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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who is Entertaining Your Children?

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). 


  1. aww I know what you mean. I think parents need to show their kids there IS an alternative to this kind of music/things. There are some great anasheed singers out there that sing in arabic, english,spanish and many other languages. Why not show your kids that instead of the stuff that passes for music in mainstream society?

  2. Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Sis! Great post. While I was reading, I couldn't help but think about how, at least in America and I guess the world-over how kids (non-Muslim) are at least talking about dating and the like and of course, as you point out clearly, watching listening to things that are not appropriate for their age, if appropriate at all.
    The kids you mentioned are at such at an impressionable age, so even if they don't understand the lyrics, later on, as they continue to so and come of age and DO begin to understand those lyrics, they may even go as far as to act on them - this is true for Muslim kids too, as we've discussed elsewhere.
    If you see my profile, you will see I am a fan of Shakira, for example - though I like her Spanish songs and their lyrics (yes, her dancing too, Astaghfirallah), or those of other artists, I certainly don't take the words to heart, etc. I think that is where the notion of music in Islam comes in. If we see it overcoming our dhikr, salah, etc, then yes, it becomes haram, like anything that takes away from our central beneficial actions as Muslims - in other words, we must not get carried away. I'm sure, though I would be a much better Muslim if I didn't listen to music outside of anasheed.
    It is sad that the parents you mention are taking a backseat when it comes to what their children are exposed to on TV and other media. They have instilled good values during their children's formative years, but when those hormones hit (again, I've heard reports that puberty is arriving earlier in many cases, so even@10-11 years), it's a whole different story. I can understand the desire to watch programs that their parents wouldn't let them watch (even though they said their parents do, but as you discovered, the parents don't, though the enforcement is not existent, as you said) or think that they are not watching, but one hopes it is a phase and once they are taught about what is really being said, they will turn away from it. As you can see, I have my own issues to work on when it comes to this issue. Anyways, those are my initial thoughts. :)

  3. :sl: it reminds me of when i was a kid and i was singing a real dirty song. it was so dirty. you wouldnt imagine. i was in the states for the holidays and it was in english. my english was not that good. so i was singing it in the streets and so on. one day, my cousin heard me and she was like do you know what you are singing to. i was like what. then she told me. soubhanallah i was like what if oldr people heard me. i have been there many times years later on. my parents would forbid me watching those things. i just would hide to do so. its not always the fault of the parents. sometimes they do everything they can to make you stay away from these things, but if you yourself dont see the harm in it. you wont listen

  4. hmmm? I just published comments for Amira, Toush, and MuslimFirst and only Amira and Toush's are showing here??? hmmm inshallah its just a delay thing...

    Amira- yes.. it would be nice for parents to at least try to guide their children to better things.

    Toush--I know its not always the fault of the parents... especially if they don't even understand the lyrics themselves. Plus usually parents don't like the same kind of music so they just ignore it.

    But especially in a country like UAE, where all of this boom of entertainment is coming from non-Muslim countries, parents need to realize that the entertainment is not going to always be age-appropriate for their children, even if children of the same age regularly watch it in the West.

    I don't think all of them realize this.

    MuslimFirst--oh, I am not saying I am innocent of all that either... I do listen to music AstagferAllah, though not stuff with really crude lyrics.

    And of course while we might not be perfect, we still have a responsibility to at least try and make sure our children are doing age-appropriate things. And I suppose if you want to let your children listen to music, the lyrics should at least be age-appropriate...

    It won't be an easy trask...

  5. My husband and I often go to a Lebanese restaurant that used to be run by a rather conservative Muslim woman.(she has since sold it)

    They restaurant has a huge big screen TV in the corner that I assume, is for customers to watch. Well, this restaurant has EXCELLENT food, and it is one of the only halal restaurants nearby, BUT that stupid TV seems to always be playing Family Guy! Family Guy is one of THE most offensive shows on television...and there's a lot of filth out there!

    I know with her limited command of English, she just didn't realize that this CARTOON show was so terrible. Her daughter, though (around 10 years old) was the one SELECTING the show and knew perfectly well (I'm assuming) that it wasn't appropriate.

  6. My 1/2 brothrs and sisters are watched by the army of maids and nannys we have (1 nanny, 3 maids) and thus I really doubt their mom knows what they watch.

    When we were young we were allowed to watch Channel 33 (What is now Dubai One) from 2 to 4:30 pm because that was the cartoon slot. NOTHING ELSE.

    I think most parents are of the thiking of oh, it's just TV, not knowing that TV affects young kids... My brothers and I used to play fight with BASEBALL BATS because we pretended to be transformers. So it does affect the kids.

    As for the skimpy outfits in that 8 simple rules show! IT WAS NOICE! lol! That saem girl is now in the big bang theory! lol.

    As for the Arabic music channels... Here are the lyrics of 90% of the songs:

    I love you my love do you love me really love me love love love? I miss loving you at night and loving you in my arms and love love...

