as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
So, who is, or what is, entertaining your children?
I have noticed from the younger locals coming to our home, that their parents don't realize (or who knows, maybe they don't care?) the things their children are watching and listening to.
For instance, around a couple of years ago, one young girl (10 or 11 years old) was trying to watch tv at our home. She turned it to MBC4 to watch what she told me was one of her favorite shows. The show had not started yet so I pressed the info button to find out what show it was---it was "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter"
For those of you who do not know this show, it is about a family who has two high-school aged daughters and a younger son. The older daughter is the popular, pretty girl who dresses in skimpy clothing and the younger daughter early on the show was more conservative and nerdy, but later on she starts dressing skimpy as well. The show deals with dating, sex, partying, etc... the typical normal part of American teenage lives.
This show does not reflect UAE values at all.
As soon as I found out what show it was, I told her there was no way I was going to let her watch it. To that she said, "But I always watch it at home" and I replied with "well, I guess I need to be having a talk with your father about what kind of shows you watch" and she made a face understanding exactly what I was talking about. Then her older brother, who was sitting in the room grinned and said, "yeah, your right" as I told him "You shouldn't be watching this kind of stuff too!"
Of course I was not the one who spoke to their father--I told my husband about it and had him speak to the father. Their father had assumed that since this is a Muslim country, there would be no inappropriate shows that geared to the younger generation. And guess what? I know for a fact she and her brother are still watching inappropriate shows.... so this father just doesn't care to want to see for himself what they are watching.
I have heard these younger girls and guys talk about other shows they watch and movies they download and such. I know these shows and movies have sexual themes in them that are inappropriate for them. When I ask if their parents let them watch this stuff they always say yes. When I ask if their parents watch this stuff with them, the answer is always no.
Another situation... A very conservative father who comes to visit our family with his children all the time--I had assumed since he was strict with his children, that they weren't as exposed to the more inappropriate things. Then one day, one of the young girls asked if she could use my laptop to show me some things. She proceeded to find a site that had all of her favorite music. A lot of it was current hip-hop and all of the inappropriate lyrics that come with it. And she was singing/rapping along.
This same thing happened with another young girl (11 years old) at our home too. She started singing the chorus in Flo Rida's song "Right Round" --which I thought was just a remake of the old song, when I heard the lyrics were just a bit different... and realized the new lyrics are about oral sex.
The youth is online or watching satellite television watching all of these music videos that go along with these songs... and I am sure a lot of you already know what kinds of things are going on in music videos.
Then, lets not forget to mention the Arabic music video channels. I stopped sitting with one person (an adult woman) whenever she is around because when I sit with her all she wants to do is watch these channels. And she will watch the channel even if younger kids are around as well. What are the videos all about? I can't understand the lyrics most of the time but I can see the skimpy clothing, the writhing bodies, and not only that, all of those stupid sms messages that people send in to those channels running across the screen.
ok, so I know some people are going to say, most of the young kids just like the songs for the beats/melodies and they don't understand the meanings of the lyrics. But if you are a parent, do you want your children singing crude lyrics even if they don't understand them?
And when these younger ones are watching music videos with sexualized themes, what would the parents really think if they actually saw it with their own eyes? Or do they know and just not care? Are they too busy with themselves that they are OK leaving the television and internet to babysit their children, no matter what they are watching and listening to?
Also, I know what else will be said--that music is haram in Islam. But it doesn't mean everyone is not listening to music. If the children are listening to music, the parents usually are too, just different kinds. I don't know how much these parents realize just how bad the lyrics and music videos get sometimes...
And for television shows and movies... Muslim parents need to learn for themselves what kind of shows and movies are available for their children to watch. American or European norms in these societies with their youth are not the norms of the UAE (and many other countries).