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Tuesday Halaqa Series – Youth & Social Media The Good, the Bad & the Hidden

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Haifaa Younis

Channel: Haifaa Younis

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Bismillah

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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah Allahi wa sahbihi wa salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Another Tuesday Hello.

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We are blessed to have this.

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Give us, give us this, give us the opportunity to meet and move on online.

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And not only

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interesting subject from more important than having uniform,

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from from 1000 smile

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to join us.

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So today's

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subject is actually

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based on an interesting conversation I had, this is just before the COVID-19. And I remember this very well, because the same person who approached me with the question is actually, it's a young girl who actually titled our talk. And before I get to this, I want to first of all introduce our speaker said, beloved dear sister who I came to know her. Recently, not that long, maybe a year, maybe less through Alhamdulillah, our whatsapp group, it's called female scholar group, and it's, it's, it has beautiful sisters. And the reason I would have said, Our guest caught my eyes is that discussion. And then when I start reading her work, reading, and then it's interesting, I read her

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article. And it really caught my eyes and less than a week, last pantalla and I always say this, Allah subhanaw taala

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does things in an amazing way. And I normally don't read a lot on social media. Let's put it this way. I have no idea why I read that one. It just cast my eyes and I read about it. And I was not very involved in the subject less than a week I got this phone call. And then Subhanallah I reached out to our beautiful guests to discuss and I asked her her permission to publish what she wrote and to share it with that person.

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These days, we have a huge issue and I'm gonna start with this is called huge issue and hugely Emma, can you save this way, your Jeanette my huge blessing, but also huge

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mama in the Arabic call, word meaning a huge, not blessing if it is misused. And before I go further, let me introduce my honorable beautiful sister who shall love one day, before we start, I said this to her again, we had a virtual hug. And in sha Allah de la one day, we'll have a real hug. It's my beautiful sister, Jose moja. Daddy, and I'm going to give a short introduction. And please forgive me if I didn't give you what's

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more than what you do less than what your reality is. But this is what I got from her. And from her Facebook. And from her page. She's actually came young, was born in Afghanistan came as a child with a refugee parents spent a lot this really hits me when I learned this and I learned that very recently. They resided first in Washington, DC, and they moved then to the Bay Area. And again, interestingly, it turns out to be a lot of my own family, very good friend of her. And I learned this very recently hamdulillahi Rabbil aalameen. So she grew up around people have knowledge of ame and then Allah introduced her to zaytuna Institute before it became zaytuna College. So of course

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she was growing up around the knowledge of the likes of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and even more on a personal level. And imagine you're talking about this in the 90s and early 2000s when there wasn't a lot of knowledge available, specially in the English language. And then hamdulillahi Rabbil alameen and I can imagine because she's a woman because she's involved in this is spiritually connected. Then again, the community start she filled the gap or, or a vacuum in the community. And then Allah spawn Tyler, I am sure showed you your ability to write starts writing then the blog, then the involvement in the mental illness, and then recently, which really caught my eyes as a person is

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subjects related to daily issues specially for parents, and I love when you write about what's happened with your husband.

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What's happened with your children is read stories. But this is what we need is real stories coming from somebody who's living it, and somebody with that was a key Kiana law, but someone with a laws, fear and support. So without further ado, I'll go back to the story I started doing. So on a Saturday morning, I get this call from a very dear family to me. And it was actually from the Father, it's a relative. And the father said, What is this Tick Tock?

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And you can imagine your sister, honestly, I had no idea. And I said, What is Tick Tock? And they said, you better go and check it. And I said, What is it Tell me, and this is a very good family and a very involved both parents, which is really nice. And amazing. Two daughters preteen, like about 1314, but very good people.

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And the father said, I just noticed that she's spending too much time on the on the phone. She just had a phone. So I just said and we were sitting in the living room and said, Can I see your phone? There is a reason why I'm saying this. And they're gone. Beautifully said sure.

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So that tells you she did not know she was doing anything. And then she gave it to the Father and the Father was looking and then he come to the tick tock. And then he starts looking at the tick tock, and that's when he called me.

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And I said what is it he said you cannot imagine? And I just read your?

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Well, Facebook about a week ago. And I said just a second. Okay, I'll get back to you. Subhan Allah. And that's when I read her Facebook again. And I talked with the father and I talked with the mother. And amazingly, and this is why this is important because this beautiful young human being 13 years of age, honestly, did not see anything wrong with it till the parents sat down with her. And she chose the title of today's talk. Yes. So Pamela, because I sent an I said, guess what? You guys gave us the idea. What do you want me to title it and see what she said, the bad, the good, the hidden.

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Amazing, she's actually a future writer. I want to introduce yourself. So without further ado, and without taking too much time off my beautiful guest. I will leave it to my beautiful sister who's shy to share her insight and her experience with the community with the with the teenagers and with her own children. She's also a mother of 2am I right? Yes, I just couldn't get the ages. So

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please welcome to

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Veronica love Viki, which is like your love hate a doctor Haifa or like it is such an honor first and foremost to meet you to be in your presence. I feel like we're in the same room so panela this amazing technology which we'll get to right what like the title says there's good in this technology and have the sabbatical left wiki for the honor of inviting me to be with you today and to speak to your audience Mashallah. I am so there's so much to say about this topic Subhan Allah and really when you invited me I My mind went in so many different directions on how to approach it. But this recent post that you referenced I think really does speak to what we're in the midst of right now in