    Which is ok, LOVE is an amazing thing, BUT when they are added to basically pole dancing, it gives the totally wrong message.

    Sad thing is most satellite/cable boxes these days have parental locks readily available. How many people here do you know who has actually set them?

  7. You are very right! I have come across a few instances like this myself ... Its sad to see that the parents are not paying attention.

    Teenage years are awful years! These kids NEED to be watched constantly.

  8. Nikki, yeah... if a parent doesn't understand English well and/or doesn't realize there are cartoons geared for adults on television, unless it was during a crude scene, that Family Guy would look just like a regular ol' cartoon.

    ultra[blue]-let me guess, you watched cartoons like "Captain Majid" and "Adnan wa Lana"? :D

    LOL at the Arabic lyrics. Love may be a beautiful thing but cheesy lyrics get old real quick LOL

    "As for the skimpy outfits in that 8 simple rules show! IT WAS NOICE! lol!"

    of course the boys would love it. And it wouldn't be surprising if some young girls watched that show and are dressing like her under their abayas nowadays.

    as for the parental locks... I doubt they even pay attention to them.

    OmAbdullah--oh girl, its even before the teenage years... and yes, teens need to be watched constantly.

  9. omg! I didn't know the right round song was about that... you know where I heard it? on a CHILDRENS movie! the chipmunks!! the second one with the girl chipmunks. wow. that's scary for me. =( kids movies shouldn't have that.

  10. ultra[blue]-let me guess, you watched cartoons like "Captain Majid" and "Adnan wa Lana"?

    HAHA! Captain Majid yes! but not adnan wa lina as I thought it was for girls and the simple minded. I watched mostly robot cartoons like Ra3d an 3imlaq, Mazinger, Ghrendaizer, Robotech, and a whole lot of Gundam shows!

    Sadly (or happily, depending on your view) I STILL watch alot of Gundam and others. Gives you a sense of right and wrong, and isnt made for kids or adults, but everyone.

    Oh, and the huge fight scenes between the mechas are to die for! *lubs*

    But yes, 1st and foremost was Captain Majid!!!!

  11. when i was studying at collage,
    one of my english lecturer keep telling our class to know and understand songs lyrics by some singers because he said some songs didn't suitable and immorale for us..

    i agree with your opinion..
    one day if i have children too, i will control what they are watching and hearing.

  12. Hi Twizzle, just dropping in after like 200 centuries to say hi, hope you are doing great!!! Let me know about your other blog, are you going to keep it?
    PS: love the new layout!!!

  13. Another great post sis! TV is the babysitter these days, and I admit I'm guilty of it too, but I try hard to preview and monitor what they watch. While I was growing up I was allowed to watch anything, but cartoons, tv shows and music industry have become realllly inappropriate in the last 15-20 years, even for adults =/

  14. Zaiynab, the Chipmunks movie has the song? wow... just WOW.

    ultra[blue], ha ha I used to watch Captain Tsubasa (Captain Majid) when I lived in Japan... :)

    I haven't watched any Gundam shows lately.. though I used to :)

    annfrendly--yes, especially when someone is trying to learn English and they start listening to music.. they don't even realize that some lyrics can be really crude.

    MoaD-- wow, long time no see sister!! I am out due to an injury right now so inshallah after the injury heals i can start up the other blog again. we will see.. I do want to post up more recipes and stuff though... :D inshallah I'll go visit your blog in a bit :D

    Sonia, inshallah you just keep your eyes peeled as the kids get older as to what they are watching :) its gets worse and worse the older they get!

  15. Ahhh I thought I commented on this. I guess I just read it? LOL =)) I can't believe some of the stuff on TV. I would be happy if we didn't have a tv. I really would. I hope someday that we don't have tv's and it would be great!

  16. It starts at an early age and doesn't matter what country you live in. Dh and I rarely let our DD watch tv, it might be a cartoon for a few minutes in the morning but that's it, we are either playing with toys or out of the house (we live in Canada). There are other people in the middle east (someone known personally) who recently bought their little boy 20 dvds with 10 30 minute show on each DVD. IMO this is just a starting point for TV raising the child....again it has nothing to do with where the person lives or what religion they follow, if I were still Christian I still wouldn't let my child watch hours of tv, and the shows they would watch would not be Cr@p

  17. Texan in UAE... it would be kind of easy for you to give up TV since you don't like it much eh?

    struggling-- oh, babysitting the children with television is just horrible and it happens too much... whether it be the US or Canada, or the Middle East.

    and yes, even if its age appropriate tv, its not healthy to let children watch too much of it.

    I am not even saying all parents let their children watch cr@p tv... but in the US for instance, it is normal in society for teens to have sex so the tv shows about teenagers will also be about sex as well... along with dressing in skimpy clothing is normal as well so you will see it on TV.