In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
IT is school holidays again. At home, I have a 14 year old boy and her sister aged 9, having a 'boring' holiday; they are waiting for me to announce a holiday package for the family but again it is about my busy schedule that hampers their wish.
For the time being, the children have to spend most of their time at home - the main trouble, they would spend hours and hours glued in front of TV or playing games, chatting and working FB over computers and smart phones.
Yes, the idiot box and computers and phones keep the children at bay (busy at home) and help stop them from going out too often; but spending too much time on these electronic devices, are too bad for them.
Beware; perhaps too much TV will kill your children. A review of published studies in the past 40 years has shown a higher risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death among people who watch lots of television, US researchers said. The results of the meta-analysis performed by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Heath are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association recently.
An AFP-Relaxnews reported that more than two hours per day of TV watching boosted risk type two of diabetes and heart disease, while more than three hours a day increased a person's risk of dying prematurely.
I was quiet concerned about this warning as my children especially the girl spent hours and hours in front of the box. If she was a 'kaki TV' (a person glued to the TV), my son would spend hours and hours on the computer.
It was annoying when you had to face this situation - when you go out to work in the morning your child is in front of the computer and when you come back late in the evening, he is still there!
The report noted that each two-hour increment in viewing per day was linked to a 20 percent higher risk for type two diabetes; a 15 percent increased risk for fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease; and a 13 percent higher risk for all-cause mortality.
While the association between time spent viewing TV ad risk of type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease were linear, the risk of all-cause mortality appeared to increase with TV viewing duration of greater than three hours per day.
The habit of plunking oneself down in front of the television and watching for hours makes up about five hours of daily activity on average in the United States, but is also prevalent practice around the world.
In Europe, people spend about 40 percent of their daily free time - or three hours - in front of the tube, and in Australia, the average is 50 percent of daily free time or four hours, the study said.
"The message is simple. Cutting back on TV watching can significantly reduce risk of type two diabetes, heart disease, and premature mortality," said senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard to the news agency. "We should not only promote increasing physical activity levels but also reduce sedentary behaviors, especially prolonged TV watching."
Television and computers are modern day gadgets; during my childhood days in 1960s and 1970s, my family home did not even have a television set. If today's boys and girls would spend hours and hours in front of the TV and computers this school holidays, during ‘our school holidays’, my brothers, friends and I spent the days among others playing small sampans made from ‘seludang kelapa’ (sheath of the palm blossom) in a small river near my house.
We would also play various games with rubber bands such as catapulting rubber bands arranged on a stick and throwing slippers to hit rubber bands put on tins. We also played ‘rounders’, ‘police sentry’, ‘hantu galah’, ‘teng-teng’ and ‘captay’ (a few feathers of fowl strapped on a circular rubber which was kicked or thrown at one another).
Regarding the bad effects of TV and computers, experts said parents can improve family life by switching off televisions and computers to communicate better. Technological advances combined with hectic schedules have led to parents and children spending less quality time with each other, according to human development researchers. Their findings also show people who devote more time to digital technology are more likely to eat unhealthy, exercise less, and do worse in exams.
Recently a news agency reported Prof Kelly Warzinik, from the University of Missouri, gave this advice: "Powering down digital devices is a vital step in maintaining family relationships. Instead of watching television or talking on a mobile phone, parents can take advantage of daily opportunities to interact with their children at meal times or in the car. Touch base throughout the day by calling, emailing or texting, and after children are asleep, out down the iPhone, turn off the television and just focus on each other."
As well as strengthening family connections, turning off the television could lead to better health, said University of Missouri human development specialist, Saralee Jamieson. "People who devote more time to digital technology are less likely to make healthy food choices or be physically active and are less successful academically. Those who watch a lot of TV are exposed to thousands of ads for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods as well as violent programming. While it might not seem harmful, having a muted TV on while sleeping disrupts healthy sleep patterns and contributes to chronic fatigue."
Tips for parents include limiting time with TV, video or computer screens to two hours daily, removing TV from bedrooms and learning to negotiate and take turns watching different shows. And families are encouraged to turn TVs off when eating or socializing and develop hobbies and become more involved in the community.
So during this holiday (many of the 'rakyat' cannot afford to have a good holiday because life is hard as prices of necessary items and services are high), dear parents, why not organized ‘old time games’ such as playing ‘hantu galah’, ‘teng-teng’ and ‘chaptay’ with your beloved ones instead of leaving them glued hours after hours in front of the TV sets, phones and computers!