I open up my computer and immediately log onto Yideotube. Under the banner, in all capitals letters I read, “Yideotube: YOUR DAILY SOURCE OF CAREFULLY SCREENED VIDEOS.” I scroll down a little, and I see a video of Menachem Herman playing his live rendition of “With A Little Help from Hashem.” Yideotube is not the first to participate in this new trend of orthodox-fueled web browsing—Israel’s “Koogle” and Guard Your Eyes are among this new wave as well.
The Internet can be both a playground for some, and a very scary place for others. And what happens when surfing YouTube turns into disobeying your own religion and moral compass? This is where these websites come in; their content personally screened and looked at, judged by those who banish the offensive content.
When I first heard about these websites, I thought it was completely absurd. These people are censoring themselves! I was inherently opposed to any idea of censorship in the first place, because my first inclination is that somebody must be keeping somebody else down, out of the loop from freedom. But in this instance, that is very far from the case. While I am not personally offended by the image of a naked woman, there are people who are offended, and they have the right to protect themselves from that feeling of violation. In fact, it actually represents a surprising amount of accuracy towards my inclination of freedom—we are now allowed to pick and choose the websites we go to, and the images that we expose ourselves to. It seems that every day our experiences of browsing the web gets more and more personalized, and I can’t stress enough how beneficial I believe that is for society. While I don’t need to stop myself from buying anything online between Friday evening and Saturday evening during Shabbat, more power to those who set their own boundaries and use websites that will shut down when attempting to do so.