Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Because We All Know That An Ipod + Kid Can Only Have One Outcome...

Matzav.com is reporting that a new poster (viewable from the link) is being used to highlight the inherent dangers in modern technology. The poster shows two pictures of a kid -- the first a typical yeshiva bachur in a white shirt, with a kippa and a nice smile.

The second picture shows a kid with a baseball cap on backwards, wearing a T-shirt, presumably in the act of yelling something and making an "L" with his fingers.

The two pictures are accompanied by a letter which reads as follows:

Dearest Abba and Mommy,

Just wanted to thank you for the iPod touch you got me for my birthday. It’s the coolest thing! Seriously. I use it all the time to access the most disgusting stuff in the world! You would like totally faint if you knew. Anyway, OMG! It’s like the sickest thing ever. And the internet is WAY fast. It only takes me a few seconds to download the WORST videos and photos imaginable. I can literally get anything I want and talk to anyone I want. Bet you had no idea when you bought it. That’s too bad, cuz, you know, I was just an innocent 7th grader full of potential. You probably had high hopes for me - sorry, but that’s history now. I don’t really care much about learning - or anything else - anymore and I’ll probably drop out of school pretty soon. So long and thanks for ruining me. You rule!

Love, Chaim (a.k.a. “tank”)

Of course, a more reasonable approach isn't possible, right? After all, it never occurred to them that this might be a possible outcome:

Dearest Abba and Mommy,

Just wanted to thank you for the iPod touch you got me for my birthday. It’s the coolest thing! Seriously. I use it all the time to listen to music!

I know that deep down you wouldn't give me something that could potentially be dangerous if you didn't think I could handle it responsibly. I know that if you didn't think I could handle it, you wouldn't let me have it. And I thank you for giving me the education and grounding to know how to use it responsibly. I've always appreciated that you were the types of parents of whom I could ask almost any question without fear. I'm so happy that we have the type of relationship where I can ask you, without fear of getting in trouble, if a particular song or video is appropriate for me. And because you've shown me that you're reasonable and not overbearing parents and that your opinion is trustworthy, I know that you have my best interest at heart if you say that something is not for me.

I know it must be very hard to let go and trust me to use this Ipod. I know that you're proud of me and because I know that you have such high hopes for me, I will do my best to make sure that I don't disappoint you.

Oh yeah, and I also know that you'll be watching over me as I use this Ipod. So I'd better not mess up if I want to keep it. :)

Thanks for showing so much trust in me and for being good and understanding parents.

Love, Chaim

How about, instead of demonizing the technology, educating kids in the responsible usage of it; and allowing parents to determine whether or not their children are capable of using a tool responsibly?

The Wolf

11 comments:

Tzipporah said...

why? Because if you start teaching children to think responsibly for themselves, pretty soon their parents will want to do so too, and then what will the rebbes do for work?

Tzvi Feifel said...

Wolf, you rock.

G said...

Well played-

You and your calm rationality...feh!

G6 said...

Wonderful post!
I would love to have seen a third possible letter, from the boy who didn't get the Ipod, because his parents aren't teaching him how to live responsibly as a frum Jew in our current society and how his slowly but surely going off the derech as he sneaks around trying to access all this "forbidden fruit".
We teach our children how to responsibly use knives and cars without the need to ban them, even though they pose potential physical risk. We should do the same for potential spiritual risks.
GIVE THEM THE TOOLS TO ACT SAFELY AND RESPONSIBLY.

Anonymous said...

How about adding -- BTW I go to the Audio roundup column on hirhurim and download relevant shiurim for my bus ride. Can you get me a version with speed control?

Love,
Chaim (who is learning the dynamic balance he'll need in his life)

Baruch said...

I have a mp3 player. There's one song on it -- "Send Me on My Way" by Rusted Root -- and everything else is recordings from various shiurim and interviews with rabbanim.

Mikeinmidwood said...

You think they would send out something on how to control yourself, your to optimistic, get real. I know you want them to get real, not happening, not this generation.

Moshe said...

If they wouldn't demonize technology, then who would they have to blame for kids going off the derech. Themselves? Like that would ever happen.

frum single female said...

great post. i agree with moshe. if these people had no one or nothing to demonize they'd have to look into themselves and realize they are the reason their children or students are goin off the derech.

cipher said...

Seriously. I use it all the time to access the most disgusting stuff in the world! You would like totally faint if you knew. Anyway, OMG! It’s like the sickest thing ever. And the internet is WAY fast. It only takes me a few seconds to download the WORST videos and photos imaginable.

The thing that I find both amusing and tragic is that the people who put this sort of statement online really have no clue as to what's out there. By "the most disgusting stuff in the world" and "the WORST videos and photos imaginable", they probably mean pictures of women in bikinis. They couldn't even conceptualize the pornography that's out there.

Of course, there's always parental control software (do they have it for iPods?) - but, as Moshe said, then if the kids go otd, they'll have to blame themselves.

cipher said...

Although, now that I think about it, I don't know that parental control software would work for these people. My understanding is that it blocks whatever it identifies as pornography. I don't believe you can tell it to block sites that discuss kefira!