July 25, 2024
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Community Seventh Graders Join for Technology Awareness Event

On Friday, February 28, seventh graders from Ben Porat Yosef, RYNJ, Tenafly Chabad Academy, The Moriah School, Yavneh Academy, Yeshivat He’Atid and Yeshivat Noam joined together for a morning of technology awareness. The girls gathered at Yeshivat Noam and the boys at RYNJ for a presentation of the documentary “Screenagers.”

Sara Markowitz offered opening remarks to the girls, reminding them how important it is to be present in whatever they are doing.

“The power of the klal is tremendous,” said Markowitz, who spoke to the girls about the story of Purim and the Jews of Shushan who together brought about change through tefillah and fasting. The message to the students was clear; together you can empower one another to make significant change in your lives and in the way you use technology.

At RYNJ, Bin Goldman, the school’s director of psychology and guidance, began his opening remarks with a humor-filled and meaningful story about the power of technology in our lives.

The seventh-grade event is part of a series of programs developed by the Screening Our Future campaign, which aims to shift our community’s approach to technology. “Screenagers” offers a look into real-life circumstances where digital technology becomes distracting and consuming. It provides research-based evidence on the dangers that excessive screen time can have on developing brains and the concerns related to social media.

Following the documentary, students were divided into small discussion groups where they shared their personal feelings about technology and its affects, both positive and negative.

Students revealed how devices could be distracting and harmful. Many suggested that phones get in the way of homework and bedtime, while others pointed out the benefits of having a phone, which include personal safety and the ability to communicate with their parents.

Technology is widespread in today’s world so eliminating it is not a realistic approach. What this campaign seeks to achieve are the proper balance and guidelines when using technology.

“We applaud the parents who have instituted ‘screen free’ dinners and taken other steps to minimize the overuse of technology. The children are noticing a difference,” said Rabbi Daniel Price, head of school, RYNJ.

“It was a pleasure to host the event and continue this ongoing partnership with the other yeshivot. Thank God we are making progress,” said Rabbi Price. “As a community, it is important for everyone to know that we still have a lot of work to do.”

Screening Our Future is planning a similar event for sixth graders in early May, although it will likely feature a different film and program.

To learn more about Screening Our Future please email [email protected].

By Andrea Nissel

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