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terms of the overwhelming power of social media especially with over our youth and we're seeing you know more and more a rise after this you know pandemic quarantine situation that many people find themselves in even more addictions more problems because there's no a very limited alternatives and options so it's such a relevant topic and I thank you so much, again for giving me the opportunity to address it here with all of you. With that said I'll begin inshallah with the obvious without automatic aim, excuse me. Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam Allah shrivel MBI evil mursaleen say that our mode I know what have you been hammered solo hottie was said um, while he was talking to

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sort of this theme and kathira Alhamdulillah. So just again, for those who are tuning in my background, after hive, I was very generous, Mashallah, with her introduction to me, I did not deserve her beautiful words, but thank you for that beautiful introduction. You know, I am a mom and hamdulillah and before I became a mother, I taught I'm a teacher by profession. I've taught for several years. And I started off you know, with young children. And some of the things that I learned way before I became a mother was you know, the, the way that children behave the way that children are and of course, the changes and the developmental stages that they go through. And with

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each stage you know, the it becomes very apparent that in

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credible wisdom of our Deen because Alhamdulillah our Deen is so it's complete, it's perfected. And we have. So it's a, there's so much that it offers us in terms of how to look at our children. And so we understand from our Deen that children are in fitrah they're pure, they have a purity about them, that with time and I, you know, after they age and they mature and they start to learn more about the world that they're in, that changes, right, it changes this fitrah this natural inclination that they have towards good. And so young children and hamdulillah this is, you know, very evident for anybody again, who's around children, they see it, they want to, they're in a state

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of play, they're in a state of exploration. And so they're in many ways, Mashallah, you know, innocent in all of this. And that's why we have to first and foremost, just highlight that, whatever we're going to share today, I just want to make sure that parents, or teachers, or anybody who's tuning in, or remembers that our Dean is not a dean of despair or hopelessness. So please, what we say here, don't you know, don't worry, because a lot of times after these talks, parents start to worry and panic, like, have I paused, right? Have I caused some damage? Have I done something and no stuff for a while, you know, inshallah, we just have to bring awareness. And that's why this, it's

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so important that we have these discussions, because as you found Dr. Haifa, with this family that you spoke about, they're innocent, they're No, they don't know. And so so many children supine a lot, because their hearts are good. And they just like the excitement factor of learning something new or meeting with people or you know, connecting with people, they find themselves wanting to, you know, use certain platforms. So the first thing I would say to parents is, let's backtrack and have don't have so other than, you know, right away with, with our children, and assume that your children are doing things, you know, with with a wrong intention. Because sometimes, I feel like

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when we approach these conversations about social media usage, and, you know, we talk to our children, we don't have the right understanding about what's happening. They're under spiritual attack. And I speak very frankly, about this, you know, he pleases our sworn enemy. And he is starting earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier, unfortunately. And so we as parents have to remember that we have a responsibility parenting, because that amount, as we know, the wonderful headaches that, you know, we all inshallah know, about, the responsibility of the parent is like the shepherd, right? I call

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it right, we're all shepherds, and we're responsible for our flock. And so our children are our flock. And that's why the onus is on us to be aware of things. So right off the bat, we have to have this understanding children are pure, you blesses a sworn enemy, and the door has been opened for him to access our children. And it's been open for a while to be honest with media and television and games, and video games, and a lot of the stuff he's had access for a while, it's only he's getting more sophisticated. Because these, you know, app developers, they're not worried about any or they're not, their main concern is money. That's really what it comes down to. They This is a

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profitable industry. So when they put together an app, like tic tock, for example, they're not considering the spiritual ramifications of being on an app like that. All they're looking at is marketing and your ads and driving income and generating income, and just getting as many users as possible on there. So we have to be clear about what's going on, you know, that we are in a world, it's a digital world, this is the world that our kids have inherited. But there's a lot of players and the players are what we need to start off with the player, the innocent victims or families, innocent people, people were just there to, again, make use of the good of the of these platforms.

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And then you have the evil nefarious players, at least, of course, being the head of that, but also the people who have, who are just not really concerned about the well being the mental health, or well being the physical well being the spiritual well being of the consumers who use their products. And this goes for many industries, right? We can't just harp on on just social media, a lot of industries, they're not really worried about how it affects us. So once you have that understanding that social media inherently isn't evil, it's not, you know, you know, inherently bad, that there's good in it, and that we can look for the good and make use of it, but there's also a lot of bad in

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it, then what that does is it makes you more conscientious when you are engaging with it. Because one of the problems that I find in my work is a lot of parents, unfortunately, are passive around these issues. Because they have a trust that if they're, you know, these are the in the you know, this is where marketing is very effective. Because when you have things that look outwardly benign, or you know everybody's doing it and it's popular and it's trendy, then there's a part of your brain that thinks it's safe, but we have to kind of you know, peel back the layers remember the shepherd right? The shepherd is always aware of the hidden dangers. He's always aware of what's going on and

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if they're the flock is in any way compromised. So

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We have to know that we can't give a carte blanche like they say to people who look who are wear suits and who have a lot of money and who have success. And we think that somehow their intentions are good. And what that is. So once you have that, understanding that just because all the kids are doing it, and I because I hear this from parents, or even teens, like, what's the big deal, you know, they've kind of had this attitude that, you know, don't be too, you know, like, this is conspiratorial, or like, Don't think all these negative things, everybody's doing it, it's not that bad. Because if it was that bad, but this, get that mindset, rid yourself of that mindset, don't be

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too trusting. Because, you know, again, intention matters. And as Muslims, this is the most I mean, the fundamental foundation of our Deen no matter no matter, and yet, we have to look at the intention of people. And so if their intentions are muddied with, with other you know, things that are not for benefit, then we have to not be so willing to trust them. And the bottom line is that a lot of these people who are developing apps, they're doing things that are targeting certain demographics, specifically, to get them addicted, and to get them to become lifelong users. So right there, we know that their intentions aren't good, because they're not looking at how is this going

