Some thoughts on ditching the smartphone

The Rav has been putting tremendous emphasis on tznius dressing and ditching the smartphone.


Tznius dressing, tachlis, just means tops that aren’t so tight the bra strap is visible, nor so plunging the cleavage is straight in your face, with sleeves that are long

And skirts that are ankle length.

Before the frum world got totally ‘confused’ by all the fakers in our midst that teach that ankle skirt lengths ‘aren’t tznius’, this was kind of obvious.

(Remind me another time, to tell you the story of how my kids got rejected from Beis Yaakov because the headteacher said my skirts were too long and I’d have to start covering my hair properly by wearing a wig…. Crazy.)

And for married women – to cover all of their hair.



This post is actually some thoughts on the smartphone, and just how so very bad it’s actually been for everyone’s mental health.

One of the advantages to being ‘cancelled’ online is that is actually means you can find more real information.

I know that sounds strange, but because I’m not being bombarded by Whatsapp etc, and I’m off lying propaganda news site, my appetite for learning new stuff is actually being channeled into way more interesting and helpful areas.

Like the ‘After Babel’ substack by Professor Jon Haidt, who has been exploring just how much damage all the smartphones have been doing to ‘Generation Z’ (and everyone else….)


Here is the post that really took my attention, yesterday:

Algorithms hijacked my generation – fear for Generation Alpha

Jon Haidt started off the substack with a lot of hard data, showing the unmistakeable correlations between being on the smartphone and having REALLY SEVERE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.

And those mental health issues have been multiplied for the ‘young minds’ that were molded by Instagram feeds and Tumblr threads.

Now, he’s been asking ‘Generation Z’ers’ to share their own experiences of being the smartphone generation – and it’s very eye-opening.


Here’s a couple of snippets from that post referenced above:

Let’s start with the young women who transform their faces. You know the ones: they have their lips injected, noses chiseled, skin blurred with Botox, and cheeks pumped with filler, each funneling their previously unique features into the sameInstagram Face.

It often happens slowly.

First, they fill their lips. Next, they need to even it out with a nose job. Then botox; then a brow lift; and it goes on.

Then one day they wake up and realize they have rearranged their entire face for Instagram. They don’t recognize their reflection. Or even like it. I’ve seen this happen a lot lately: influencers are dissolving their fillers, reversing surgeries, realizing they were beautiful before.

Molly-Mae Hague, for example, a Love Island influencer here in the UK, recently admitted to having no idea how she ended up destroying her face: “I literally looked like a different person. When I look back at pictures now, I’m terrified of myself. I’m like, ‘Who was that girl?’ I don’t know what happened.”


Thank God, neither of my kids ever got into social media.

I am literally so grateful they were saved from this scourge – and probably, at least some of the reason they don’t have social media is because neither me nor my husband have it either – or smartphones.


Here’s another snippet from a different post called:

Do you know where your kids go every day?

Parents ask me: Why are my kids so anxious and depressed? Where do they go all day on their devices? How can I get them back?

If you’re a parent wondering the same, I hope I can be an intermediary for you. I understand the desperation that leads parents to ask me — an older Zoomer whose iPhone has been an appendage since age 10 — to help them understand.

I am on the leading edge of a tidal wave of digital natives entering adulthood with harrowing stories to share. So I’ll take my best shot at explaining the malaise of my generation.

Gen Z has inherited a post-hope world, stripped of what matters.

Instead, we have been offered a smorgasbord of easy and unsatisfying substitutes.

All the things that have traditionally made life worth living — love, community, country, faith, work, and family — have been “debunked.”


Here’s another snippet:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking to my fellow Zoomers, it’s that we almost unanimously recognize the damage our smartphones have done.

I’ve never heard someone say, “I still hate my mom for not letting me get a phone until I was 13.”

My suggestion: delay. Wait until high school to give them a phone. (As Jon recommends, you can give them a flip phone before that.) Wait even longer to let them have an Instagram or TikTok account.

The resentment is temporary. They’ll thank you later.


