Sunday, September 6, 2009

Big Sister Is Watching Us

Wonderwoman: "Ma, they cancelled our blog!"
Me: "What do you mean?"
Wonderwoman: "Our CIT blog. Look- someone deleted it!"
A group of Wonderwoman's CIT (counselors in training) friends from a local day camp had started a group blog so that they could keep in touch after the summer ended. This is an all-girls, Bais Yaakov style camp, and the blog posts were completely innocuous and innocent ("I miss you guys soooo much! Camp was so much fun!"). It turns out that one of the girls invited their former counselor to join, and this counselor called the director of the day camp and told her that the girls had started a blog. The director then asked the counselor for the URL and password, and deleted the entire blog without warning.
I was really taken aback. The director had no right to do this. Camp had ended, these girls were no longer "her campers" and the blog name did not even include the name of the camp. Wonderwoman did not want me to call the director or to get involved in any way, so I did nothing. But this act of "Big Sister" censorship really ticked me off.


Anonymous said...

That's horrible.

Leora said...

Wonderwoman did not want me to call the director or to get involved in any way, so I did nothing.
Indirectly, you did do *something* by posting this.

Unfortunately, what the girls may learn is not to tell their counselor in the future and thus learn to do things without authority figures knowing. And so the cycle continues of learning not to trust authority. Which is not what the authority figure intended to teach, now was it?


Lakewood Falling Down said...

I'm impressed by your restraint. I hate, no make that DESPISE anyone who sensors others with no regard to the childrens parents to appropriately parent them.

Mrs. S. said...

That's so... odd.

Not only are you absolutely correct that he had no right to do such a thing, but I wonder what was his underlying logic. I mean, why bother? What did he hope to accomplish?

Mrs. S. said...

Oops. That should be, "SHE had no right," "HER underlying logic," and "did SHE hope".

ProfK said...

So appalled I can't even get a coherent comment together. You were definitely more restrained than I would have been. The first thing that came to mind, after I stopped seeing red, was to send that director a bill for your daughter's tuition and tell her to return the check to you immediately. If she is going to usurp your rights as a parent then she needs to pay the bills as well.

What disturbs me perhaps even more is the reaction of your daughter--don't rock the boat mom. "They" are winning when even someone as young as your daughter is afraid to say something about an act that is so very wrong, when the kids already know that "they" can get back at you.

G6 said...

Soooo sad.
Why are they trying to turn this into a culture of repression and fear?
Where is the JOY?!?!

RR said...

That is VERY disturbing! I agree with you 100%- the director had absolutely no right to do that- where does she get off? I think I would have had to make a stink- but I can understand why you listened to your daughter. I admire your restraint.

Commenter Abbi said...

Why don't they join facebook and have a group there?

Also, I don't get how she deleted it? The blog was under her auspices? On the camp's site?

BrooklynWolf said...

IANAL, but I wonder if what she did was illegal (assuming the blog wasn't being hosted on camp equipment).

Please note that I don't advocate calling the cops for something like this, but it's clearly disturbing.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrooklynWolf said...

Also, I don't get how she deleted it? The blog was under her auspices? On the camp's site?

One of the girls invited a counselor. The counselor then snitched and gave the username/password to the director who then deleted the blog.

If the director truly had concerns about this, then the proper step would have been to inform the parents and let them decide whether or not their daughters should have access to the blog. It's not a camp director's place to usurp parental authority in this matter.*

The Wolf

*Unless, of course, the blog was hosted on the camp's computers -- in which case the director was within her rights... but I doubt that to be the case.

Staying Afloat said...

I'm having trouble calming down enough to be coherent.

I could understand a request posted not to mention the camp's name. I could definitely understand The Wolf's recommendation of informing parents. But this...

Also, I think the director has squandered an opportunity. She had an open window into the minds and lives of the members of her camp, and she chose to get rid of it.

SuperRaizy said...