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to affect them. And that's why, you know, again, got to look at the research and this is part of being conscientious and being awake or woke, as we say, we have to have, you know, be awake with these things, that there is research that tells us so many problems that teens are facing by engaging in social media so to have this idea that it's not that big of a deal, because it's widespread, and there's billions of users on Instagram or Tiktok or Facebook and the majority would you know, the kind of a you have that mindset that if everybody's doing it, how bad could it be? Well, you're not you're denying the research that says otherwise, which says, and Doctor have a you

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would know better as a medical professional, right? That anxiety disorders are on the rise, kids are dealing with so many more problems than they ever did in our generation. And I've seen it I've been out talking to teens, moderate 80s I do a lot of work with teens, you can tell the difference you know, you can tell that they're not comfortable in their own skin, you know, they're not comfortable. Socially, they have a lot of social anxiety but they're also dealing with an immense body dysmorphia insecurity so many different mental health problems. And there is correlation because the research shows that the more time that our teens and youth are spending on these apps,

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even if you think oh on Tick Tock for example, the common excuse I hear from a lot of people is you know, it's just an app to watch people sing and dance and you know, they do skits and how bad could it be? Well you got to you know, look at the time that that is that a lot of these people are using it and there's you know, again it's so addictive that some people can be on there for hours on end and not realize that they're spending hours of their time scrolling and the interface is is fast paced, you know, which is also part of the part of why it's so addictive is that you can you don't have to go through too many barriers to get content whereas you know, like if you're on Instagram or

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some of the others you have to go to someone's profile and do this this is a it's just this constant stream it's all it's literally never ending so you end up going through you know you get bored after a second or you know, something doesn't interest to you go to the next thing and the algorithms are so sophisticated that they move between different topics so it's like it's not even a particular you know, like let's say if you're looking for cooking things you know like if you're interested in recipes you know, it's not that every video is going to be about a recipe you'll have a recipe and then right after that it's something that is a dance performance or song performance and it can be

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again something innocent but what I found in my experience and why I felt so compelled to write that post that you shared drives because there is it's it unveiled itself to me as a total new user I downloaded it after working with some teens and some of them had told me how addictive it was one in particular told me that she the longest she ever spent on it and she wasn't even aware was four hours straight that she was on this app and four hours passed and she was like shocked that so much time so I that piqued my interest because I said what could be so addictive that you can hold a teenager right not just an average person. Why don't we know their attention span is short. But what

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could be so powerful that they could spend four hours so I was like I need to investigate because I had heard about Tick Tock but never really cared to know more about it until I download it and immediately my I just remember my heart was pacing me racing because I couldn't believe that there were Muslim children being exposed to what I saw. And it was being presented as a fun, you know, app that was just it's so innocent. And I said this is anything but innocent. And so what I noticed was again, the algorithms are sophisticated you pick when you first sign on the type of

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Topics you're interested in so I picked a two or three innocent things you know very simple I think I picked maybe cooking or DIY things you know things things that I like just to see what would happen so as I'm looking at you know the the scroll I found Subhanallah with maybe after every two or three you know, videos, there's something very targeted to Muslims, which were, I saw a lot of sexualized content Okay, that were Muslims unfortunately presenting themselves in a very inappropriate way. The conversations were also I mean the video content that what they were saying the words were foul, there was a lot of foul language, but also topics that I just felt were This is

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far from innocent dance and you know, lip synching videos that you could just, you know, it's like, as if it's all performance related. It's not it's actually there's hidden messages and there's people who are using the platform to push their lifestyle choices. And because they're young and innocent, you know, they, I certain their parents have no idea that they're using it this way, you know, that they're on these apps and saying the things that they're saying, so I just noticed a lot of content that I thought if I had a 12 or 13 year old teen on this app for four hours a day for sure they're being exposed to content that I as a parent wouldn't want them to see especially as a

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Muslim parent and that they're being conditioned because this is how conditioning works. You know when you look at television media the power of it is the that you know if they just keep repeating the same thing over and over again, we become conditioned to it we become desensitized to it. Yeah, and this is you know what, they've done it very effectively in film and television. I don't know if you've noticed after Haifa, but like, you know, 2015 for example, is what they call the year of the trans Okay, that year we had people like Caitlyn Jenner and I think Verna I think Laverne excuse me live on Fox I think sorry if I got her name wrong but she was on one of the famous shows but they

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were these are transgender people. They you know, they they cut their careers kind of took flight in 2015 it was a very politically you know, advantageous time for people who are trans but since that year there has been I've certainly noticed it in television and film and even music, a very hyper sexualized focus on people who identify as LGBTQ in in many as characters but you know, even they have storylines and a lot of popular against film and shows. And so they've done that effectively, you know, with media regular media, and now we're seeing it even on social media in the sense of representation and also magnification I should say, there's a lot of magnification around these

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topics on social media likely Yes, maybe there's a political component to it. I'm sure there is but there's also this narrative that we hear from Muslims now because I've worked with Muslims where we pull them and we survey them Muslim teens have no real issue with those lifestyle choices they think we as the adults are really backwards and we have you know some really wrong thinking so it's not a matter of tolerance because you know, as Muslims we know you know this doctor have a we were tolerant of all people there's nothing in Islam that that gives anyone the right to abuse another person or in any way mistreat them for whatever lifestyle choice they have. This is not part of our

