The Internet -- This Is War!

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Behar 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

The Internet -- this is war! A serious war. The war against the evil impulse! A war against the serpent!
There is a story of some soldiers who came back from the war, having had their fill of battles and victories. An old man said to them, "You’ve come home from the small war, but the big war still awaits you." They asked him, "What war is that?” and he answered, "the war against the evil impulse" (Orchot Tzaddikim).
It certainly is a big war. If a boy spends six hours every day on the Internet, partly on appropriate material, partly on foolishness and shallow nonsense, and partly on the most
impure content imaginable, he contaminates his body and he contaminates his psyche, he
contaminates his intellect, he contaminates his soul, he contaminates his spirit. This is therefore war! Everybody must go off to war, because everybody is in danger, both young and old, both girls (albeit to a lesser extent) and boys, both secular and G-d-fearing. This is war. The evil impulse spares no one. It works over time.
Each generation has its own merits and each generation its own trials and temptations. The temptation of our generation is the electronic enemy, the Internet Serpent. And as in every generation, we are embattled on all sides (Mesilat Yesharim, chapter 1).
The best approach is to wipe out the enemy entirely, to smash it to bits, leaving no trace of it, in other words, one should not have Internet at all. It's true, there are good things there, but you lose more than you gain. Such is always the way of the evil impulse, glossing over the bad with the good, and thereby taking souls hostage.
Our Sages did not say in Pirkei Avot, “you will not sin," but "you will not come to the hands of sin" (chapter 3). If you are already in the hands of sin, if the serpent is enveloping you, then you are already in bad shape. Or, as the saying goes, "A clever man is one who succeeds in extricating himself from a situation that a wise man wouldn't have entered in the first place." So be wise.
But if you are not wise, and you've got Internet at home, because you need it for work or school, or because the situation is not under your control, or because your parents do not agree to unplug it, despite all your entreaties and despite all your wars against them, or because your spouse does not agree, or because your evil impulse does not agree, then declare war, a defensive war. Do not say, "It won't happen to me." That's the serpent talking!
This war is composed of two parts: a land attack and an air attack.
The land attack includes employing ruses. One should definitely employ trickery in this war. One should install a filter, the highest level possible, such as the "Etrog” option within the Israeli “Rimon” filter.
It is well known that many people unfortunately manage to circumvent the filter, so there are two options. The first is to use an entry password that you don't know by heart. A reliable friend should hold on to it for you, ready to open it up when you need it, or, TWO people should each have half of the password, and two are better than one. And obviously, three are even better than two.
The second possibility is to install "Webchaver", a software program that can be found on the Internet, which reports to your friend every time you enter a non-clean site.
There is also an air battle: repeat to yourself over and over how contaminating it is, how disgusting it is. To study Mesilat Yesharim day and night, especially chapters two, three, four and five on the trait of caution. And prepare yourself a slip of paper with a list of utterances of faith and ethics and law that influence your heart, and read them morning, noon and night, especially when you're going to encounter the enemy. Use it like an army manual.
Prepare a holy slip of paper that says, "Don't destroy yourself! Don't contaminate yourself! Be
aware that impurity will follow you around all day, all your life. The more you sin, the
weaker your resistance will be. If a person commits a sin and repeats it, he will come to view
it as permissible, and will no longer feel the pangs of conscience. You will feel disgusted
with yourself. It will corrupt you. But if you overcome it, how fortunate you will be. But
don't fall asleep on watch. You are liable to fall again. And if you fall, then a defensive war
will no longer suffice. You'll need a war of liberation. Don't despair. Even from the deepest
pit you can climb out. Because you've got the strength. And every day starts a war again.
Don't put your gun down. To be vanquished in battle is bad, but to be vanquished without a
fight is a tragedy.
You fell down? Get up! The righteous man falls seven times but gets up, until he falls no more. True, this demands an effort, but it's worth it. It's also interesting. Run to the battle!
It seems hard but it's possible.
Buy yourself a notebook and each day mark down how many times you've won and how many times you've lost. That way you will daily decrease your failures and increase your victories, because we ascend in holiness. We do not descend.
Set out on the way, and G-d will help you. Be strong and courageous! After you overcome four or five times it'll be a lot easier for you (the above number appears in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 1:4), after you pay your fourfold or fivefold fine.
Be aware that G-d does not send a man a trial unless He gives him the strength to withstand it.
Believe in yourself! You've got a pure soul and you will win. Even if you fall far down, you will still win.
So be pure and feel pure. Keep it up!