Meet the Navigating High School Years Forum Leader
Chaya Batya Neugroschl
Mrs. Chaya Batya (CB) Neugroschl is the Head of School. She is an educator with over twenty years of pedagogic, curricular, and administrative experience in both Judaic and General Studies. Before coming to Central, Mrs. Neugroschl served as Assistant Principal...
I am involved in a frum (non – US) boys high school where, while we don’t allow smartphones at school, parents allow smartphones at home.
With their access to smartphones and internet the boys have access to everything that the internet has to offer. We have educated parents and students about filters etc but not all of them have them in place. We are therefore in a position where we have to teach about the dangers of the internet; and we have to teach about pornography.
I have no idea how to go about doing that – What direction do we take? What approach do we use?
Thanks in advance
My expertise comes from a different perspective than some of the other Leaders, given that i have prosecuted the negative results of internet behaviors. Demonstrating the criminal elements and the consequences of online actions may result in a deterrent effect of certain behavior. In my experience, teenagers do not internalize the impacts of online activity without understanding the direct threat to them.
Several cases I’ve prosecuted or been involved with demonstrate these points. These examples involve members of the frum community.
– Child Pornography: A minor that sends, receives or distributes another minors nude photograph is a crime involving child pornography. Unfortunately, it is common for today’s teenagers to send one another or a boyfriend/girlfriend inappropriate photos. Sending them is a crime. Receiving them is a crime. Showing them to your friends is a crime. Minors have been prosecuted for any of these crimes.
– Sexual Predators: Online activity attracts manipulative predators. I prosecuted a case where a 35 year old travelled from Tennessee to liberate (aka kidnap) a 14 year old he fell in love with online.
– Sextortion: A 17 year old was phished to provide a nude photo of himself to a girl he met online. The girl turned out to be a scammer from Morocco, who demanded $1,000 in exchange for not sending this nude photo to all his friends, classmates, parents and teachers.
– Revenge Porn: Girl breaks up with her boyfriend. Out of revenge or other reason, he posts her photos: nude and semi-nude online. Result is extraordinarily embarrassing and harmful to the girl.
– Surreptitious Recordings: Boyfriend videotapes girlfriend in compromising positions. He then sends the video out to his friends. Video goes viral within the community, being shared via WhatsApp.
– Online Manipulations: Online girl befriends 13 year old yeshiva boy. They end up chatting via Skype, but the “girl” never shows her face. Eventually, she convinces boy to undress for the camera. In actuality, the “girl” was another student in the school. He shares the screenshot with fellow students. This is also creation and distribution of child pornography-a crime.
– Computer Generated Images: Boy photoshops girls head onto nude body, sends it to high school principle anonymously. Result is devastating for girl and an embarrassing incident.
– Obscenity: Sending a minor images, even ostensibly legal ones, is a crime. In this case, a boy sends a girl images downloaded from the internet to harass and intimidate her. Distributing obscenity to a minor results in criminal sanction.
– Identity Theft: Online activities can OFTEN result in others obtaining information about you that can and is used to harm your credit in numerous ways. Online identity theft is one of the most pervasive and rising crimes that has many negative impacts.
Importantly, in all these examples the perp was caught. Law enforcement has unique and specialized ability to locate the source of the data and to determine the perpetrator(s) of the crime. Those individuals ended up suffering because of their criminal or thoughtless behaviors, resulting in criminal sanctions–being incarcerated, prosecuted, having to register as a sex offender, etc.
These cases are a small sampling of cases I have been involved with and assisted in. An illustration of the incredible dangers – both from your own intentional or unintentional actions is enormous.
I think that your education should include not only porn, but general personal Net safety. This way, hopefully, they’ll be more careful in all digital interactions and you won’t come across as caring only about porn (not a message you want to send to a teenager. If they think you don’t care about them, they’ll shut you out.)
I told my kids that being on-line is like standing in the middle of a highway: you never know from which direction and at what speed a car of any size might come hurling down.
I repeat like a broken record: do not send any electronic messages you wouldn’t have said/shown out loud publicly. There are screenshots, forwards, somebody borrowing your friend’s phone (possibly a parent or a person of opposite gender). There are security breaches, leeks and information stealing. Nobody’s immune, and nothing is private. There are also archives, which can be searched, and stupid things you do today might ruin your career and/or more important things in the future. Internet;s memory doesn’t fade.
And you’re traceable. Very, very much so.
I explain how somebody who’s interested can learn a lot about them just by reading what may seem to be a few innocent posts; and explain that criminals actively pursue people’s social accounts.
You can talk about porn as a part of general netiquette & personal safety discussion. Tell them about the importance of Shemiras Einaim, how it is important for their spiritual well-being, as well how viewing inappropriate images may affect their marriage for the rest of their lives. Explain that men are visual, and they don’t want their relationships sullied by the images coming up in front of their eyes during holy, special moments (be that in shul or at home). Explain that porn is addictive. And tell them that it’s a criminal offense, for which they’re old enough to be prosecuted (just check your facts first).
And, by the way, it’s not only porn you need to worry about. Music, youtube videos of all sort… There is so much garbage out there, of all kinds & shapes. Make it an on-going conversation, offer mentoring.
I heard that somebody developed a Technology awareness course for frum highschools; your students might benefit from it. Maybe Aguda can direct you.
I’ll see if I can find more info about it.
As a side point, I spoke about it to a post-high school young man who is off-the-derech now. He said that where he lives (a major Jewish frum community), in all high schools there is access to porn (at least images); and it is up to each bochur if he will look at it or not.