Beth Rivkah of Brooklyn has banned Facebook among its students. The fear that it could lead to fraternisation and the posting of immodest pictures played a role in the decision, according to the Algemeiner Journal.
“People on the board said it’s not proper for us to have Facebook because girls might be talking to boys on Facebook or they might be putting up immodest pictures.”
It is very easy, of course to circumvent any Facebook ban. Pseudonyms make it almost impossible to prevent someone from opening a Facebook account that would be subject to monitoring if it were known to and tolerated by school authorities. The internet has changed the landscape in which personal behavior occurs. Through secret e mail accounts and secret social media accounts, it is now possible to converse, arrange meetings and to project a persona that is totally at variance with whatever community standards one might publicly espouse. If someone is not educated or motivated to care about the values being promoted in school, it is easier than ever to engage in immodest behavior.
The best solution in the age of the internet is to have a friend looking over your shoulder, someone who might have the password to your Facebook or other social media venues and who would express their disapproval if they found immodesty there. Getting a student to agree with and to cooperate with such an approach is already a critical step in the right direction.
It is good that Beth Rivkah recognises the dangers presented by social media. Despite this, a different approach to this very real problem is probably in order.The latest ban on Facebook has probably already been circumvented by students who have spent their entire lives in a state of computer literacy. Hopefully, in a generation in which community disapproval is so easily circumvented, people will find deeper and more enduring reasons for doing the right thing.