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Bilet 13 The internet is literally one of the greatest inventions of this century and possibly of the entire history

of mankind. The unprecedented access to information and the ease of communication has literally changed our lives forever on multiple levels. This includes how we do our work, how we communicate and how we conduct ourselves in our spare time. The amount of Torah resources online is quite incredible, allowing one to have a virtual Bait Medrash at one's finger tips 24/7. I could go on forever at the great advantages of the internet and how it is greatly improved our lives. However that is not the purpose of the post. It it not my attention to come across as a “fanatic” or “prude”, but I feel that these issues are relevant and real and should be discussed. The purpose of this post is to talk about the negative aspects of the internet, how these aspects have effected our lives and what possible measures can be implemented to avoid / counteract them. Obviously as mentioned before this post is going to be one of extremes, painting things in terms of black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. While we all know that life isn't in terms of black and white, but rather many shades of grey, I feel my points will best be conveyed by taking this approach. First of all we need a clear and frank analysis of what these negative aspects of the Internet are. The comments will be of a general nature as well as observations specific to the Orthodox Jewish community. 1) The complete ease and unrestricted access to a multitude of pornographic material in a variety of media formats. This includes explicit sites dedicated to pornography as well as subtle sexual inferences in online advertising and pop ups. There is also an abundance of emails “spam” that are sent on a daily basis trying to draw subscribers to these websites. 2) Online chat groups where anonymous individuals can meet online and engage in unrestricted conversation. The conversation could be of course strictly innocent, on the the other hand, it could be of more sinister nature. There is a potential for sexual deviants to prey on unsuspecting minors as well as inappropriate male / female relationships being formed. 3) As the internet is a unrestricted, uncensored medium anyone can post anything they want. Some of this material can be inappropriate, dedicated to the glorification of the worst aspects of human nature (violence, hate, rape, mockery, slander, etc) 4) Even on websites that are deemed to be innocent, many of the advertisements and/or content are inappropriate from the Orthodox Jewish perspective as the Modern Secular Westernized world has completely different criteria of what is modest, dignified and laudable.

5) The internet has become a staple part of our mode of communication. This includes email, video/ audio conferences and messenger clients (Eg MSN Messenger, Yahoo, AOL, etc). This mode of communication is highly effective and beneficial when dealing with individuals who live over long distances. However, when the internet becomes the one of the alternative means of communication between friends and family and this can lead to a deterioration of the quality of our relationships. If one can just “chat” online, one often misses valuable opportunities to communicate with people on a one-to-one basis in “real life”. 6) The Internet like anything can be highly addictive. It can cause interference in ones work/ study and family life. The excess amount of time spent online can lead to a lack of sleep, and ill health in the short / long term due to lack of exercise and sunlight.