Wednesday, 09 November 2011

Tool 3: Guard Your Eyes

Part 2/7 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by GYE (See all authors)

In healing from this addiction, we need to learn to be very honest with ourselves. If we find that we can't control our surfing habits, we need to admit it and make stronger fences, such as limiting our time online, making concise lists of sites we allow ourselves to visit, getting better filters/accountability software or setting the current filter's settings to a higher protection level.

We highly suggest getting solid Internet filters that block any questionable sites. The best type of filters are Jewish server-based filters like Jnet, Koshernet, Yeshivanet and Internet Rimon (in Israel). And of course, the best level of protection is "White-list", which means that all sites are blocked except for specific sites that we can ask the company to open for us (or sites that the company has already checked and white-listed). If the "white-list" option is impossible for us to have due to Parnassa requirements, the filter should at least be set to the highest protection setting that we can afford to use, even if that means less entertainment.

It is important to realize though, that the goal of the filter is only to keep it "out of sight and out of mind". It is not going to remove the possibility of accessing indecent material altogether. If a person is determined enough, they will often be able to find ways to bypass filters, and even if not, they will always be able to find many other venues to access inappropriate material. Ultimately, the change must come from within, with a sincere desire to stop lusting. (See Part 2 of this handbook for more on how to achieve this sincerity).

The filter acts mainly as a "heker" (a reminder), similar in a sense to what our Sages tell us about Palti ben Layish (to whom Shaul Hamelech gave over David's wife). Palti was alone every evening with Michal (who Chazal tell us was one of the most beautiful women) and yet he never stumbled because of a sword that he placed between the two of them, saying that whoever bypasses this sword should be run through by it. The filter is like our sword, it is our "heker". But it will not stop us completely unless we want it to. However, since it can take a long time until we learn to genuinely give up our lust to Hashem, we must have a strong filter at all times. For if we don't get it out of reach, we won't be able to stop the vicious cycle of addiction and begin the healing process.

Another great way to make sure we guard our eyes online is to place the computer in a highly visible area of the house, such as the living room, and to also make sure never to use the Internet when alone in the house.

In any event, it is best for us - if possible - to avoid all non-Jewish or secular news and entertainment sites (and the like). See the "Kosher Isle" on our website for lists of Kosher news and entertainment sites that can provide us with more than our ‘daily dosage’ of news and distractions.