Does a parent have a right to break a computer bought by a child?

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  • #613145

    emmet
    Member

    My 16 y/o son bought himself a computer and watches movies which we don’t approve of. Would you suggest we break it?

    #1022914

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    How do you think he would react?

    #1022915

    Miriam377
    Participant

    Don’t break it. that will create more harm than good. try to find out where it came from. It doesn’t help that a HS boys yeshiva has a grueling schedule and to him it may seem the only way to relax.

    #1022916

    pixelate
    Member

    break it? why? so you can help solidify his cut apart feelings?

    if he already had the confidence and gall to buy a computer things can only spiral outward.

    Go speak to an open-minded Rav who has dealt w/ teens. There are so many factors involved, and so many possible influences on him either too hard to the right, or too soft to the left, etc. Maybe he needs a computer? <>radical alert!<> Rationalizing to break his computer at first thought may open insight to the rigidity of your own thought process which may be part of the problem, or not.

    Although no one would agree watching movies is an optimal form of entertainment for a Jewish teen, there are many avenues of Jewish orthodoxy, and despite your particular persuasion and level of frumkeit, you may need to take a step back to the differentiate between the pressures of the your neighborhood’s culture, and true daas torah of what your son really needs to develop into a ben torah; which may include the need to smash his computer, or not 😉

    #1022917

    TheGoq
    Participant

    Tell him very calmly we dont believe in having computers in our house we would like for you to sell or perhaps donate it, tell him we understand you need an outlet to relax but we feel this is not right for you.

    #1022918

    jbaldy22
    Member

    emmet

    along the lines of what DY and pixelate said.

    what exactly are you trying to accomplish by breaking his computer?

    additionally why are you asking this to random people on the internet? I don’t think crowd-sourcing chinuch is a particularly good idea.

    #1022919

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant
    #1022920

    apushatayid
    Participant

    You are his parents. You have a right to set boundaries for what he is and is not allowed to do at home. If he purchased a computer, great. You have a right to tell him that it must be properly filtered according to your standards if he wants to use it in your home. If he does not comply, dont let him use it. Why would you want to break it? What do you accomplish by that?

    #1022921

    jbaldy22
    Member

    apushatayid

    we are talking about a 16 year old kid here. what you have a right to tell him is not really relevant. How do you propose you not let him use it if he doesnt comply? Additionally any filter you install he will be able to get around if he wants to. This is a situation where a rav is a necessity. Parents taking unilateral actions in this sort of situation are extremely counter productive and at best ineffective.

    #1022922

    my own kind of jew
    Participant

    I would argue that a parent does not have the right to break something that there child bought on his/her own. Granted, there might be extreme exceptions, but I don’t think a computer is one of them.

    Furthermore, breaking it would probably cause a large rift between yourself and your child, and would likely increase the problem in the long run anyway.

    Have you tried sitting down with your child and asking him why he watches movies that bother you, and perhaps try to come to some sort of agreement?

    #1022923

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Breaking it would cause him to leave and buy another.

    #1022924

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Isn’t everybody including the OP using a computer to read the CR?

    #1022925

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Some are using smartphones. Some are using computers that belong to other people.

    #1022926

    Sam2
    Participant

    Unless he paid for it with your money, it is Assur to break it. It is Assur to damage someone else’s property, even your child’s.

    #1022927

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    It is assur to break something that can be used in a way that is not evil.

    #1022928

    yehudayona
    Participant

    A smartphone is basically a computer. I suspect the OP wouldn’t be happy if the son was watching these movies on somebody else’s computer either.

    It’s a chiyuv to destroy an avoda zara or an asheira even if it would make a good doorstop or telephone pole,

    #1022929

    Sam2
    Participant

    yy: Avodah Zarah has an Issur Hana’ah, so it’s Muttar to destroy because it has no value to the owner. Something that is destructive (to others) but has value cannot be destroyed by a random person; you have to take the owner to Beis Din.

    #1022930

    charliehall
    Participant

    “I would argue that a parent does not have the right to break something that there child bought on his/her own.”

    A 16 year old is a halachically responsible adult. Any aveirot are his, not yours. I second the comments suggesting that you talk to a rav.

    May watching movies you don’t approve of be the biggest problem he ever has.

    #1022931

    jbaldy22
    Member

    yehudayona

    again the question of whether you are “allowed” to do or not I don’t think is relevant. The question is what “should” you do. I do not think breaking the computer will be helpful in any way shape or form.

    If movies are the primary concern one can buy a tablet for under $50 these days that is easily capable of watching whatever one wants. These things have become disposable.

    I know of a case where my rosh yeshiva destroyed an mp3 player with video capability and then went and paid the guy in full for the value of it. I do not know if he held that was m’ikur hadin or not. Additionally I think he may have had some misconceptions about what it did when he destroyed it. I will have to ask him next time I speak to him.

