The majority of households around the world today will have the famous black box in various shapes and sizes sitting in their living room blazing entertainment and news. Each day millions of TV viewers are engulfed by both good and bad content that allows them to be hypnotized by the ‘magic black box’.
I want us today to take a step back and assess our relationship with TV and understand its impact in our lives.
There are 2 types of TV viewers in the world:
- Those who are conscious of what they watch, choose their channels and programs wisely, and never let the TV control them with its hypnotic attributes.
- Then there are the passive watchers, those who simply open their eyes, hearts and minds to whatever the TV brings to their attention.
The latter are the type that allow their sub-conscious mind to be ‘educated’ with whatever the TV brings to them without them knowing, they may be the type that believe all Muslims are terrorists even though they may have never met a Muslim in person before or believe that all women are objects of pleasure and perhaps the TV is a means to exploit that. Whilst there are various harmful effects of the TV, it is also revolutionary media through which we can also educate the masses.
I wouldn’t go to the extreme and blame TV for all our social problems from high divorce rates to increase in violence in the streets to a pure lack of understanding of Islam, nor will I call for a total boycott on TV (which would seem pretty absurd!). Rather, I would like to stress for you to seriously assess the impact of TV on your personal, family and social life.
I call for you all to be aware of the (slow and subtle) damaging effect of TV in our lives; from undeveloped relationships to productivity: How many meals were not enjoyed as a family because everyone was indulged in the latest TV episode of LOST? Or how many relationships were not deepened because the time to nurture relationships is being eaten completely by TV? And worse still, how many prayers have we missed and pages of Quran because of TV?
The ultimate message I want to leave with you today is: let’s reclaim our lives back from the ‘black magic box’ and control it instead of it controlling us. Let us work with our families to reach a collective decision that TV has had an effect on the quality and quantity of time spent on family bonding and religious activities and that we should do something about it.
Here are some practical tips to help you achieve this:
1. Firstly, start with yourself.
Start with “fasting” from TV and simply spend that time reading. When your family ‘misses’ you or asks you where you are, simply smile and say that you’re reading or doing something productive (no need to say that you’re fasting from TV or abandoning TV at this stage). Over time, they’ll see how much more productive you’ve become and how much you’ve achieved by simply cutting TV from your life and they may follow suit (especially younger family members). It may be difficult for the first week, but soon enough you will find way better things to do and won’t even miss it!
2. Run activities with your family
Around the same time they normally watch TV, get together with your family and have an activity e.g. sit with your family and start going through your family tree together. I did this few months back with my family and it was wonderful!
3. Invest in the positive power of TV
Try to highlight the best Islamic and educational channels on TV. If you choose not to cut out TV completely from your life, then at least try to make sure there is some benefit in what is being watched.
4. Decide on some ground rules as a family.
Some examples are: No TV at the dinner table or whilst eating, no TV in the bedroom or close to bedtime, only X amount of hours of TV per week. It’s important that the whole family buys into this decision and try to provide more interesting alternatives – a fun BBQ dinner, a good story telling session, a picnic in the park, etc.
What do you think? Can we remove TV from our lives or at least control it? Share your experiences with us below!