A Digital Safety Accounting

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As the month of Elul draws to a close and Rosh Hashanah approaches, it’s the perfect time for some introspection, a time to reflect on our lives and actions over the past year. The impending judgment of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and the opportunity for personal growth shift our focus from the daily grind to a moment of pause, where we can examine and align our practices with the eternal values we hold dear.

This summer, TAG Baltimore introduced a unique form of personal reflection to our community. Baltimore’s Bais Yaakov School for Girls hosted the inaugural TAG Baltimore Digital Safety Counseling (D.S.C.) event. These DSCs, a fresh initiative by TAG International, were launched this year in several other communities, including Lakewood, Toronto, and Montreal, receiving positive feedback from participants.

Bais Yaakov invited parents to schedule one-on-one appointments with trained Digital Safety counselors in the school’s auditorium. The TAG office provided ten counselors to accommodate the appointments. Rabbi Moshe Drew, the international director of TAG, and Rabbi Eliyahu Mayerfeld, TAG’s out-of-town office coordinator, traveled from Lakewood and Waterbury, CT, respectively, to oversee the event.

During these meetings, counselors helped parents assess the digital landscape within their homes. In a non-judgmental manner, they discussed the level of internet access their devices offered and whether these devices were accessible to their children. Counselors offered filtering solutions and general advice, empowering parents to take responsibility for digital access at home and devise effective strategies to tackle the challenges. After the session, parents were given the option to schedule follow-up appointments at the TAG office to address specific concerns.

Here’s some of the feedback shared by parents:

“The consultant was very knowledgeable and helpful.”
“Excellent. Very informative.”
“Thank you for providing personal attention to help all parents better understand the risks of technology in today’s world.”
“Answered all my questions.”
“I am so grateful that TAG is available as a resource to protect my family from the dangers of the internet and excessive computer use.”

As Rabbi Drew emphasized to the counselors, it’s crucial for everyone to conduct an annual assessment of their digital safety, not just for themselves but also for their families. Just as Elul, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur are times for spiritual reflection and transformation, our digital habits and online safety should be integral parts of this introspective process.

May we all be blessed with a Shana Tova, a Ksiva V’Chasima Tova, and a Sweet and Successful New Year.

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