That whole substack is really interesting and highly recommended.

But the point for us ‘frum Jews’ – is what the heck happened to us, that we let all this evil tech completely take over our lives and destroy our children’s values, morals and mental health?

And not just our children’s.

I see all these be-wigged botoxed ‘ideal Jewish moms’ hanging out on Instagram etc sharing their ‘heimishe cholent recipes’, (whatever….) and I gag.

How did we let our communities get taken over by all these ‘influencers’ who are just trying to get attention or money (or both)?

How did that happen?


The real rabbis were warning about the danger of the internet for years and years and years.

They were mostly just mocked and derided for being out of touch dinosaurs – not least, by those Reform-funded ‘ortho fems’, who have put so much effort into encouraging frum women to ‘be seen on the screen’.

Yah….emancipate yourself, also get addicted to social media so you can pay a fortune on botox and spend more time with your ‘followers’ than your family….



And the smart phones took things up a level.

Because we take that thing with us everywhere we go….

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen parents of young children walking their kids around while totally engrossed in their phone.

Those kids must feel like a ghost, an invisible person, a non-entity.

At best.

Being ‘totally ignored’, continuously, by a parent, especially your mother, is the number one reason people develop the sort of clinical depressions that make them feel they would rather be dead than alive.


Sure, you’re not watching porn on the smartphone.

(Although the odds are high that your teenage children probably are – including the girls….)

Sure, you’re not addicted to online gambling….

And you don’t even have TikTok.

Nothing ‘bad’ like that.

Just, you spend way more time answering other people’s pointless messages, or checking in with the lying propaganda news than you do looking in your kids’ faces and actually being ‘there’ in the room with them.



I am hoping that we’ve already passed ‘peak smartphone’, and that going forward, there is going to be a growing wave of people smashing that thing up.

The more people get off, the more the government and companies will have to offer different options for doing things, again.

But here’s the thing:

If you’re a parent, you simply just don’t have a leg to stand on vis-a-vis your children, if you yourself have a smartphone and are using social media.

You can’t tell your teenagers a thing about not having a smartphone or not using social media without coming across as a total hypocrite.

You have to show them, tachlis, that life is possible, without the smartphone and without social media, not just talk about it.


Let me leave you with this, another interesting article on the After Babel substack:

Social Media is a major cause of the mental health epidemic in teen girls – here’s the evidence

Here’s the findings of two studies done, showing the links between social media and high speed internet and awful mental health in teens – especially girls:

We find that the roll-out of Facebook at a college increased symptoms of poor mental health, especially depression, and led to increased utilization of mental healthcare services.

We also find that, according to the students’ reports, the decline in mental health translated into worse academic performance. Additional evidence on mechanisms suggests the results are due to Facebook fostering unfavorable social comparisons.

(I know Facebook is old news now – but Instagram and TikTok are even worse than Facebook.)


Here’s snippets from a different study:

They found that the arrival of high-speed internet had a particularly damaging effect on the quality of father-daughter relationships.


Let’s give Jon Haidt the last word:

Instagram was founded in 2010.

The iPhone 4 was released then too—the first smartphone with a front-facing camera. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram, and that’s the year that its user base exploded.

By 2015, it was becoming normal for 12-year-old girls to spend hours each day taking selfies, editing selfies, and posting them for friends, enemies, and strangers to comment on, while also spending hours each day scrolling through photos of other girls and fabulously wealthy female celebrities with (seemingly) vastly superior bodies and lives.

The hours girls spent each day on Instagram were taken from sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family.

What did we think would happen to them?


What indeed.

Go and smash your i-Phone.

Sure, doing that is going to help our soldiers in Gaza.

But perhaps even more importantly, it will help you get your life, mental health and soul back.

And if you won’t do it for yourself – do it for your kids.



A reader sent me a link to this article, on the Epoch Times, about ‘Digital Dementia‘.

To the very long list of reasons why not to use a smartphone, we can also now add the fact that by overstimulating certain parts of the brain and understimulating others, it is causing a radical rise in what is being termed ‘digital dementia’ in older people.

