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Internet Solutions through Arevim
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Internet pornography often presents a challenge to one’s integrity and עבודת השם, often seeming an insurmountable obstacle. Accessibility to any site at the click of a button, while convenient in some ways, can lend itself to potential or actual problems.
Because of the risk, some Poskim have prohibited Internet usage completely, others require filters, and yet others mandate practicing the restrictions of yichud with the Internet.
Unfortunately, these are impractical for most Yeshiva University students, for whom the Internet is often a necessary part of life. Filters usually block either too leniently or frustratingly overzealously—neither of which present acceptable and convenient safeguards. And being careful about yichud is often impractical, especially with widespread wireless Internet access.
YU Arevim offers a computer program that prevents problems of yichud, regardless of one’s actual location.
The program, Covenant Eyes, sits quietly on the computer, taking up virtually no space. It merely monitors the websites that a person visits, using it to generate a weekly “Accountability Report.” The user chooses a friend, a “buddy,” to receive these reports and keep an eye on Internet usage-- easy virtual yichud.
Let’s say Reuven and Shimon are buddies. Reuven uses his computer perfectly normally, while the program monitors the activity and scores each site automatically. When Shimon receives his weekly report, he sees a list of the highest-scored sites. For example, if Reuven only visits www.yu.edu for an entire week, then Shimon's report says, "Report Looks Good." If Reuven watched some harmless YouTube videos or read a CNN article on pregnancy, it might have received a questionable score, in which case the report states, "Report Needs Review," listing the questionable sites for Shimon’s perusal. If the automatic scoring determined a greater need for Shimon's attention, the report will read, "Serious Review Recommended," with a list of questionable sites.
Convenient virtual yichud, without any overblocking, underblocking, or restrictions. And it’s free for most of our users (see details here).
Many YU Roshei Yeshiva were approached to support this program, and many gave signed endorsements, including: Rabbi Adler, Rabbi Ben-Haim, Rabbi Cohen, Rabbi Goldwicht, Rabbi Hirsch, Rabbi Horwitz, Rabbi Kahn, Rabbi Koenigsberg, Rabbi Neuburger, Rabbi Reichman, Rabbi Rosensweig, Rabbi Sacks, Rabbi Schachter, Rabbi Sobolofsky, Rabbi Simon, Rabbi Stein, Rabbi Tendler, Rabbi Twersky, and Rabbi Willig. Additionally, Rabbi Willig spoke about this topic and the recording is available on YUTorah.
Arevim has been active ever since its creation in 2008, and we invite you to sign up now!
Many initially react to Internet yichud with skepticism and uncertainty. Yet our sages tell us, “Do not trust yourself until the day of your death” (אבות ב:ד). Perhaps you have heard stories of people struggling with the Internet; perhaps you know people who have; perhaps you have had issues in the past. For such a painful and dangerous problem, it’s definitely worth it to sign up for an easy and convenient solution, one that allows normal and safe Internet usage.
We invite you to see our list of solution options. If you’re still hesitant, please take a look at our FAQ page and user reviews. If your hesitations aren’t solved there, please contact us and we’ll get back to you. We also appreciate donations (credit card, PayPal, cash, or check) to help us provide the service for our members.
Chazal tell us, ושמרתם את משרמתי: עשו משמרת למשמרתי. We must establish safeguards to enforce our ethical standards. The Internet is a chasm. Please join us in building a fence.
Please use the form below, or email, to sign up, ask, or comment.
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