By Hwaa Irfan
There is not one home that does without this item which has become the sole means of entertainment, “education”, comforter, and titillation. In fact, some would go into a tantrum if the very idea of getting rid of this item was ever expressed. This item is the T.V. which is more influential than the news, and has helped to program our youth, no matter where they are in the world to… I was going to say think, but thinking has very little to do with the way in which we “interact” with it.. In fact, most people sit passively, not realizing that they are being programmed to like, want, reject, revile the same things.
Probably nobody has thought that this box could have this effect, but oblivious to our understanding, the T.V. controls more of us, than we control of ourselves. But do we really want to take control of our lives – do we!
• Do we want to stop living our lives through our personal T.V. heroes and sheroes?
• Do we wish that our lives were more interesting?
• Do we wish the level of communication with family members is better than it has been?
…well try turning off the T.V.
Were you expecting a more magical solution?
Well, believe it or not turning off the T.V. can do just that!
Here is your chance to discover how something so simple as turning off the T.V. can have a positive effect on your life, and family relations.
T.V. Turnoff Week happens twice a year, but there is nothing to prevent you from making it a permanent feature of your life. The second TV Turn-off week of 2010 is scheduled for September 18 to 24.
So what’s the fuss!
TV Turnoff Week is an event that aims at reminding the family members who love to sit in front of the TV that time is flying by, and there are other things to do in life.
In a longitudinal study by Rowell Huesmann and others, it was found that there exists a direct relation between the behavior of children between 6 and 10 years of age and their behavior in adulthood 15 years later. It was also found that the children perceive the violence on TV as a mirror of real life.
Men who had participated as children in the group named TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to push or grab their spouses or to commit a crime than those who had participated in the groups TV Low Violence Viewers and TV Medium Violence Viewers.
Women who had participated as children in the group TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to throw something at their spouses than those who had participated in the other two groups. Also, they were more likely to react with physical aggression against anyone who made them mad.
This study was carried out between 1977 and 1992, so one can imagine the results that would come out nowadays. A child can start to watch TV at the age of two. On average, people watch the TV four hours a day. Multiplied by seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, and then averagely 16 years of one’s lifetime, this results in a long period of time, during which one is “trained” on how not to behave!
Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of real people are suffering somewhere in the world, including your neighborhood, and real lives are being lost. If you are not stuck in front of the TV, that is because you are a mom who is struggling to make a hotel seem like a home.
While your children are sitting in front of the TV, how much do you know about what they think or feel? How much do you know about what they are watching when you are not watching? Instead of becoming desensitized by TV, your children can be actively engaged in real communication with real people, using their imagination and doing activities as members of a family.
While your children are glued to the TV, a number of negative effects take place.
• Your 2-year-old’s brain, which is in need of real-life communication and challenges that stimulate healthy growth, passively takes in values and patterns of behavior from the TV. In the process, your child develops a consumerist mentality that is not favored in the family. The child then stops to use his or her brain to think, inquire, or work things out.
• An average American child will see 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time he or she is 18 years of age.
• Girls will learn to sexualize their self-image, and boys will learn to see girls as sex objects. All this does not take into account what they will learn from the CDs, DVDs, and videos.
• The two-dimensional screen of a TV and the constant flicker of light impair the development of the eyes. A child’s eyes continue to develop up until the age of 12 years.
• While children are being bombarded with images from the TV, they are not developing their own images essential to the development of their own creativity and imagination, as well as their social and cognitive skills.
If you still do not believe in any of the above, it will do you no harm to switch off the TV for just one week and plan a week of family activities instead. Even if you have a busy week of work and studies, the family spirit is still possible by
• Praying together
• Eating together at previously set times
• Sharing what each one has done during the day
• Sharing concerns and stories
• Helping with the housework
• Helping with the schoolwork
• Finding out about the topic being studied for homework
• Playing with children
• Gathering around a newspaper, with each one taking a turn in sharing something of interest in that newspaper and discussing that piece of news with the others
• Visiting relatives together
• Going out to a Muslim event together
• Planning a summer activity (cooking, decorating, camping, adventure walk, discovering the locality/country) in which you live or a holiday together
• Sharing a lesson, a Qur’anic verse, or a Prophetic hadith
• Family theater
• Playing a game together
• Taking the time to learn something that you have always wanted to do, but there wasn’t enough time; so you thought!
• Going to bed at a reasonable time, so that each one can get up the next day refreshed and ready to take on the world
You never know — you might find your children more willing to listen when the week is up. with less tension in the home as aspirations become your own and not those of others; as each watching family member reclaims their imagination, and their sense of self, so will the love and mutual recognition in sha’ Allah.
“What Do I Need to Know About Children and TV? ” University of Michigan Health System.
Huesmann, L. Rowell, et al. “Longitudinal Relations Between Children’s Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977–1992.” Developmental Psychology 39.2 (2003): 201–221.
TVTurnoff.org: Center for Screen-Time Awareness.