Friday, June 05, 2020

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As a parent, psychotherapist and a former administrator and rebbe at a local yeshiva day school, I am very excited about the “initial” step that our local yeshiva day schools have taken regarding the overuse of technology by our youth and adults.

I specifically wrote “initial” step because schools and parents alone will probably not be able to sufficiently monitor or legislate away the overuse of technology by our children.

Due to the addictive nature and effect of technology, we should not delude ourselves by thinking that we adults can control this epidemic, especially since many of the articles have already demonstrated that this addiction is not only confined to our children, but adults, parents and teachers alike are also afflicted.

Therefore, I believe, that the best control is self-control. This means that our children need to learn how to monitor themselves and their use of technological devices.

During the past year I have had the privilege to meet with many of the yeshiva day school and high school principals and heads of schools, in an effort to introduce them to the concept of mindfulness and how it can be useful in combating this epidemic.

Many mental health practitioners have observed that adults and children who incorporate mindfulness into their lives tend to make better decisions in the moment. These skills can be very effective in empowering our children and ourselves to combat the negative effects of technology and its overuse.

My hope is to partner with local yeshiva day schools and high schools so that we can transmit the knowledge and skills associated with mindfulness to our children in order to empower them to limit themselves in their own use of technology.

Rabbi Samuel Frankel, LCSW