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Sunday, April 22, 2018

We live in a new world, where our access to extensive technology provides a pathway to connect with each other in unprecedented ways. The reach of the internet allows us not only to work from home while communicating with those across the globe, but also provides access to Torah, shiurim, sources, sefarim, videos and more in ways that previous generations could not imagine. As we navigate these new waters together, we must develop, proactively, an outlook on the impact of technology. What do we want our relationship to this technological world to look like in our lives—for ourselves, our children and the next generation?

We all know that there are also less-positive aspects regarding our relationship with our gadgets. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our internet habits. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you ever feel too attached to your phone?

Do you check your phone first thing in the morning, sometimes even before you say Modeh Ani?

Do you check your phone more than 25, 50, 100 times a day? (Seems like a lot? Research indicates the average person checks more often daily!)

Do you feel limits on screen time are a lost battle?

Do you get lost while checking the news or social media?

Do you have trouble getting yourself to sleep at a decent hour because you are consumed with tech use?

Ultimately, the question really is, are you in control of your phone and tech use or is it in control of you?

If you have answered yes to any or many of these questions, join the club! And join Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn this Sunday night, January 14, at 7:45 p.m. for the launch of a “Tech-Free Time” campaign.

As research unfolds with both the positive and negative impact of extensive internet and technology use, there is a need to establish guidelines for ourselves and our children. Dr. Yitzchak Schechter, chief clinical officer at Bikur Cholim Inc. and director of the Institute for Applied Research and Community Collaboration, will address attendees and give an important workshop on this topic. Armed with a realistic picture of today’s internet use, Dr. Schechter will provide strategies to help create appropriate boundaries and rules for internet use as well as provide tools to help ensure safe use for our families.

The goal of this campaign is for us to empower each other in our efforts—with the hope that we can make even the slightest change in our habits and daily life. All are welcome to attend and help create a community of people who are serious about becoming and raising healthy digital citizens. The hope is that this initiative will spread throughout the community.

By Dr. Sara Markowitz

 Dr. Sara Markowitz is associate rebbetzin of Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn and practicing psychologist and director of group therapy at Bikur Cholim.