No Internet monitoring needed, many religious youth say

But poll finds that 56% of AMIT national religious students admit that there are dangers on-line.

computer 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
computer 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Despite the risks that the Internet is known to pose to children, nearly half of AMIT national religious students polled about their Internet habits feel there should be no limits on their surfing. The survey of 869 students from AMIT schools all over the country was taken as part of National Safe Internet week, which culminated Tuesday. While 56 percent admitted that there were dangers on-line and that some instruction on surfing the Web safely would be useful, 43% said there was no need to monitor or restrict where they surfed, nor did they need any instruction. Many AMIT students said they surfed the Web for fun several hours a day. Nearly 60% said they were on the Internet for at least three hours a day, not including hours spent on the Web for school. Only 3% said they didn't surf the Web at all. Regarding divulging personal information over the Net, 51% said they only gave out such details on secure sites, 24% to any site that asked, and 24% said they never gave out personal information at all. Aside from the basics of safe surfing, as a religious school network, AMIT also stressed the relevance of Halacha (Jewish law) to Internet browsing. Students have tackled dilemmas such as whether Rabbenu Gershom's prohibition against reading mail applies to e-mail as well, and whether copying a paper off the Web is considered stealing. AMIT has also distributed the "10 Commandments" of safe behavior in chat rooms, which stress again and again that students never really know to whom they are talking. Even when they are in chat rooms that ostensibly cater to members of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, there is no way to verify that everyone in the chat room really belongs there, according to one of the commandments.