Whoa. I didn't mean to upset everybody. I actually expected some of the comments to tell me that I'm wrong for being upset, that it's to be expected that a Bais Yaakov camp wouldn't allow internet activity, etc. But your comments remind me that censorship is nearly always wrong, (with the exception of military censorship) because it precludes freedom of choice.

eeees said...

I'm totally disgusted by the director's actions! If there was something objectionable on the blog, or perhaps the entries in some manner gave away private details, I might have tried to excuse her actions by saying she was protecting the girls. However, even in that case, she should have informed the girls' parents and let THEM decide what should be done.
I am truly disgusted, and I'm sorry Wonderwoman was the victim of such an action.

Anonymous said...

I'm a journalist, I'm frum, and I'm appalled. This isn't only censorship. The laws on the Web are a bit more elastic than in real life, but your director essentially became a book burner. But it was worse because she didn't own the book in question. That's not just censorship, it's illegal.

Unless this blog was hosted on the camp's site, and it doesn't appear to have been, this was intentional destruction of private property. Those students never gave her access, and the counselor had no right too.

I know your daughter doesn't want you to get involved, but this is a chinuch issue. What the director did was outright against halachah.
Imagine you lend your key to your house to someone, then she goes and gives it to somebody else and that person enters your property and trashes it. That's essentially what happened. It's intentional destruction of private property. Unless the blog was engaging in libelous material (definitely doesn't sound like it), the director was not only a Choteh, she's teaching her students that her Chet is acceptable. That's not someone who should be a mechaneches.

Baila said...


Anonymous said...

General rules to determine what is not permitted:

1. If it is “fun” in any sense of the word, it is forbidden.

2. If any skin can be shown, it is forbidden.

3. If it is anything non-Jews do, it is forbidden (unless it was done by European non-Jews a few hundred years ago, then it’s good to do it).

4. If it illustrates any power on the part of a women, it is forbidden.

Use these general rules to determine how to live (and perhaps lose your sanity if not humanity).


Lion of Zion said...

i've never *ever* said this before (at least online), but wtf?! this story pisses me off on so many levels. thanks for reminding me that i need to get on my wife's case again that brooklyn isn't for us.

observer said...

Does the counselor's mother know she's a snitch - my parents would have had major fits had I ever played that part at her age. That's not just a guess - they made is abundantly and crystal clear.

SuperRaizy, this is a real teachable moment, on several counts. Especially as your daughter seems to be a smart cookie. I mean what, besides having a totally useless screaming match, could you do?! On the other hand, there are a couple of lessons I would want to teach her.

1. Even on a supposedly private blog, you don't have full control. Anyone you allow on can download pictures, and these is little you can do to keep people who are either foolish or malicious from doing damage. The only way to keep safe is to be vigilant, and to think twice (and three times) about what you post.

2. Ma d'oloch soni... If your daughter is ever tempted to snitch or just "pull rank", it's worth remembering how she felt about this.

3. The difference between snitching or betraying a trust on the one hand, and self protection or the protection of others, on the other hand. In fact, it's a great place for a discussion about Loshon Horo in general.

SeekingJustice said...

When you make the DERECH an inch wide, one would wonder why so many will fall off the DERECH.
Put aside the discussion whether the director was right or wrong and the policies of Bais Yaakov, her actions just showed that censorship exists and the same way the girls who asks questions are called apikorsim, the girls that dare to use internet for a good cause are punished as well. The history teaches us that banning never worked in the long term. I can only wonder what impact this story would have on the girls minds and souls.

Jack said...

The director is lucky that it wasn't my kid. I wouldn't have let her off so easily.

I am not chastising you Raizy, it is easy for me to say this from my chair. But she really did over step her bounds.

FWIW, the girls might be able to get their material back. It could be archived online already.

Anonymous said...

This is so stupid and, as Leora pointed out, sending kids the wrong sort of messages: don't trust adults, do things behind their backs if you want peace.