What is the influence of television and computer games on our children?

Question: What is the influence of television and computer games on our children? Some people say they are good because they keep children away from bad deeds, but others mention the harms of these devices of which no house is empty. What is your opinion about the subject?

The answer: My opinion is in accordance with the second one as Dr. Hamid al-Mutayri has detailed in al-Furqan Magazine, vol.121, saying the following:

“Many educationists think that watching the TV too much often causes dullness in children and watching the TV for long periods makes children see many bad things such as immodest pictures and scenes that they should not see in such a stage of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making children under two years not watch the TV and the reasons behind that are many. Here are some of them:

1. Watching TV means wasting the opportunity of reaction and association between the child and the rest of the members of the family. The child who sits before the television for a long time does not read, write, argue with others, or play well with those around him.

2. The TV means laziness in full. He who watches TV needs little concentration and attention, and perhaps this is the reason that has made the TV so amusing.

3. Watching TV lessens the child’s attention span, because one who gets used to watching TV moves from one channel to another continuously and thus cannot fix on the same subject. This matter affects the opportunity of learning and makes listening to the teacher carefully very difficult.

4. We should know that the TV broadcasts destructive messages that cannot be avoided easily. For example, the rate of the scenes that have sexual gestures and hints, which the ordinary spectators see in a year, is nearly fourteen thousand scenes, and the commercial advertisements we watch in a year are more than eighteen thousand. This is besides the scenes of violence, which different programs are full of. As a result, we can say that the TV may be a dangerous factor leading towards corruption and violence.

To cure this problem, Mr. William Baniet, a previous American minister of education, presents the following solutions:

1. Legislating certain laws on what is possible for children to watch with assigning a suitable time for that; some suggest that the time of watching TV should be after the times of reading and doing homework.

2. Consolidating these laws by putting near the TV where it can always be noticed a sheet having special instructions concerning watching TV

3. Choosing useful programs that are possible for children to watch and suitable for their ages

4. Offering alternatives when decreasing the period of watching TV, which means busying the children with other activities instead of watching TV

5. We ourselves must be good examples to our children. It is not reasonable that we warn our children of watching TV while we ourselves spend long hours watching it.

We should take lessons from the results that have come out of TV programs up until now. They are too bad. However, the results will be opposite if the programs are meaningful and in the light of Islamic values as a source of education.