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Deen so that's not the issue it's a matter of really believing on an ethical moral level that certain lifestyle choices are fine and that there's no problem with it. How did we get to that place where we have Muslims who believe this that it's part of their understanding of faith that there's no conflict with someone who wants to live that lifestyle choice because that lifestyle choice is normal? You know the the idea that concept that it's normal is what what I'm talking about well how did they do that? It's because it's you know, it's repeatedly mentioned and presented and magnified and so social media is doing the same thing where you can't now go on instagram snapchat, I've seen

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it I have all the platforms because part of my I guess you could call it research. I go to see the pulse like what's the What is going on? So you can go to Snapchat and find on there you know, there they have a whole page that has different content, its videos, its stories, so much of it has to do with you know, particular lifestyle choices you know, we're we're topics that are that are very politicized these days, topics like gender fluidity, sexual fluidity are hyper magnified on certain platforms. Instagram, tik tok, same thing. So if you as a Muslim parents

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are allowing your 1110 year old child who has still yet to form their own identity, they're still in that pre adolescent phase of trying to figure out themselves. And then they go on a platform where all their friends are on there, their classmates, their cousins, likely. And then every other video is a message that says, Here's me and my partner of same sex partner and sometimes they're kissing. Sometimes they're very lewd and sexually, you know, doing things that are totally inappropriate dancing, very provocatively, they're looking at all of that content in between whatever video that you think is innocent Oh, dance lipsync they're seeing that every other video is that content. And

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then the danger that I found was that it wasn't just non Muslims because you know, again, that's their lifestyle choices there right they can do as they wish, we're now talking about Muslims that are doing this there are Muslims who are using the platform because they themselves have very progressive ideas and they have you know, are out and proud of their identities. And they are normalizing it for other Muslims, they're telling in their messages, you can see their hashtags, you can see the messages that they give that where it's like, you know, push back on your family if you know, if they don't, if they have a problem with you do this and they do. So they're empowering

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other kids who are maybe confused about their these issues, to embrace a certain lifestyle choice that again, conflicts with our values as Muslims. So when a Muslim family is unaware of these things, and then a parent, you know, gives their child for example, a phone or tablet and access to these apps, they should be aware of the content that their child is being exposed to, because it likely will come around at some point I've actually had to deal with this firsthand, where because of access to this type of stream of messaging, this constant bombardment, especially around sexual fluidity and identity, we have I've dealt with many families where the child is confused teenagers

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come to their parents now wondering about their own sexuality, because they were exposed to this type of things, you know, these they were exposed to messages that told them for example, one family I remember young 12 year old girl very confused about her sexuality but she was told by friends who are again exposed to a lot of this content through film and social media, that you cannot know your sexual identity until and unless you start experimenting first, experimentation will then lead to you having a determined identity. So this 12 year old girl is now coming to her mom saying I think Muslim girl, you know, I may be a lesbian and I think I need to experiment first to determine if I

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am or not, and then I'll you know, so these are the kinds of conversations that are very relevant and they're happening nowadays, because of the message you know, the message is, it's normal, there's nothing wrong with it, embrace it. And if parents aren't familiar are with the apps and what their again teens or youth are being exposed to, then they're allowing those messages to get in and then to confuse the child which presents with with a whole other host of problems after that. So I think you know, we just have to become aware and this is why you know, literacy about these things is so important parents have to know about it online and in every regard not just on social media,

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but the internet itself. You have to be literate about the safety of it. And you know, we've just touched upon a few things but there's a host of other you know, issues that that again, teens are dealing with with regards to you know, for example identity you know, identity we spoke about sexual identity but just identity in general, a lot of teens deal with deep deep insecurities because there's so many messages about who you should be what's successful, what's not successful, what's good, what's not good. And again, this is because of so many different platforms that teens have access to once they get a phone you know, you get a tablet and maybe you're 1615 years old, and you

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know you have access to the App Store. A lot of parents aren't over seeing these things you know, so the child and children because they're they tend to be very fast and they learned this stuff early on, they actually tend to be able to do the you know, to know much more than their immigrant parents let's say you know, a lot of parents who don't have the internet are just not very tech savvy. They will ask their 10 year old Can you download this for making you doubt this is this can't happen because you know, the internet and and you know, these devices to me, they're as dangerous as a weapon or as a vehicle. You have to know that this is the it gives access to very, very dangerous

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things, not just you know what we covered already, but just topics that you don't control the narrative about, and that's to me the biggest danger with young children.

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Especially like, you know, preadolescents, you know, when they haven't learned about a lot of the things that are going on in the world, and then they yet have access to browsers, you know, they just take just takes one word, you know, one word, and, and they could be, they could see something that could scar them. I mean, I've had phone calls, I've had people reach out to me saying that my child saw something, and I don't know what to do it for the first time ever they saw an image or a pornographic image or a violent image, some there's a lot of violence on the internet that can absolutely terrorize young children. So we have to, I think, realize that, that the onus comes back

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to the parent about your responsibility and engaging with social media or the internet in the most responsible way possible. And that cannot happen unless you're informed. If you're not informed. And you're not looking at the statistics. I mean, I have you know, I'll just read you some statistics, because I think it's important for people to realize how dangerous this is.

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Let me pull up my, my notes here. Yeah.

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That's how you get it.

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How to time is

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tight.

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How is

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he writing?

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It's the new one.