    #1022932

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    OP says, “watches movies which we dont approve of”

    Does this mean that you dont approve of him watching movies at all?

    or

    This means that in general you would allow him to watch movies, but these specific movies that he watches on the computer dont meet your approval.

    the latter sounds like the case may be more serious than people are making it, and you being more open minded than people are making it

    #1022933

    jbaldy22
    Member

    oyyoyyoy

    I am not sure why that distinction has any relevance. Maybe I am misunderstanding you and you can explain it to me.

    #1022934

    emmet
    Member

    We made an Aliyah about seven years ago. My son is seeing an Israeli therapist who insisted that we break it. I am more open minded and disagreed with her approach fearing that it would only cause greater damage.

    #1022935

    Redleg
    Participant

    Chazal prohibit a parent from striking a grown child als lifei iver. The fear is that the grown child might strike back and be guilty of a capital offense. That reasoning would seem to apply in this case. Taking such drastic action against his son would, quite possibly, cause the son to react is such a way as to over an issur missah, C’S.

    #1022936

    jbaldy22
    Member

    emmet

    the fact that he is seeing a therapist is good. However I have to say that something sounds extremely fishy about this therapist as that is not how therapists typically operate (or are supposed to operate). I would suggest that you have a rav involved asap. Is your son aware that the therapist insisted this? And if so how exactly is this “therapy” supposed to work?

    #1022937

    dial427436
    Member

    Put a filter on it, your son seems to need an outlet of some kind. How did he purchase a laptop, aren’t they expensive in Israel?

    #1022938

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If you break the computer, what do you think will be accomplished, If you think your son will learn more or do you think he will just get angrier and sneak around more and not tell you what he is doing.

    and you need to give yourself an honest answer, not what you want the answer to be

    #1022939

    DikDukDuck
    Participant

    If it’s in your house it’s under your jurisdiction.

    #1022940

    emmet
    Member

    The therapist would pay my son 100 shekel every time he came to speak with her. I think he will continue doing what he wants to do . The therapist said that her Rav felt that we must break it and that if I continue thinking the way most of you did I will ruin the rest of the family.

    #1022942

    Redleg
    Participant

    Emmet, I strongly advise you to find another therapist. This one sounds as if she needs a therapist herself. You engaged her, I assume for her professional advice. If you want to follow her Rav’s advice, you don’t need her.

    #1022943

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    The therapist’s rov? Who is the therapist’s rov? What does he know about your family? What does he and his third hand information have to do with you?

    More importantly: What kind of therapist cites her rov as an opinion on issues of which he knows nothing about?

    (Your therapist pays your son to come? Do you mean that you pay the therapist to pay your son to come? Why are you sneaking around your son instead of being honest with him? Where do you think he learned to sneak around you?)

    #1022944

    my own kind of jew
    Participant

    emmet,

    It seems very odd to me that a therapist would go for advice from someone with no thereputical training, then tell you to do that.

    I would say the best idea is to try and find another therapist or two, non-affiliated with her or her Rav, and ask them what they think, to get a different view point with sounder backing then here.

    Secondly, I would ask if YOU believe your son is already “ruined?”

    Yehudayona and Sam2

    A computer is by no means Avodah Zorah. Nobody (as far as I know) worships a computer and believes it to be a higher power, or a servant of higher power. It is simply a tool to increase your standard of living and work.

    #1022945

    emmet: I agree 100% with Redleg, A. people assume that a therapist is good because he/she is a professional and therefore must be qualified to help any/everyone. This is simply not the case.

    Therapy is very similar to shiduchim in that there needs to be a good fit of personalities between patient and therapist.

    It sounds like she has taken a maternal approach to your son (asking her rav?!). Good idea if it was her kid, however for someone she is advising professionally if the subject is beyond her ken she must refer to another professional!

    The idea of breaking the computer would be great if your son would be the one doing the breaking because it may be akin to an avodah zarah for him. But it is not intrinsically that and for you or another authority figure to break his stuff is begging for serious relationship damage.

    Hatzlacha rabah, it is hard to hug your son too much.

    #1022946

    dial427436
    Member

    I agree with PBA, I would suggest that you should consult your Rav.

    Is your son seeing a therapist because he watches movies or are there other reasons?

    I smell something chareidi about this…

    #1022947

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “The therapist would pay my son 100 shekel every time he came to speak with her.”

    So, if you break the computer, your son will accelerate the number of visits, save up for a new computer and then what? You break that one too?

    #1022948

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Sounds like a scheme, where you pay the “therapist” to pay your child to show up so she can be paid again.

    Also, if you wanted her Rov’s advice, you should drop her and go directly to the Rov.

    My take is something very fishy is going on here, and you should try someone from outside your community, instead of a community enforcer posing as a “therapist”.

    #1022949

    emmet
    Member

    We are changing therapists. Thank you all for your advice!!

