Submitted: Why I Won’t Delete the Apps from my Phone

There is a large and worthy ongoing movement to have women (and men) block their phones from having internet access. Many say that once they either switched to flip phones or at least blocked or deleted various apps from their smartphones they have been much happier, their relationships have improved, and their children are not at risk of seeing the filth that exists on the internet. 

All of it is commendable, but even so, I will not downgrade to a flip phone, nor will I delete every app that would could be considered not absolutely necessary. I’m not happy about it, but it is the only thing that makes sense for me, and if anyone has a better solution, I would love to know what it is.

It comes down to one simple thing: finances. I am not wealthy. My husband and I both work long, hard hours to make ends meet and ensure that our children can live comfortably without worrying that we can’t afford to buy them nice clothing and decent food. My children didn’t ask to be a part of my family, they were just put there, and I believe that the least I can do is give them as comfortable a life as I can manage.

That being said, I simply cannot afford the prices in Lakewood anymore. Just as an example – I had a baby a few months back. I went shopping for clothing in several local stores and my eyes nearly bulged out of my head. $50 for a single baby outfit that will fit for maybe 2 months? And I need to get like 10 pairs of this stuff! $500 for two months of clothing, and that doesn’t even include formula, diapers, and so on, nor does it include the financial obligations I have of making sure my other children are clothed, fed, and educated!

So, what do I do? I have apps on my phone of affordable companies (think GAP, Zara, H&M, etc.) from which I can shop and get my kids nice, comfortable clothing that they won’t be embarrassed walking around in.

You might argue that I can just walk around those same stores and find nice clothing without browsing for them on the internet, but like I said, I work long and hard hours. My time with my kids is already far less than what I wish it would be. Now I should cut down quality time with my kids even more? I don’t think so.

Of course, my phone has a lock on it and the web browser is disabled. But no, I won’t delete those shopping apps from my phone.

I can’t subject my finances to getting depleted for the sake of not having an internet connection on my phone. Maybe you can afford it, but I cannot.

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  1. I don’t have an opinion either way and I don’t like to judge others, I’m sure I have some of my own stuff that you would disapprove of. Just one point, from one online shopper to another…online shopping is very time consuming. You may say you do it in middle of the night when they’re sleeping, then they still lose out from a tired mother etc… everything comes with a price. Ultimately your decision os between you and the ribbono shel olam and between you and your family cuz they are mostly impacted. However, the mere fact that you felt the need to write this letter, leads me to believe you have your own doubts and lack of confidence in your decision. Hatzlocha with raising your children in ruchniyus and gasmiyus and they bring much yiddish nachas to the family and most importantly to Hashem!

  2. There’s no reason why you can’t go to an internet kiosk or whatever and do your shopping there once a month. If you need 24 hours access to shopping then that’s an entirely different problem.

  3. Go to the library once a week, and make your purchases then. A library is public, so it does not pose as much of a risk, and it does not send the terrible message you are sending them, that smartphones are ok.

  4. Can you clock out of work for half hour and do your online shopping then? if you are worried about giving to your children the best thing to do for them would be to get rid of internet access in the home/phone. It will def. take up from your family time if you are shopping from home. you have filters etc… but the next generation may be more lax….ie this may be setting an example for them to have worse than what you have or even if they do have filters who knows what the depraved world will be up to then with the constantly evolving data driven world. Additionally filters cannot filter out everything eg pride themed clothing sold on target… swim suits…. one other point is, that there is an inestimable benefit of not being connected to the outside world at least when we are at home.

  5. I know plenty of people who are in therapy or similar due to to overexposure to the internet (vhameivin yavin). Its quite a bit more expensive than clothing. Kids and teens are very good at getting past filters and blocks.

  6. This response is not intended as mussar to the letter writer whom I do not judge at all. These are just the facts, and anyone can take what they wish them (myself included by the way, as I’m also human, unlike most preachers 🙂 It comes down to your values and belief system. Hashem happens to be charge of your time AND your parnassah. There won’t be one cent more or less in your bank account at the end of the month regardless of what hishtadlus you do, the amount of time you spend working, or where you shop. That being said, is lowering your standards in your home legitimate hishtadlus? That’s for you to decide. You gotta do what you feel is right according to your standards at the moment, and try to keep your eye on the prize to eventually move higher. Hatzlacha and may see tremendous Siyatta D’Shmaya in everything you do!

    • Where do you take the fact that you can spend whatever you want and still have the same amount of money at the end of the month. This is not the first time I heard this one but I believe it’s a big mistake/excuse.
      True that the amount of hishtadlus does not make a difference in income,
      but how you choose to spend your money is a very different story

      • You’re right! I did not mean to splurge like crazy in the name of bitachon. My point was to try not to run after things that are not in sync with your values even if they may save you a few bucks. Each according to their level. Hatzlacha!

  7. It is possible that you are right, and that your relationship with your children is better because of your smartphone. It is possible, though, that overall, your relationship with your children is compromised because of your smartphone (don’t you also use it for pastimes as well?)
    I would suggest that you test it out. Give up your smartphone for six weeks.
    Can you manage six weeks without it? (The first two weeks are going to be difficult, and you may experience withdrawal symptoms. But it gets easier after that.)
    Let your children know that you are going offline for six weeks.
    After that time period, take stock and see whether you are happier and overall healthier, or are your children and relationships suffering more. Ask your children, too, whether they felt less (or more) connected and/or appreciated during that time.
    Then you can make an informed decision.

  8. ?. Why does the author of this letter find it necessary to disseminate their decision about his/her use of phone technology? Just wondering.

  9. I’m just wondering if all the people commenting here went to the library or an internet kiosk or clocked out of work early to read TLS and insist that others should do that. My guess is they did not, and they have internet access on their phones or computers which they are using to read opinion articles and comment on, not just to shop for clothing for their children.

    If they did in fact drive to am internet kiosk or the library or clock out of work early to read opinions on TLS, and offer their sought-after wisdom, they probably don’t know what it means to live without an abundance of free time.

  10. Anyone reading this obviously has internet access – do you only have access to lakewood scoop and not zara or gap? Probably not. If the only thing one is doing on their phone is shopping for kids clothing, I think one is ok. Obviously, there is always room for improvement in this world, but let’s not make things worse than they are. Most people don’t have an extra half hour to hang out at work or in the library. I empathize with the writer! Most people in lakewood, even those with flip phones, manage to shop online somehow. Don’t think you’re a bad person because of what you see others doing. Ask daas torah, and be confident that you are serving Hashem properly!

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