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There's so much about Tick Tock and people don't realize it's the fastest growing new app for American teens since 2019 60%. of the users on tik tok are 16 to 24. But there's younger children, you see them, like you can see younger children, there's sometimes with their parents, sometimes they're not. So you have you know, somewhere 1011 year olds on there, so power, but it's it's definitely the most popular of all of the platforms, it blew up in between 2018 and 2019. But now, there was a statistic that was quite alarming in terms of the number of active users that come on every single day on Tick tock, so this is not something small, you know, Subhanallah, but just

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that yes, that's the one 500 million every single day, New Haven Subhan Allah, isn't that unbelievable? I mean, people that's larger than some populations of countries, you know, so people need to understand this. And the thing is with Tick Tock is that it's global. So the audience is, and that's why it has such a great reach, because it's not regionalised or localized to a specific country, right? It is one of the platforms where you could easily go become an overnight success, because you have followers that are in a total different country, but that appreciate your content, right? So the way that it's, again, put together is is to drive a lot of user, you know, users and

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engagement, constant engagement. But just, you know, in addition to tick tock, there's other things like, access, I mean, statistics that people need to be aware 92% of American teens are on the internet every single day. 56% 6%.

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I'm not sure what,

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okay, better. Okay, so maybe I can hit mute on.

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Okay.

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But you know, 56% are on several times a day. 24% are connected almost constantly, so they have easy access to the internet. And these are actually probably I mean, I'm sure this was a Gosh, these statistics are 2017 2018. So I'm sure it's even worse now. It's progressively getting worse. That's the point is that as these apps become more and more powerful, and more and more engaging, you see the numbers of users, you see the use of usage is increasing. And then of course, the effects of all that because that's that's the most important part. What is the effects of being online all day long.

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I still hear and I mean, these are statistics that you can pull up. This is from smart, social calm. There's quite a few different websites that offer really up to date. This is teen social media statistics. 2020. So this is this year, these are the most up to date statistics. 65% of parents, researched by Pew survey, excuse me by Pew Research has said that they worry that their kids spend too much time in front of screens. So we clearly have a problem when more than half of our population of parents right are actually admitting that they themselves worry for their own children, that their children are online. That to me says who's who's in control because if the

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parent is worried

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Then the addiction has clearly already set in. And I see this I've talked to several families where they've given up parents are just like they're so spent and exhausted on the the debate and the arguments and the, you know, bullying behavior sometimes between siblings or even towards the parent, like there's a lot of sometimes violent outbursts and lashing out when a video game is for example withheld or an A device is withheld. There's, there's a very strong visceral, physical response sometimes that parents just don't want to deal with. So they figure Fine, whatever, it's already too late. And so that sort of, you know, exasperated state is where many parents find

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themselves in, but they don't realize that, you know, that, that it's not too late to, you know, to change things to change the course. And you know, the starting point really is first education, you have to, as I said, know, what's going on yourself. And then also explain to your kids, with my children, for example, you know, from the law when they were very young, prior to even, you know, iPhones and iPads, with media, just media in general tell that this television screens, cartoons and films, I sat them down, and I explained to them that they their brains are developing, you know, and I think children need to know this, that their brains are, you know, pliable, and there's a lot

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going on, and there's a lot of changes in you know, better again, Doctor have I, it's embarrassing, speaking about medical things with with a medical professional, but you know, better that their brains are constantly changing and evolving, and they need certain things to help their growth, and then certain things hinder them or complicate things for them. So I told them, that when they're spending too much time in front of screens, it's not good for their brains. And I helped them see the effects of it after they would sit, for example, for half an hour, in front of the TV watching something or 45 minutes, they were still like, you know, five, six young, but I would say to them,

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how do you feel, you know, ask, let them see the evidence for themselves. And they would themselves admit that they feel sluggish, that they feel tired, that they have all the excitement that they had before the cartoon is gone, they're just kind of zombie, like, you know, and so I kind of came up with a term called brain mush. And I would say, See, your brain feels like mushy, hot, like just brain mush. And they get Yeah, Mom, we can't watch too many cartoons. So they learned from a very early age to make an association with media, that media has to be given in, you know, in doses that you can't just have an open, you know, sort of free relationship with media that you have to engage

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it at the right time, and in, you know, just limited and have limits. And that Alhamdulillah helped me and my husband to, to help them navigate, when they got a little bit older, and they wanted to, for example, start playing certain games or using educational apps, even educational apps were monitored, they were limited, because we constantly referenced the same Association, that look, you start to feel different, don't you. And we also admitted our own, when I would sit in front of the computer, I'd come and admit I feel physically tired, my shoulders hurt, my neck is hurting, my brain feels so they could see that it's a human thing. It's not a power struggle between a parent

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and a child where the child feels like you're just being mean and taking something away from them. I'm explaining it in a way that tells them where we are as human beings, Allah created us with certain limitations. And the media has a very powerful effect on our brains. And I also introduced them to the term addiction I wanted them to understand that human beings are prone to addictive behaviors, if we don't self regulate, and this goes back to a topic that I don't know if you've heard me speak about it, but I speak quite often on emotional intelligence and understanding the five qualities of emotional intelligence which are very much in line almost it seems like exactly

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from our faith, you know, being self aware, having self regulation, being motivated empathy, social skills, these are core principles in our face. So I explained to them these things and I told them that we have to be you know, self aware and self regulate, you can't just give into your enough's and every time you want something, you do it. So important, you know, putting the frame in the conversation in these spiritual terms is much better than waiting. And this is the it's unfortunate because it's part of our society, they make these things so

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again, because they're so prevalent, that it's so normalized that people don't think they have to have these conversations, unfortunately, until it's too late. But if you wait to have a conversation with your 1213 year old child, about Internet safety or usage, when they've already bought into the idea that it's the most amazing thing ever, and that all their friends have it and that what could be wrong with it.