    #1022950

    jbaldy22
    Member

    “The therapist would pay my son 100 shekel every time he came to speak with her.”

    this therapist knows nothing about therapy or just plain ignores what she knows. get a new therapist asap. Bad therapy is much much worse than no therapy.

    That being said many therapists have rabbinical counsel for sticky situations so that part does not surprise me.

    #1022951

    apushatayid
    Participant

    You have my vote if you want to break the therapists computer.

    #1022952

    oomis
    Participant

    I cannot even read this thread in its entirety. Yes, you absolutely should break his computer. That, is, if you want him to NEVER trust you again, possibly push him off the derech, and have him consider suing you (and in civil court at least, you would probably be liable).

    Whether or not it is right for him to have a computer, that he bought, with HIS OWN MONEY, you are not dealing with someone who i.e., bought illegal drugs (which I believe should be flushed down the toilet by parents if they find them). Though computers have downsides to them, they can have very positive aspects of usage, as well, and that is what should be emphasized IMO. Don’t cause irreparable harm by an impulsive action. Talk to your son, express your feelings, and then examine those feelings. Perhaps he can be made to understand your concerns. And find wholesome ways for him to utilize this device, which really can eb amazing when used in the right way, like so many other things that we use every day.

    #1022953

    BeitarYid
    Participant

    This is a very serious CHINUCH question that requires more than a bunch of comments from strangers. I did confiscate a machine from my 15 year old and have it in hiding for almost an entire year.

    My son is pretty cool with it and has actually had a very good year. Occasionally he asks for it back and i change the subject.

    I did not turn him off by doing something rash nor did I let him destroy his life (this world and the next) by letting him watch all the Tumah.

    Every kid, parent, family is different and must handle things in a way that fits the individual situation…

    There are many Chinuch experts in Israel to speak with

    R Orloweck

    R Brezack

    R Rotman

    etc…

    You must get Hadracha from a Chinuch expert.

    It’s Pikuach Nefesh on both sides

    #1022954

    jbaldy22
    Member

    BeitarYid

    I certainly hope you asked a Rav before doing what you did and I must say that your ignoring him is not yashrus and is not a good idea and will teach him avoidance which is a horrible middah and can hurt him greatly in future relationships. If you think its a good idea for him not to have it treat him like an adult not a child. In my opinion (based on experience with similar situations in America) your approach is yatza scharo behefesido.

    “My son is pretty cool with it and has actually had a very good year. Occasionally he asks for it back and i change the subject.”

    evidently he is not “cool with it” otherwise he would not be asking for it back. if teenagers feel that they do not have what to work with they will invariably rebel at some point.

    One last point is that just because something seems to be effective does not make it a good idea or good chinuch. I am sure corporal punishment might work on a minority of 15 year olds. It is still assur to do so.

    #1022955

    suli97
    Member

    this situation is common….from experience I would advise you to act with much care.

    firstly try to put yourself in your child’s shoes-

    I strongly believe the child does NOT think lets test my parents nor does he think I want to be bad.

    the child does not view it wrong maybe a heart to heart talk explaining what you feel as apparent and giving reasons not related to rabbonim don’t allow its totally assur, since the child has heard it all before and it does not make an impact rather it just flows out his ear’s.

    by giving over how you feel..you can then come to a compromise such as a filter..give back for lock up time …or buying films that are frum and jewish…a child cannot be to restricted as it may lead to a bad ending.

    you want a frum child to follow your ways maybe let loose a little, to provent major problems.

    #1022956

    yehudayona
    Participant

    I guess I should have been clearer. I wasn’t implying that a computer is avoda zara. I was merely responding to rebyidd23’s comment, “It is assur to break something that can be used in a way that is not evil” by pointing out that there are exceptions.

    #1022957

    my own kind of jew
    Participant

    Yes, but Avodah Zara is a very specific case. however, people tend to bandy the phrase around now and turn it to mean anything a person can get even slightly obsessive over (except for Tohra, of course. That, obsession to any degree seems to be great, the more the better)

    #1022958

    Sam2
    Participant

    YY: Avodah Zarah is Assur B’hana’ah. It by definition has no use. Hence, it’s Muttar to break.

    #1022959

    brachavehatzlocha
    Participant

    Rav Shternbuch has a teshuvah in Teshuvos V’Hanhagos the other way around. A grown child who was chozer b’teshuvah and married and had a family asked the following question:

    When they take their kids to visit their non-religious grandparents, the grandchildren watch TV (which the frum parents don’t approve of). The sheilah was can/should they break the TV so the kids can’t watch it?

    Rav Shternbuch answers that you can’t break other people’s property, even though TV is a very bad thing. He suggests talking to the grandparents and asking them to make some accommodation.

    #1022960

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Never flush illegal drugs down the toilet. You could be arrested, as it could be traced back to you.

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