Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why I Trashed My TV?

In the beginning of this Ramadan, I finally trashed my TV. I had already stopped watching it some time back. We had removed all the vulgar channels from it and my family only used it to watch Islamic programs and Arabic cartoons. This Ramadan is the first time Abdullah is fasting every day. After the first few days it became obvious that my kids were spending all their waking hours glued to the TV to help pass away the time. There were special programs for Ramadan and that did not help. Prayers were being delayed, due to the desire of not missing the favorite program with pleas to continue watching just this last show. I had arranged it with Abdullah's Quran teacher that he memorizes more during the summer while his school was off and that was not happening because of the TV. So I used an opportunity when my family was out to trash my TV. I threw it so far away that there would be no chance to bring it back.

I believe it is a myth that children should set a schedule to watch only certain programs. It almost never works. At least it does not work for us. The types of programs, their attractiveness and their variety is such that even adults are left lacking in self control that we demand from our young ones. Very soon our kids end up watching every type of program for hours on end.

Only the first few hours without TV did I notice withdrawal symptoms in my kids. Yes they threw a tantrum, but they got over it. Sometimes they mention the TV programs they used to watch, but by large they have got over it. I believe their parent miss the TV more, not because they used to watch it, but because they used to use it as a babysitter.

The nature of TV is such that it is passive receptive. The audience just sits in front of it and aborbs whatever is thrown at them. They end up in front of it as if in a trance. It is in that state that TV is most dangerous. The broadcasters of programs and ads use subliminal programming to control the minds of kids and adults alike. If a message is repeated a number of times in a certain tone it gets embedded in the psyche. No wonder people end up parapharsing and acting out parts that they see on TV. The audience lets go of Reality and becomes emotionally tied up with what they experience. Many people watching soaps, become lost in the Never Never Land of their favorite show.

Children who grow up contantly watching TV have little mental and social skills and are deprived of essential physical activity. Many families can't imagine eating without the TV on. Everyone sits around the table with their plates but their eyes and ears are fixed to the Tube. Table talk has all but disappeared. In the past table talk used to be an essential ingredient in the upbringing of children and a glue that used to tie the family together. No wonder families are breaking apart. Benjamin Franklin in his autobiography mentions how every evening his father used to bring a guest for dinner and how the table conversation with the guests was an important educational experience for his young mind.

TV is an instrument of globalization. It is an attempt to supercede your authority over your family and supplant the values that will lead to one-world consumer society. 95% of the programs are either propaganda or are harmful for you and your family. Most of what is available is violent, related to sex or encourages bad morals, bad language and consumerism/materialism. Mainstream TV is a platform to springboard ideas like homosexuality, pre-marital sex, evolution, atheism, etc.

We revived healthy entertainment to substitute TV. We played physical games like Tag, "Unch-Neech" (High-Low), "Baraf-Pani" (Ice-Water), "Aankh Macholi" and board games like Scrabble, Snakes & Ladders, Ludo, etc. I noticed that when Abdullah is bored, he walks up to the bookshelf, takes out one of his books and reads. He is the first person to read the daily newspaper. When he feels like watching one of his Islamic CD/DVDs we let him watch on our password protected laptop.

I have noticed nothing but benefit from trashing my TV. The little advantage it had can easily be offset by other more constructive activities. To other discerning parents, I will advise them that if they are like me and can not control TV, it is better to trash it.