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You're gonna have now you know, a sparring of words and who's got the better argument and who can, you know, convince the other more, or it's just Well, some kids are, you know, relentless, and they'll keep pestering and whining and whining, and parent loses their wealth. So that's not the right strategy, the right strategy is to explain to your children from a young age, the negative effects of these things so that they trust that you have their best interests in mind. so that by the time they reach that age of puberty, they are 100 allow themselves convinced of what you're convinced of, which is I have to limit myself around this, and I'm the law I have, you know, with my

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boys, for example, they themselves put limits on themselves, they'll know that we have, you know, I allow them on yomo, Gemma Friday is the one day that they get games, that's it, they get on their iPads, they get to play games, and it's usually something like dream League Soccer, or, you know, something that's very innocent, but they sometimes play with each other. But it's nothing that's more, you know, intense than that, and it's enough. And then after about, they set a timer, I don't have to tell them, they set a timer themselves. And then as soon as the timer goes off, they'll come they'll put the iPad away, and they just and they move on. There's no war, because they understand

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that in our family for, you know, I'm protecting them. And I know that there's negative effects to these things, and if they trust me as their mother or their father than they should, no, we're not and I've had these competitions, if I say no to you about some or you know, if I withhold something to you or I say you can't do this, you should believe that I love you and it's coming from a place of love, and that it's coming from a place of wanting to protect you because that's my job as your mother and that's your you know, your dad's job is that we always have your best interests in mind it's not because we don't want you to have fun, it's not because we don't want you to talk to your

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friends or be cool or know the latest this or that that's not why it's because we know there's dangers to this thing. And if we end with your developmental stage, and I always frame it like that, that when you get older, you know and you have the ability to self regulate or that your brain development has matured you're then you know you're an adult, you can make your own decisions and you'll be held accountable for those decisions. But right now because you're a child and you don't have that ability you know, you know the doctor has said that their executive functions their prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed right? So kids don't have the ability to say no, they don't

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have the ability to stop so you have to teach that to them. So the point is is having conversations framed in this spiritual way is is early on early intervention is the right way to inshallah protect our youth now if you're you've already you're like okay, well I'm way past that stage, my kids full blown addicted, again, it's not too late please don't lose hope because you know, what you have to do is reset and the reset is really essential that you don't do it in a way that it's you know, it's kind of like a casual conversation and it's loses the impact when we have important conversations where we want to have important conversations with our youth, we have to frame it right and we have

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to create the right ambience and the correct create the right setting. So having it you know, in the middle of the hallway when they're in their bedroom, and you're just standing there because you're on your way to your room and you've decided to pop in your head and say something is not an effective strategy. You have to actually invite them to a conversation with you you say I want to talk to you about something very important what's a good time for you so you know I do a lot of work with parents and teens where I try to teach parents to respect teens times as well because you know they have theirs they're moody they've got a lot going on so sometimes just coming in abruptly

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unloading on them because it's convenient for you is also not the right strategy. If you have mutual respect and you show them that I want to engage you as an adult because technically islamically you are one then you would go to them just the way you would any other adult and say I'd like to speak to you what's a good time for you to model that behavior for them so you show them that respect and then when they commit okay well we can talk now if they say now great if they say I have to study right now can we talk tomorrow at this time great schedule at pencil it make it official make it formal, and then maybe do something nice with them go on our car right i mean we're in quarantine

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right now I would have said go to lunch, but not impossible. But maybe go on a nice you know scenic car, Park Park exactly go somewhere nice. And that you can speak to them. But create the obvious that this is serious. It's not just a venting session or I'm just so annoyed with you because you're on your phone all day because that's that's the level that parents unfortunately get to they wait till they're so aggravated and annoyed and then they end up unloading and they think that that should be enough for their kids to correct themselves.

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But that's not helpful, because the child doesn't realize, especially later on when their friends are texting them, or you know, getting them all hyped up about something, they're not going to feel the weight of your words in that moment where they have to make a quick snap decision, they're going to default to what they want to do. And that's why if there's 10, children's behavior, right, they're impulsive. And you and also by the time they get to their teens, years, your influence over them takes a backseat to their peer group, their friends, their people that they, you know, connect with, they have much more power over them. So you have to know that as a parent, and if you're

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competing with that, sort of, you know, energy, doing it on the fly, or a quick competition over dinner or in a heated discussion does not have an impact, what has an impact is pulling them out of the home environment, taking them somewhere away from their siblings away from

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everybody else, being hyper focused on them, and really sharing with them your heart and telling them I am worried about you. You're spending all your day for girls, for example, we have to know the research. So many girls are suffering in our community, I can tell you from personal experience, how much suffering is happening with girls, especially if they're Muslim girls, and they wear hijab, it's compounded because the social media is so hyper focused on appearance more so for Girls and Boys Boys are not as actively engaged in the same way that girls are right boys are have other issues in terms of video game usage, and things like that. But when it comes to social media usage,

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like Instagram, where it's very visual, and even Tick tock, you have more girls have more problems, because it's visually based. So you have a girl, a young, impressionable Muslim girl, she's already feeling insecure, because in school, let's say she goes to predominantly non Muslim school, all the girls pretty much look like copycats of each other or are trying to aspire to a beauty standard. That is, you know, unnatural and not real. And so she's competing with that right away. But then on top of that, her style, her expression of style is is different because she wears a hijab, right? And then oftentimes, parents don't allow young girls to wear any makeup, they some of them can't

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even take care of, you know, basic sort of things like, you know, plucking their eyebrows or removing mustache hair, or you know, so just imagine the compounded feeling of insecurity if you are a young Muslim girl, and your parents have prevented you from doing any of that. But then you're on a social media app like tik tok, Snapchat, Instagram and you're looking at girls, your age, you're in your classroom, in your schools who have the latest styles, wearing all types of makeup are in really provocative sort of poses, I have a boyfriend have all this attention, have a lot of likes and a big social circle. How do you think that girl is going to feel about herself this small, this

