users, a few AdBlock Plus plugins / alternatives:

    * KarmaBlocker: Said to be better than Adblock, but more difficult.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5230

    * DoGooder: Replaces blocked ads with ads for nonprofits. Does not use Adblock:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/54200

    * Add-art: Puts in artwork where the ads used to be. Uses Adblock.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6846

    Officially all artwork is clean, but I certainly wouldn’t guarantee it.

    * Element Hider: Add-on for addblock to also block text ads.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4364

    * Foof: Allows you to replace ads with blogs, Wiki entries, et al.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7539

    9.

    Also, I just noticed another filter for Firefox but have no idea how well it rates:

    FoxFilter: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4351

    And…

    While we’re on the topic of Firefox add-ons:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/free-firefox-add-on-search-shas-tanach-rambam

    #672953

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Just want to point out that this thread points out the great difficulties in using filters. The fact that all these meyvinim need to go through long multi-step instructions to get things to work and then worry about still more work-arounds and fixes and bugs, means that filters are not very practical these days.

    I once wanted my kids to be able to use email (they regsitered at Yahoo) but then I found that I could not allow Yahoo mail and also block Yahoo search which I did not want them to have. I was using NetNanny at the time. It was very frustrating. Also, it was possible to get around the whole filter in that version.

    I decided that best not to allow the kids internet at all on their machine, and to only allow them to use mine when they had a school assignment. Unless somebody has a truly painless way to use filters, I will probably have to keep it this way. If I leave Google search off my white-list, then what happens if they need to do a school report. I then have to get involved and remember my filter passowrd and change all the settings. It is such a pain in the neck. I really don’t see any easy way, although I would like them to be able to listen to Nachum Segal etc. online.

    #672954

    PY:

    How about taking your children to the local library and having them do research there?

    #672955

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    netnanny is awful i would recommend using k-9 http://www1.k9webprotection.com/ for filtering. every time a site pops up that gets blocked you have the option of allowing that site for specific amounts of time…or permanently allow that site. this will allow you to listen to nachum segal and whatever…and yahoo mail…

    #672956

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    GAW, I generally do, but sometimes they “discover” they have a report due the next day at 10 pm the night before.

    #672957

    chofetzchaim
    Member

    Pashuteh Yid wrote:

    Just want to point out that this thread points out the great difficulties in using filters. The fact that all these meyvinim need to go through long multi-step instructions to get things to work and then worry about still more work-arounds and fixes and bugs, means that filters are not very practical these days.

    The Internet is a big nisayon. No one ever said that it was easy to be Jewish. Lifum tza’ara agra…

    Pashuteh Yid wrote:

    I once wanted my kids to be able to use email (they regsitered at Yahoo) but then I found that I could not allow Yahoo mail and also block Yahoo search which I did not want them to have. I was using NetNanny at the time. It was very frustrating. Also, it was possible to get around the whole filter in that version.

    You can block Yahoo and let them get mail through a program such as Outlook instead. If you are using webmail, I would recommend Gmail. It doesn’t make you go through the main Google page the way Yahoo makes you go through Yahoo. And I like a lot of other thinbgs about Gmail including the conversations, filters, and labels.

    Pashuteh Yid wrote:

    I decided that best not to allow the kids internet at all on their machine, and to only allow them to use mine when they had a school assignment. Unless somebody has a truly painless way to use filters, I will probably have to keep it this way. If I leave Google search off my white-list, then what happens if they need to do a school report. I then have to get involved and remember my filter passowrd and change all the settings. It is such a pain in the neck. I really don’t see any easy way, although I would like them to be able to listen to Nachum Segal etc. online.

    Not letting them have their own machine is a good idea. They should only use your machine with you supervising. Whatever filter you use you can have it whitelist Nachum Segal, etc. If you want them to have access to that without having to use your machine then put the annoying filters on their machines and when they need to use Google they can use yours.

    #672959

    toona beigel
    Member

    Most kids know how to get round filters and cover there tracks , most of you who have kids and internet at home, your kids are using it for the wrong thing, the same goes for any i touch and i phone , i have been on many yeshiva boys i phones or any internet phones and all of them at some time or other have been used to view pritzus , its a joke by me for anyone whos stupid enough to let them have 1 , yours mir boy

    #672960

    jphone
    Member

    “Pritzus on the Internet”.

    There is?

    #672961

    aries2756
    Participant

    Computers should always be in full view of the entire family!!!! It should be placed in conspicuous areas like the kitchen or family room so everyone can see what you are doing. YOU meaning everyone in the family children and parents alike. There is nothing that anyone has to do on the computer that should not be seen by other members of the family who walk into the room. That said, they of course should not be looking over your shoulder if you are doing your banking, confidential work, etc.

    Just knowing that anyone can peak and see that you are “on the wrong page” will help fight the yetzer horah. There is also a way of tracking the history on the computer to see where someone has been. So that is another way to help the family fight the yetzer horah. Starting out this way and putting up filters, using some suggestions from others above, helps the family start off on the right foot and avoid problems.

    With all that said keep in mind that boys will be boys and if they want to see and know they will find a way just like your generation did. There are still magazines in stores and there are still movie houses and there are still books in libraries. They are just like you and your friends were at that age. There were many a yeshiva bochur that found their way into the very, very asur theater near the mir yeshiva many moons ago.

    So the best way to keep your child from going that direction is to be upfront and honest with them. Have the proper line of communication, speak to them about what is happening with them and what their changes are all about. Explain to them about hormones etc. Remind them that although Hashem is preparing them for the future and all this is good and natural, there is going to be a tough battle between the yetzer horah and the yetzer tov and they will have to work hard to win and control the desire to give in.

    #672963

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    GAW, I generally do, but sometimes they “discover” they have a report due the next day at 10 pm the night before.

    I don’t let my kids pull that shtick. If they tell me at 10PM that they have a report due the next day and need to begin working on it, I have only response — “good night.”

    The Wolf

    #672964

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    suppose they really do have a report due the next day…do they fail?

    #672967

    oomis
    Participant

    Bomb maniac, one of the hardest things for a parent to do is be a parent when the child acts irresponsibly. If it means watching them fail, in order to teach them the greater lesson of growing up the right way, so be it. No one will give them a pass at life, when they are in the real world. Education starts when one is young. If your work habits are poor and flakey when you are 15, they will continue to be poor when you are 30.

    #672968

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    no i wasnt judging, i was just asking. i understand the position perfectly.

    #672969

    aries2756
    Participant

    oomis, That is so true and it is a very difficult thing to do. The other option is as I have done in the past is say, “Well then get a good night’s rest and set your alarm clock extra early so you can do it in the morning. Next time don’t wait till the last minute.”

    #672970

    oomis
    Participant

    “The other option is as I have done in the past is say, “Well then get a good night’s rest and set your alarm clock extra early so you can do it in the morning. Next time don’t wait till the last minute.”

    Good advice, Aries. My daughter often does that when she has through no fault of her own, been up late doing her work and is exhausted. I will “make” her stop and get up early in the morning to finish the work. There is no point to working with half-closed eyes – who could focus, anyway?

    #672971

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Aries, I was just wondering why in your earlier post about boys-will-be-boys, you seem to indicate that it is an exclusively boys problem. Girls don’t have these problems, as well?

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