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As parents, we’ve all seen the stats. We’ve all felt the guilt. Screen-time = bad, right? But why is it that screen-time is so harmful, especially to children? And what does Islam say about it?
Well, like with most things, Islam encourages us to practice moderation in our use of tools such as screens. They can be used for good, but we should be mindful about overuse of devices. According to a recent national survey, 90% of U.S. households contain at least one device, with the typical (median) American household containing five of them. And nearly one-in-five American households (18%) are “hyper-connected” – meaning they contain ten or more devices (source below).
Screen-time has material effects on brain development in children related to sleep, concentration, and speech. It also affects our physical and mental health as it contributes to a sedentary life and lack of connection to ourselves, family, and friends. Moreover, screen-time can negatively impact our spiritual health because it can distract us from our relationship with our Creator and interfere with our awareness of His blessings. Allah (SWT) has warned us of this: “There are many signs in the heavens and the earth that they pass by and give no heed to” (Qur’an 12:105).
In this book, we show the importance of disconnecting from screens. Our first lesson teaches that in order for us to personally evolve and become our “best self,” it requires work and focus. However, screens serve as the chief distractions that inhibit us from reaching our potential. In the first story, “The Butterfly Inside,” Amira is inspired to become a professional artist, but she becomes sidetracked as she is doing research to work toward this goal.
Our second lesson highlights that too much of anything -- even something good -- is bad for you. In “Too Much Tablet,” Asad discovers a new app that is not only fun, but educational and Islamic, too. When he becomes completely engrossed in his tablet, he learns the value of moderation, even with good activities.