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small. So we have to realize that there's so many dangers that you know that SOCIAL MEDIA presents, if we're not having really open conversations with our children, to let them know these things, and also not aware of ourselves. So when you take your daughter to that private conversation, and you want to advise her, this is what you want to talk about, like listen, you also have created you to be much more than some trophy or some, you know, something to be exploited and looked at and molested and gawked at, you are above that. You're an intellectual spiritual person, you know, Allah created you with, with so much power that you have, don't give up your power because we have we have

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incredible power as women, but we give it up when we fall into these narratives that tell us all we are is you know, it's just an image right there has to look a certain way. So you, you take your daughter, you uplift her, you remind her that almost kind of doesn't care about your skin color, your eye color, how long your hair is, if it's thick, curly, that none of that matters. It's what the heart, you have a beautiful heart, your heart is pure, and you remind her goodness, and then you tell her that by staying on these platforms. The problem is is you're going to keep shut down is going to bring you down because he's you know, this is his his tactics. He wants everybody to have

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low self esteem, to have no hope to fall into despair and depression and to just doom and gloom and that's what's happening Unfortunately, that's the tragic thing is that you know, it's it's, it's Subhan Allah because he makes everything so shiny and exciting, but the end result is that you have millions of people who are plagued with the lowest cell value. They don't have any feeling of goodness because they're comparing themselves constantly to everybody else. So it's like, you know, you buy into this lie, this ultimate lie that says

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You know, come on and join this and it's gonna be fun, it's exciting. But then you end up crying yourself to sleep every night. How many people do that every day in our world. So the internet and social media has that component and we have to be wise enough to explain to our teens that this is what I'm protecting you from You don't deserve that you're you need to focus on your education, your path in life, insha Allah, Allah will bring you a healthy relationship. Be out, you know, and work on your building yourself. And this is why you know, emotional intelligence is so important, because it's the framework that teaches people how to build themselves, you know, so that's what we want to

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teach our youth and if you have a, like I said, a youth who's already in that world, you have to speak on that real level. You know that where you really explain things to them, just telling them. I'm so sick of seeing you on your phone. Why are you on the internet all day is not enough, but that's usually where the conversation ends. apparent. annoyed, right? They come home from work. Oh, there we go again. Oh, he's so addicted. And it's like you're mocking them. You're making fun of them. You're unburdening your annoyance. But there's no healing. There's no honesty. There's no explanation that I am your mother. Like if nobody I've told my kids. I said nobody on the planet.

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Nobody on the planet wants your success and happiness more than I do. So if I'm going to tell you not to do something, do you trust me? Yes or no? Do you trust it? I'm doing something for your benefit or not. And they it makes sense to them? Yeah, you know, so your friends, they might think you say the best things about you. But can they compete with me? No, nobody can. Not even your father, for being honest. Right? So, so like I but that's how I like to speak to my kids, and they get it. But I think we just have to, we have to have more honest conversations with our youth where I can I can listen to you for four hours.

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Amazing. No, it's beautiful. But I want to take some of the questions we had. I don't know if you had time to look at them.

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is one about what is the aid that you say to a child? Yes. Or it's an adult or pre adult? Okay, very good. Well, you know what, I mean, islamically adolescence is the defining factor when a girl gets her menstruation and a boy begins to change physically where you start to see changes you know, in his voice or in you know, certain physiological changes hair, you know, there are certain signs that say your child is leaving childhood and they're entering an emerging into adolescence and doctor, however, you would even be able to elaborate further, but look for those signs of adolescence that is islamically when they are bad right now you're you're held accountable, you're no longer out of,

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you know, innocent child where the pens are lifted, no things are now real. And your choices are real, and they're being documented as an adult. So I think we have to, for me, it's a part of my parenting advice is treat your adolescents like adults. If you

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respect them, they will, inshallah, prove themselves to you, you know, but if you speak to their children, and infantilized them, then they'll continue their immaturity.

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I'll share with you an advice. Actually not an advice. It was a request was given to me. 14 years ago, at least, it wasn't one of my beautiful friends older than me, or children, probably now. Absolutely, adults. And she used to say, this, choose the hell out of this class. Now we have it's been going on for almost 20 years. So she used to tell me Tell your friends and sisters, to talk to their children before their tongue become taller than their height.

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I

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love it. I love it. Because it is so true. So what I got from your talk, and I put notes actually is number one, I loved it. I'm gonna share it with everyone, especially for those who joined us. Maybe later on number one, I love this. Don't assume the children is doing wrong, has no one that's an Islamic concept. That was no one with your husband. That was the one with your children. That was not one with your friend. That was the one with your neighbor. And my number one host no one with a loss

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that Allah will not let you down. That's you. There's two things I want to share with everyone here. Number one, the result is not in your hand or mine. You could be the best parent and you have done all your homework. But I'm loss of Hannah hautala that's your test. And so you know, is the example. I always say this, and it could be the other way around. The father is careful. This reliever

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The son of a neighbor

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So number one is good expectation from the children. Always give them the positive not Inc, not like boost come all the time their ego but also have good expectation from them. They are human beings like you and I couldn't look no Adam hapa all the human beings are Swati. salatu salam said this, all the children of Adam are sinners will make mistakes when I was 13 and 14 how many mistakes we did. So why do you think your child will be that's number number three I also looked from your points the child is pure kulula ology new filter, that's a different one is Auto Center. Every child is is worn, and I just delivered the baby today a few hours ago and every time I deliver a baby, I

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remember this Harry EULA journal fitrah. The natural instinct is hive is good. And they know Allah, and they know right from wrong, then roswaal is all too sad. I'm sad for about what their parents make them. Christian Jews. atheist almost owns what this Hadees teaches me. The origin is good, the environment exactly what you said, the surroundings, my job, your job is exactly what you beautifully said it in a nice motherly way. My only hope in life that I see you successful, and I see you a good human being. I always say this to the young and old. When we leave, we need to leave a good footprint on this earth.

