Erev Shabbos Parashas Vayeegash 5776

Dear Parents,

Are you challenged, like many of us? The rise of technology and the pervasive internet, smart-phone and social media usage have significantly altered much of our daily lives. Constant exposure to information, images and values of the `outside’ world, have made a change to our `inner’ world. We are more distracted during tasks, conversations, driving and in our relationships. We all need to be constantly vigilant to not allow the technology and its impact to overwhelm our core Jewish values.

If we are so challenged, what does this mean for our children? How do our parenting skills match up to this challenge? The pressure even among elementary aged children to be connected, on-line and digitally savvy is enormous, and it grows exponentially through middle and high-school years.

How can parents stand up to this pressure? How can we continue to raise healthy, loving, caring and sensitive children who are very strongly drawn to the lures of the digital world? What can we do to protect them from exposure to pornography, from cyberbullying, from utter exhaustion from texting all day and all night, from exposure to strangers, etc. etc.? How do we resist the urge to make use of a “digital babysitter?”

There is help. An outstanding article by Dr. David Pelcovitz, the well-known and highly regarded frum psychologist, described by a prominent journalist as “one of the Orthodox world’s treasured resources,” appears in the latest edition of the Klal Perspectives Journal, which describes itself as an online Forum for Discussion of Challenges Facing the Torah Community. In a very comprehensive piece, Dr. Pelcovitz outlines the challenges and points to “authoritative parenting” as a key to raising healthy, well-balanced, Torah-true children. Parents need to feel empowered to set limits on their children’s online exposure, in the context of a healthy, supportive, mutually-respectful relationship. This article offers guidance and hope.

Exposing challenges wrought by the digital revolution that may not have occurred to us, citing the latest research on the digital age’s impact on people, and especially young people, productivity and relationships, combined with a healthy dose of Torah sources, the article, while quite lengthy, is a must-read for every parent. No matter where you stand on the issue of how much or how little children should be embracing technology in their lives, you and your children will only gain from your reading the article. It can be accessed at http://klalperspectives.org/dr-david-pelcovitz-2/

I welcome your feedback.

Best wishes for an enlightening and empowering Shabbos,

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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