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There seem to be so many dangers to owning "smartphones," for both children and adults.

  • Access to violent, explicit, manipulative images, video, text, etc.
  • The technology itself is designed to be compelling and perhaps "addictive"
  • It can "steal" our waking time and even our sleep

So I have some questions in this area:

  • is this technology permitted in the first place? Under what circumstances?
  • When can or should children be able to "go online"?
  • On what grounds did various poskim try to outlaw movies, TV, personal computers, internet at home, etc.?

All guiding responses, links, resources are welcomed. (This Letter Prohibiting Television post has already been very helpful in my thinking.)

closed as too broad by robev, sabbahillel, LN6595, Alex, DonielF Feb 18 at 15:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Seemingly it's permitted whenever using a regular phone is permitted. They aren't distinct Halakhic categories. – Double AA Feb 17 at 19:36
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    Access to violent, explicit, manipulative images, video, text, etc. Is only accessable for people who actively pursue and seek such things. – Anonymous Feb 17 at 20:38
  • Owning smartphones is nothing dangerous it starts with switching it on! – Al Berko Feb 17 at 21:13
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    Welcome to MiYodeya Shir and thanks for this first question. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. This question is quite broad, consider breaking it down (e.g., third bullet in the question list could form a separate question). Great to have you learn with us! – mbloch Feb 18 at 3:30
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Simple questions require simple answers:

  1. No technology was/will be ever prohibited. Why don't you go back and ask that question about the technology of making knives and swords - it really kills! How about money? Why should we use it if it leads to so many transgressions? Cars - so many accidents! Etc. The technology is an instrument and all it does is it provides you with a choice of using it for good or bad.

  2. A person should stay away from unneeded tests. One should not put himself in danger in the first place. Therefore if one is physically unstable he should not drive, and if he's prone to the theft he should keep away from other people money etc. If one is prone to lust he should keep away from the unfiltered Internet. As simple as that.

  3. There's nothing on the Internet that didn't exist before it's just the matter of access. So with our kids we should treat the Internet on par with other dangers - according to their availability - just as we lock the knives and other dangerous stuff, we limit kids' access to dangerous content on the web.

  4. There are two problems with the availability of those technologies - idolatry and adultery and their spin-offs. Whatever might cool down one's motivation to serving Hashem (idolatry) or fire up one's lust (adultery) is warned upon.


There's nothing special about smartphones. Everything becomes computerized and everything becomes "a computer" just with a screen of a different size - from a phone to a TV.

  • Thank you for your insights and for taking the time to learn with me, @Al-Berko. I'm new here. Re #1 aren't biblical injunctions against divination et al. a type of forbidden "technology"? Wasn't there a more recent argument between hasidim/misnagdim about knives used for kashrut? Re #2 what's the halachic language for this concept of staying away from "unneeded tests"? – Shir Yaakov Feb 18 at 0:58

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