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Whether I am young or old, what did I do to your earth, your love your creation? Look at it this way. And I love this however, and you put it to beautifully, the cursed enemy is standing right there in front of me in front of you in front of this 12 and 13. Right? I may not be interested and I am going to be very honest with everybody. I am not probably interested in tik tok because I think it's for children, but how much time I spend on WhatsApp and all the forward and all the things we see. Right? How many I post on Facebook, all my everything I do in the house, right and how many times we talk to families and sisters, please don't post privacy is beautiful. Don't invite shape

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onto your home and invite jealousy to your home. So as we always say you and I need number one to be the example. We lead by example talk does not And last but not the least. So how long almost run off time is diagnosing the problem. Now I'm speaking as a physician, diagnosing the problem will not solve it. You have to how you will treat it. So now you find out your child and the family who approached me this is what I first thing I said I said Masha, Allah, you picked it up, you diagnose the problem, how you will solve it, whether you can whether you will read, look for look for help. And very quickly. I'm gonna say another family approached me recently in a much bigger issue. The

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issue is running for a year and they have not approached anything. And I said to the Mother, why didn't you look for help? This is my Dean and yours look for it. Especially it was to hear our solicitor Sam told us ask Allah advice and ask people advice. So to overall go back to our title, bad, good and the hidden. There is a lot of good in it. But the bad is almost the same, maybe less, but the hidden is the worrisome. Exactly what you said it too beautifully. Is the hidden we vigilance. respect them. Love them. Show them the love. Show them Don't assume they see it. Because most of the time it's very hard to show or you are too busy and tired. Show them listen to them. If

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they fail,

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I wouldn't say accepted, accepted but doesn't mean it's okay. But accept that everyone makes mistakes and reach out for help. This I love this talk and I would love to have it for another

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everything. We did everything

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and really

01:00:00--> 01:00:38

Back to you just one point I wanted to reiterate, is the most important thing about, you know, as parents is we, you know, we have the responsibility, they're our children to make sure that whatever we want them to know about the world, that it's done with the right lens. And the danger of the modern world is that the lens is very skewed, and it's very defiled. It's a defiled lens that people are seeing the world with. And if we want to protect our children from seeing the world through the same lens, we have to be able to control the narrative. And that's why, if you're going to give access to your children, to anything, you should know what that thing is, whether it's a friend,

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whether it's a film, a media source, social media, because that information is going to either plant seeds in their heart that grow into beautiful things, or plant weeds in their heart that destroy their spiritual heart. But it's our job to make sure that we are doing that filtering process, like what is it and that's where I think the responsibility goes back to the parents is that as the doctor Have you beautifully said, and I say the same thing, somehow my my parenting outcomes are about a lot, we have nothing to do with the outcome, but we take the responsibility of being the shepherd. And if you look at that model that had it is very powerful. Because as I said, the

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shepherd is up early, it knows all the dangers, it's very aware of the needs of its flock, and it's always acting in the best interest of the flock, but a lot of times, because we're so exhausted and over scheduled and have too many responsibilities, sometimes we get distracted by the world, and we don't pay as much attention to our flock and then you have all of these other influencers or influences that come in and they start to dictate to the teach the flock and tell inform the flock and give them you know, information about things. And now suddenly so power, no control, no control. So we have to be very vigilant as you said, about what is it that my children are being exposed to

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and make sure that you, you know, you just have that information, it has to start with education. So Common Sense Media, this website that I mentioned, smart social, it has amazing articles, you know, for example, things that parents don't know, but there's a whole language that teens have, that a lot of parents don't know that there's hidden messages, so they might think oh, they're saying this they're not saying that you should be very well aware, I'm actually going to put together a glossary of terms that I think parents should know just so that they're aware of what their kids are actually talking about because sometimes you know like I said there's so many hidden hidden things as the

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title of this talk was the parents are unaware of and there's you know, it's there's so much innocence and May Allah protect our homes and protect our families and guide us but we have to help one another and that's why Dr. Have a thank you for your you know again vigilance you're looking out for your community and our community in general by giving people a platform to talk about these topics because I know sometimes it's uncomfortable people don't know how to approach these things I'm always open to talking about these things because like you I have the same intention I want to protect the beautiful hearts the fitrah of our children they're beautiful and they'll always protect

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them and guide them and connect them to him and shed on is a force but we we have we're stronger right we have

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exactly we have a loan artist and we're stronger we just have to work together and that's why the Gemma is so important. So inshallah

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cipher shoe This is not the last time this is the first time but not the last and we have a lot of list of topics. does it allow hate unfortunately we have to stop and May Allah reward you May Allah protect all DOMA May Allah protect the children may of law protect our Deen malice pantalla with all the tests we are going on as adults and as children, he makes us go through them come out stronger and closer to him. European design come along Hi, Ron. It's a pleasure. May Allah subhanaw taala make us meet again, does akmola Hello Everyone, please follow us follow us on gender Institute follow SR beside on Facebook or on her website and inshallah we'll have more talks to talk with

01:04:13--> 01:04:14

Mila. Sonali Kumar.