This is a BJL Exclusive:

MUST Baltimore – Mothers Unite to Stall Technology

Dear fellow Baltimore parents,                                                  

A few months ago, we heard about an organization called MUST, which stands for Mothers Unite to Stall Technology. The organization was started by mothers in New York who realized how technology was affecting their children and decided to join together to postpone their children's personal ownership of smart devices. The program has since spread to communities throughout the country, and we are working on bringing it to Baltimore as well. We have introduced the program to a few of our children’s classes with overwhelmingly positive response from parents, and now we are trying to get the word out to the community at large.

There is so much information today about how the use of technology has negative effects on children's social and emotional development. Nevertheless, many parents buy their children tablets, smartphones, and other electronic devices for the sake of convenience, often coupled with the peer pressure of other children having these devices. Many parents with older children who own devices see how they struggle with chats, social media, time management, and other stresses. MUST deals with this issue using a simple but highly effective technique. If the mothers (and/or fathers) of a particular class collectively make a decision, as a unified group, to postpone getting their children devices for as long as possible, the peer pressure to get devices is eliminated or significantly decreased. The parents’ verbal pact is reevaluated each year as the children get older.

Class pacts can be tailored specifically to each class’ needs. Although it’s easiest to make pacts in younger grades, before any of the children have electronic devices, even in a class that has already advanced in their technology use, the agreement can be customized specifically to pause the progression of the class. Parents can also agree to rules about children's usage of personal or family devices, such as having password protection and time limits and avoiding the use of devices on playdates.

Two years ago, at the start of COVID, many of us made choices to get more devices due to the increased needs our children had for homeschooling and keeping up with friends during social distancing. Many of us did it. Making decisions during a crisis is different than making long- term decisions for our future. Especially now, when the weather outside is nice and there are many opportunities for wholesome outdoor and indoor activities, we can reevaluate our families’ technology usage and perhaps step back on some decisions we made two years ago during the crisis.   

MUST’s philosophy is that the agreement comes from the parents, NOT from a school rule.  When schools make rules, it is less effective. Parents sent the tone of their homes. If we join together, with Hashem’s help, we can make a real difference for our families. Let’s give our children the chance to enjoy childhood, develop emotionally and socially in a healthy way while keeping technology use under control.

The MUST project has a wonderful informative website ( that includes information on how to become an ambassador for your child’s class, suggestions for non-device gifts, and research on the dangers of smart devices for kids. With their support, we would like to hold a MUST Baltimore Zoom meeting for mothers interested in becoming ambassadors to introduce the MUST project to their child’s class. Please e-mail us at if you would like to be a part of this exciting new initiative. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you and your families a healthy and happy summer.


Shevy Friedman

Molly Horwitz

Tzipora Lieder