Are Internet & Other Bans Hurting Or Helping?


The majority of the chareidi tzibur, perhaps with the exception of Chabad, has labeled the Internet taboo along will cellular telephones and other gadgetry. Talmidim are also prohibited from carrying MP4 players because they can be used for movies, and in some cases, electronic devices with audio capability only are also banned.

Rabbi Asher Schapiro, the son of the Naroler Rebbe Shlita Feels that some of the bans may actually be counterproductive. “The ban on the internet and cellular telephones, as well as the prohibition against chareidi performers from appearing in live events are contributing to a decline in the overall status of the young” he is quoted by Chadrei Chareidim as saying. Rav Schapiro is known as a senior ‘mechanech’, a respected educator with a wealth of experience.

The rav made his comments during an interview with Ze’ev Brenner, explaining he is not in agreement. He feels that too many prohibitions are simply resulting in a boomerang effect, pushing many away from where we want them to be.

The rav, a resident of Stamford Hill, in London, attributes the increase in the number of dropouts to the wave of bans, making it seemingly impossible for some of today’s youth to exist in the world in which we live,the 21st century.

Rabbi Schapiro feels that adding prohibitions may only serve to entice the young to desire and obtain these electronic devices even more than they might if a ban did not exist. He feels the same is true regarding the ban against chareidi singers – explaining it is simply too much. “It would be fitting to invest resources towards guiding the young as to the proper use of such devices rather than the across-the-board ban which have proven counterproductive” the rav is quoted as saying.

Rabbi Schapiro is also the founder of the Kol Bonayich Organization, dedicating his talents towards working with frum youths.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. One could adopt a “no technology” policy similar to the Amish (who do allow some technology, including in some cases personal computers with internet). We could all become subsistence farmers. We could try to go back to old system of asking travellers to deliver letters (and remember the government’s “snail mail” will probably disappear). We could all live in walking distance of each other in order to avoid need computerize and internet enhanced transportation systems such as automobiles or buses.

  2. Akuperma
    Believe it or not there are Jews who don’t have internet and don’t have cell phones and they are doing fine!
    I agree though, that most people can’t live this way and instead of banning everything we need to learn proper gedarim.

  3. Do they Ben Levi?

    I can’t tell. I hear so many contradictory things that are supposedly said by the Gedollim. How can one tell anymore? One day yes, the next day no.

  4. Once upon a time there were Jews who lived without electricity as well and they did fine at that time as well too. Should we go back to that? We also lived at a time without landlines should we go back to that as well? There are many things that we could live without if we tried, we could live without cars too.

  5. Rabbi A. SHAPIRO may vey well be an expert in his field, but he is not a Gadol (& far from it). Such important issues can only be addressed by Gedolim who have dass torah. Maybe Rabbi Shapiro should discuss this with Gedolim, but his personel felleings shouldn’t carry any weight, by anyone intrested in doing the right thing.

  6. Today we are living with incredible challenges, the likes that probably no other דור had to deal with. Hindsight is 20/20. Unfortunately, we are not yet at that hindsight and have to respond the best we can.

    There is no question that any form of visual stimulation such as internet, mp4, and the like present a major stumbling block that needs to be reckoned with. It is irresponsible and utterly foolish to rely on speech alone to prevent our children from spiritually damaging themselves with these technologies. Proactive response is a requirement! Unfortunately, sometimes that means the total removal of these things.

    What is really troubling is the fact (which many may not be aware of) that people also develop addictions to these technologies. I’ve come to understand from Rabbonim that work with your kids that things such as texting doesn’t register as Chillul Hashem in many of these kids minds. Lel Shabbos your son or daughter may state that he/she is tired and go to sleep early. They go to their rooms and SMS their friends with their cell phones sound turned off. This is why the Gedolim have come out with the “Kosher Cell Phones” which are essentially a cell phone without SMS. Hard to believe, but true. 🙁

    I agree that there are too many restrictions and in honesty don’t know why their is an outcry against the concerts. I believe that while we need to make restrictions, we also have to pick our battles and also need to be Mikarav our kids. We must give over the concept that while those things may be fun or enjoyable, they will never compare to the joy and fulfillment of living a life based on Torah and Mitzvot striving to come closer to Hashem.

    We need to learn to push away with our left hand and bring closer with our right hand. In other words, restrictions are necessary, but those voids need to be replaced with something more stimulating. Otherwise, it’s a downhill battle against their Yetzer Harahs!

  7. Yeah, so except for chabadniks, all you who are reading YWN are over on the issur of looking at the internet. It is really over done. Sure there is much bitul Torah in the internet, but so is there bitul Torah in the Yeted Neaman. Sure there are pictures that are not tznius on the internet, but also there are real un-tznius girls walking the streets. So what are we frum people supposed to do?

    The answer is simple: Watch where you put your eyes whether on the net or in the street. Life is a nissiyon; lo taturu arcarai eye-na-chem!

  8. bigjosh

    How dare you say that Rabbi Shapiro is not a Gadol. What gives you the right to speak lashon hara. His father is a Gadol.

    By the way, I think it would be nice if the Gedolim had a website, then we could really know what they say and what they don’t say.

  9. “Sure there are pictures that are not tznius on the internet, but also there are real un-tznius girls walking the streets.”

    Right. And there is no chiluk whatsoever between a pocket sized device that gives you instatnt access to the worst kinds of pritzus with no effective way to block or filter it 24 hours a day and un-tznius girls you may walk past on the public streets.

    I wonder why our sages instituted the laws of yichud, said ain apitrupus l’arayot, adonished us not to even walk past places of pritzus, ect…

    Probably the sages where talking to previous generations because today we are on a much higher medreiga, and our Yiras Shimoyim and sense of Kedusha is so developed, and our self control is so strong.

    Im Rishonim K’Malachim Anu K’Bnai Adom