THE TRAGEDY OF T.V

“Moulana, my child is involved with wrong company. Please read on some water or give a taawiz.”

“Moulana, my daughter is angry just because I told her to do some work in the house. Please speak to her. I cant understand what is wrong with her.”

“I give the best of everything to my children. I slog and work from morning to evening. But look at how disobedient they are”

“Can I please speak to the principal of the Darul-Uloom. My child is out of hand. I want to know if you have place for him.”

O, the pain and the cry of the aching heart of a confused and bewildered parent! So much hopes, such heartbreaking disappointment…

The nation’s most prestigious body of pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatricians, has reached the conclusion that too much video stimulation is harmful to children. The guidelines these doctors have issued are far more restrictive than anyone outside the profession would have predicted. The doctors’ chief objection to television is that it stunts intellectual growth. In recent years, studies explicitly probing the relationship between TV-viewing and academic performance have found a substantial negative correlation.

Television so radically restructures a child’s experience that it probably undermines learning from many different directions. We will list six distinct threats that it poses to a child’s intellectual growth.

1. Television steals time from educationally profitable activities. The activities that suffer decline while TV-viewing increases include homework, creative play, and recreational reading . It is fair to suppose that such activities outside school support both learning and performance within school.

2. Television causes attentional problems. Educators have long suspected that early TV-viewing accounts for the explosion in our generation of ADD and like disorders .

In a landmark study in 2004, Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe, and McCarty showed for the first time a definite linkage between TV-viewing and symptoms of ADD. Specifically, they found that TV-viewing at ages 1 and 3 separately increase the probability of attentional problems at age 7!

Television’s degrading effect upon attention might involve several different mechanisms. The memory of highly stimulating entertainment may simply interfere with concentration on humdrum tasks. Or the many attention-grabbing devices used by television may be a sort of mental candy fostering an addiction that leaves a child restless when the available stimulation is unsatisfying. Or the causal mechanism may be more fundamental, having to do with the development of brain function and structure.

3. TV-viewing disrupts sleep.

4. TV-viewing blocks retention of academic knowledge and skills.

5. Television hinders language learning by reducing the child to a strictly passive role. The child has little opportunity to practice speaking. Second, in the absence of an adult responder, he receives no helpful

feedback to his speech.

6. For a little child especially, television is like another adult in his life. But what the television says is completely irrelevant to the child’s immediate world. Moreover, the television never responds appropriately to anything the child says. Being reared in front of a television is much like being reared by a schizophrenic mother.

7. Television creates disjointed personalities. No more than a few words are expended on any idea, and the main idea is rapidly changing, especially in a series of commercials. Thus, television language lacks the connectedness and extended development characteristic of so-called “linear thought.” This kind of thinking cannot address any serious intellectual task. So, a child of television is severely handicapped.

8. As noted earlier, TV-viewing diminishes time devoted to reading. There is mounting evidence that regular TV-viewing during the early years of life actually hinders normal brain development. The result is not damage, but underdevelopment.

9. Suppression of Better Activities
Before television, people spent their time at home in wholesome activities. When we look at things made generations ago by our ancestors, we are amazed at their skill and resourcefulness. Most people today are doing well if they can change a light bulb safely.

Many women raised their work in the kitchen to hobby status. By devoting much time to preparing certain specialties, they won the acclaim of family and friends.

Before television, people liked to read. They liked to discuss issues. They freely exchanged views on the news of the day, on world events, politics, or religion. They liked to visit in each other’s homes, and a welcome was so taken for granted that nobody believed in the necessity of prior notice. The car pulling in the driveway might be a relative from out-of-town. The knock on the door at any hour of the day or evening might be a neighbor just dropping in. Entertaining people by invitation was part of a normal week.

10. T.V promotes a demented Youth Culture
Television is a powerful acculturating medium. Since the late 1960s, television has become an engine of another culture. The main cohesive force in youth culture is rock music, a staple of modern television. The pervasive theme of youth culture is protest against traditional values.

11. T.V. promotes Materialism and appeal to basic instinct.

Television is a commercial medium. It gives the viewer entertainment at a price—the price being to sit and watch an endless procession of mindless commercials. Many flaunt sexually provocative images, because these catch the eye. Many feature personalities who are rough and mean, because these are presumed to reflect the self-image of today’s viewer. Many show people in drunken revelry, or seeking a good time in ways that are reckless and juvenile. Many tout the message, stated or implied, “You only go around once in life, so seek all the gusto you can.”

12. T.V.  Creates a weird concept of happiness. According to television, happiness requires the latest and finest of every kind of luxury. Young people hooked on this philosophy soon find themselves slaves to our consumer economy. Once they become saddled with debt and unfulfilled wants, they have no choice but to sell their souls to their careers. But careers today may cheat people out of rewarding lives — lives which keep fulfilling jobs in balance with time for faith and family.

13. T.V. teaches Discontent and Escapism                A happy life according to television is life in the fast lane—a life shared with fashionable people, cradled in wealth, and devoted to self-indulgence. We no doubt can agree that this is not really the good life. But is it even possible? How many people live like most of the characters they see on television? Very few. Most people who watch television must be somewhat discontent with their lot. Most women looking across the room at their husbands, and most men looking across the room at their wives, can see that life has not given them a partner with the glamour and charm of a media star. Perhaps here we have one reason the institution of marriage is crumbling.  14. T.V. subconsciously makes one ungrateful.  The average viewer comparing himself with the television characters he admires will judge himself inferior in many other ways as well. He is poorer, less popular and influential, less witty and bold, and so on. The result? Fantasy becomes more satisfying than real life. It is far more pleasant to sit back in a lounge chair and pretend that Mr. Nobody (oneself) is Mr. Star (the figure on the screen) than to turn off the television and reckon with the truth that Mr. Nobody is nobody else.

15. T.V. makes one careless to the destiny of the

immortal soul. Increasingly, people are distancing themselves from reality and gravitating into the world of entertainment, where imagination is truth. That is why people today are finding it harder to grapple in a sustained and effective way with problems, whether in their own lives or in the larger world. That is why people are becoming extremely indifferent to spiritual matters, even to the eternal destiny of their immortal souls.

ARE YOU A T.V. ADDICT?

The first thing an addicted person does is to deny he has an addiction. He always feels he is in control whereas the reality is that he is not.

An addiction, by definition, is an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its harmful consequences. Many types of addiction have been described including alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, food, sex, pornography, computers and work. Adding television to that list should not be a stretch considering the ubiquitous presence of TV screens throughout our world. (Dr. Ron Kaufman)

Can a Muslim  – any Muslim – who believes in the journey of the immortal soul to the Akhiarah and “hisaab kitaab” (accountability) of time and blessings such as sleep still believe that T.V. is not harmful for his Aakhirah? T.V. occupies so much space in out hearts, minds and time that there is hardly any space left for the remembrance of Allah to set in.

How will we surrender our souls to Allah happily when we are so passionate about T.V. ?

At least let’s start having regrets and make Du’a unto Allah for guidance in this matter.