There is no good reason to have a smartphone.

Switch your internet use to the computer, and get a flip phone.

It’s a big readjustment initially – it’s mamash an addiction, remember – but you’ll feel so many benefits of chucking away the smartphone, and the ‘inconvenience’ is temporary.

The more of us do it, the more ‘communication’ will have to switch back into healthier modes.

And also, it’s the fastest way to derail the ‘new world order’ plans to cage the world up even further.

May God give us all the strength to do it.


6 replies
  1. D
    D says:

    Beautiful! I love it.

    I am the only one in this family – here in the US – who does not even own a functioning cellphone. I have one on airplane mode or turned off as an alarm. If and when I travel overseas, then I need it to keep in touch. But other than that, nothing: only a landline, that’s it.

    Even my son only uses a flip-phone – which he uses for work and communication. NO smartphone.

    But my daughter-in-law is a total smartphone addict. Appearance is the most important thing to her when it comes to values. Now I see where that is coming from.

    But because I explained to the kids in great length the damage 5G causes, they are very resentful of the constant radiation in their home. They always prefer coming here, where there is no 5G and only a corded laptop. What a difference for them: less stress, less agitation, they are so much happier and better behaved here! But their mom is so angry at me for turning them away from smartphones. She doesn’t even want to know about the 5G damage: I am crazy, you understand?

    And now thanks to you, Rivka, I also learned about the mental issues caused by smartphones. Yes, she is often depressed. Now I can see why. But no way to talk her out of it. It hurts her whole family including herself, but she won’t admit it. My son always gets terrible headaches from all this radiation too.

    Yes, she is a brilliant, creative woman who loves her kids. It is our greatest bone of contention. What to do? What would you recommend?

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      First, I took your full name off this comment, to protect your family’s privacy online.

      Second, it’s a very hard challenge, trying to help ‘addicted’ family members to ditch or at least severely minimise the phone and social media obsession.

      Addicted people generally are usually in denial about the problem, and when you have ‘the evils’ continually making it harder and harder to do things without a smartphone, and continually denying that phone radiation causes cancer etc (which it clearly does….), or that constant phone use destroys a person’s mental health (which it clearly does….) and quality of their relationships, and of course, connection to their soul, too – it’s very hard.

      Praying is the first line of response.

      And setting a good example ourselves is the next line, as preaching about this stuff from a place of hypocritical double-standards is also not useful and just does way more harm than good.

      And the last thing is just to keep spreading awareness of the problem – the data is there, the science is becoming more ‘settled’ on this issue with each day that passes, that smartphones destroy people’s mind, body and soul.

      The trick now is spreading this information compassionately, and not ‘blaming’ people for being addicted to the phone and social media.

      It was designed specifically to ‘addict’ people, and they did their job really, really well.

      Like all ‘addicts’ the people caught in that snare need a lot of love and support, not ‘blaming’.

      Especially, if they are teens and young adults.

      • Simon
        Simon says:

        I get a lot of headaches, I might have commented before… May God help us from this c**p. Tomorrow on my birthday I’m presumably going to receive an EMF meter, and then I’ll be able to sense specifically where this stuff is coming from at home at least.
        Someone close to me is convinced that the damage from phone radiation is negligable, and “everyone’s using it, so it’s 100% okay.”
        Where can I see some of these studies about radiation and cancer? I wish it wasn’t true…

      • D
        D says:

        Thank you for that, Rivka, and for the privacy, which I was quite concerned about, to tell you the truth.

        Very good advice. And yes, you are right, these “addicts” also need a lot of love and attention. But it is very difficult to do, when it turns out they are TOO privileged with this stupid luxury that is leading nowhere except to a total waste of time and health.

        Thank you for your support and for your post. Glad to know I am on the right track when it comes to that.

        All the best, and thanks again.

  2. Simon
    Simon says:

    I use my computer for very much time every day, but my phone, other than listening to information, calling people, and listening to music, I don’t use almost at all, since (partially intentionally) the screen is really messed up.
    Thank God!


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