The Bobov hasidic movement in Brooklyn has banned all summer camp children from having any type of cellphone – even ones without Internet access. Any child found with a cellphone will be kicked out of camp. For students who need to call home, the camp head/principal will provide special kosher cellphones to use. But those phones must be immediately returned to him after the student makes his call. Could this ban really be in place to limit reporting of child sex abuse?
Updated 2:50 pm CDT
Besides being a draconian extension of the already existing haredi ban on smartphones and unfiltered Internet-connected cellphones, this ban may really be in place to make sure very few campers have cameras and the ability to call their parents at will.
Last summer, a camper – apparently with a smartphone – videoed Chisdai Ben-Porat sexually abusing another child in Camp Dora Golding. That video and the child's ability to speak with his parents at will led to Ben-Porat's arrest and conviction and to a civil suit against the camp and Ben-Porat.
Perhaps Bobov learned a lesson – the wrong one – from that episode, especially because two years ago, Bobov warned its campers not to talk to parents or each other about alleged sex abuse at its own camp.
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[Hat Tip: Bobov Hasid.]