Last week we heard from a frustrated father regarding his children and their addiction to electronics. I had asked everyone to share their opinions, and I received many blog posts, and over 150 e-mail replies. I compiled all of the ideas together as best as possible, and, Baruch Hashem, it seems there is hope if we play our cards right.
On Wednesday morning, I was sitting in Yeshiva when two boys walked in. The boy who came in first turned to his friend and said to him as follows: (please forgive the run-on sentence), “I am attacking with the baby dragon on the highest level combined with the prince, because the baby dragon has blast damage and the only thing that can stop the prince is blast damage, so unless he also has a fully upgraded baby dragon to counteract mine, I’m unstoppable!”
I told this boy, “I remember learning about a dragon in the Gemara, I think in Avoda Zara!” He looked and me and said “Rebbe, this is really serious stuff I’m discussing!” It just validated my concerns, namely that electronics have switched from a fun outlet to a destructive and/or obsessive habit.
In order to understand the issue better, I think we need to take a step back and see where it’s coming from. We all like to blame our society or our schools and communities. However, I asked over 30 boys during the week, and they all felt that their parents were also addicted to their cellphones. Here are five questions that can help you figure out if you’re one of them:
So, what is there to do about this? Obviously, you need to understand that if you’re constantly on your phone, holding your phone or checking your phone, your children will not view the phone as something negative, rather they will perceive it as a normal and acceptable way of life. In order to address our children’s addiction with the iPad, cellphone or electronics, it would be prudent to work on ourselves and try to limit the amount of time we use and check our phones. That being said, if your children are doing well in Yeshiva, have friends, and are easy going, you may not need to do anything. If, however, you feel that your kids are hooked on electronics, these next 18 ideas are for you. Thank you again to the many people who helped with this.
Remember, some of these ideas might work for your family, and some not. See which works best for you. Keep in mind that this will not be easy. However, if you’re consistent, you will be successful!
With the help of Hashem, we will continue to raise our children to be Mentchen.
Have a great Shabbos.
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.