Often Overlooked Internet Issues

Michoel, a regular contributor on Beyond BT, posted a comment on Kressel’s Cutting Connections post which we felt deserves attention.

I am, bli neder, going to take a haitus from personal web use. If anyone sees me on this site in the next 3 months, please tell me to get off immediately. I am going to list here some problems with web use as I see it. Understood, many don’t see these things as problems or manage to deal with the problems easily. So please don’t post to upshlug all my kashes. If you have advice as to how to deal with the kashes, please post them. Thank you to Mark and Dave for hosting a site where I have learned a lot and hopefully shared a few ideas that others have benefitted from.

1. Bitul z’man. A very big subject with lots of implications
2. Feelings of depression or mental sluggishness resulting from the media of interent use, regardless of content.
3. Weakening of gidrei tzinus in male – female communications
4. Reading apikorsis which weakens emunah

5. Seeing things that are immodest, even at sites like JPost, CNN etc
6. Feeding compulsiveness
7. “Rewiring” of one’s eye-brain connections, training the eye to look where it wants to
8. Fueling of midas hamachlokes and the need to have the last word
9. Feeding the need to know the latest which relates to weakening of the ability to defer pleasure
10. Relating to “e-people” instead of real people in all there complexity and greatness
11. Physical health issues. Sitting for hours slupted over the computer, failure to excercise
12. Failing to defer the need to share good or original thoughts as opposed to “Letting it bake”
13. Using company time to be on the web for personal use which can be a very grave issur. Also, having a hand in causing others to be over on bitul m’lacha. Even if I can control myself, how do I know whether yenem can?
14. The big LH (Loshon Hora)

3 comments on “Often Overlooked Internet Issues

  1. Michoel’s points are well thought-out and are well-taken. Regarding # 6, his idea of a hiatus is an excellent one. In his case, it was three months, but it can be three weeks, three days, or three hours. This technique can be useful for both completely stopping, or bringing one’s online time down to a reasonable amount.

  2. I owned an ISP and a web site hosting business until quite recently. Suffice to say, I am pretty geeky – I built my first computer in 1967 and I was using the “internet” long before the term “internet” was coined. I’m also a baal tushuva who has had many of the same issues you mentioned. Handing those issues, however, turned out to be quite simple.

    Rather than using a browser, as I now am to write this, I got myself an RSS reader which I use to monitor this site and many other Jewish sites. Using an RSS reader means that I don’t have to use a web browser to keep up – I only see what I want to see these days.

    As for the issues with the news, I’ve found Rabbi Lazer’s advice to be a great help – why bother? Stop reading the paper for a couple of months and then start again and, truth be told, it’s full of the same news – only the names and locations are changed. These days I get all the news I need from Rabbi Lazer’s Emuna News Weekly via my RSS reader.

    I spent most of my life (30+ years) sitting at a keyboard while staring at a computer monitor and I paid a heavy price for that health wise – a very heavy price. Today I’m fighting Congestive Heart Failure as a direct result. But even this turned out to be surprisingly easy to correct. I simply purchased one of those nice metal computer desks from an office supply store – one of those that has all the shelfs and stuff you need for one office type of work station. I set it on cinder blocks, raising considerably and now I have to stand whenever I’m on the keyboard. But I’ve taken it a bit farther than that, not only do I stand but I dance to Jewish music whenever I’m on the computer.

    Another trick is to use a dialup connection. I once had multiple T1s here in my home office – dream connections by any standards. The temptations found on the Internet often got the best of me so one day I shut them all down and started using a standard, slower than a snail, dialup connection. Now surfing the web is so slow that I won’t even bother…

    Problem solved :-)


  3. I think this post should be renamed “The Thirteen(+1) Ikrei HoEmunah of the Internet ban”. First Kressel now Michoel! Some of our most fascinating and stalwart posters are dropping like flies. Who will be next? (I know there are plenty who’d like it just fine if it were me but I’m not ready to give them the satisfaction)

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