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Online Safety for Children

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Saad Tasleem

Channel: Saad Tasleem

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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As well Al hamdu lillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah. While only he will be here, I'm on whether it's and I'm welcome again to everyone. And if you're joining later said, I'm already going to deliver cancer to you as well. So this is actually a very serious and heavy topic, not just because of the repercussions of you know, what it means to not not be safe online. But also because of the fear and exam and anxiety that a lot of parents feel in this modern world, and specifically, when it comes to social media and the internet, because it is something which is relatively new, you know, a lot of parents have not grown up with social media, they haven't grown up with the Internet. And it

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is something that came, you know, possibly later on in their lives. And so it is unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar, has a tendency to be scary, the unknown is scary, it's one of the things that, you know, we don't know, something it can, it can be frightening, and especially now, you know, we may not know and understand it well enough. And then we're seeing now the repercussions of it. And subhanAllah, you know, the studies that have been done when it comes to the internet and social media. First of all, we don't have a lot of information because the internet is not that old. So we don't have long term studies on the, on the true effects of the internet and social media on our on

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our lives. That's, that's number two. But number one, number two, is that the studies that have been done are quite frightening. We are now learning the negative impact that social social media has and the Internet has in pretty much all aspects of our lives all the way from our relationships, whether it be a spousal relationship, whether it be our relationship with our kids, whether it be our communal relationships, whatever, to our own well being and well being all the way from I mean, for us as Muslims, our spiritual well being impact that that social media has on our spiritual well being, honestly, that is a whole topic on its own, and deserves time and inshallah if we have time,

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perhaps in another session, we can get into really the the spiritual impact or the impact of social media and the internet, on our spirituality on our spiritual health. But the spiritual health, and then you have your emotional health, your psychological health, we are now seeing how the internet and social media is impacting people's mental health, when it comes to, you know, their self esteem when it comes to issues like depression, just a wide range of issues we're now seeing, and the picture does not honestly, the picture doesn't look good. And it you know, as I said, you know, there's there's just so much going on, and it just feels like, it feels like we're a step behind.

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And I know Subhanallah

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I know, every generation feels like they're a step behind. I know, my parents, and you know, the previous generation, they felt like, you know, and I think this is indicative of every generation, like every generation feels like, Oh, this is a foreign world that we're living in right now. Because technology does evolve and change quite rapidly. And you know, that's just the nature of life. And so, I don't think that should be something that we are, you know, that just brings us down because this is this isn't this isn't this is normal, this is natural, that we're going to feel like our kids are ahead of us, right. And our parents, I've heard that generation complain about how, you

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know, technology just ran away from them, like they tried to keep up, they tried to, you know, catch up to it, for the sake of their kids. But it just evolved so fast that it just run away from them. And I know, we, my generation and I'm a parent myself, just to give you context about where I'm coming from, I have two children, I have a seven year old, and a three year old who's about to be four. So you know, you say like a seven year old.

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And, and, and a four year old. And so for me, like it's my children are born into this world that we're living in. So, as a parent, you know, once again, we may we may have that, that feeling and I totally completely, I can not just sympathize, but I can empathize with how parents feel. Even though I think I'm like, I'm pretty, I'm pretty young, I'm pretty hip or whatever. Even though I'm a lot older than I look, you know, people always refer to me as like the young, you know, speaker or whatever I'm like, if you knew my age, you know, I'm a lot older than then people's perception, but whatever, that's a that's a that's a side point. But having kids of my own and not only having kids

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of my own, but you know, I would say added to that is the issue of I speak to a lot of parents, and I speak to kids and I know that parents had there is a lot of fear, there is a lot of anxiety when it comes to the world that we're living in and I you know, I just want to say that, you know, when we break this down and one of my goals inshallah to Allah is to relieve us of some of this fear and this anxiety and not to say that it's easy or that you know, I'm gonna give you the solution.

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In all your problems today, that's not going to happen. I don't have all the answers. But perhaps we can get this discussion started. Perhaps this is the beginning of our education, when it comes to an issue like this. So let me get right into some of the main online problems. And the main threats. And this is I'm sure this, these are matters that you've come across, but just to contextualize our discussion today, three main threats or three main problems when it comes to children. And being online being on the on the internet. Number one, is what is known as cyber bullying, right. And I'm sure some of you're familiar with this. But cyber bullying is any type of aggressive or threatening

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or mean spirited activity that

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happens online that is aimed at a particular individual. And this can be it can be, you know, it can be messages, it can be social media, it can be email, it can basically electronic communication, where a person is basically being bullied. So instead of a person actually being bullied, like face to face, it is happening online. And what we find now and you know, what some of the, some of the stats are telling us now, some of the figures that we have is that almost 1/3 of children between the ages of 12 and 17, have been cyber bullied in their life. So that's, you know, a third, like 36%, almost a third of children have experienced themselves experienced some type of cyber bullying.

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And then what's interesting is, you know, and you have to keep in mind, a lot of these studies that are done, they're, they're survey based, and they're they're reliant on the information that people give up, right. So this is what people are willing to admit to. So it's not completely representative of the of the facts, but it just gives us an idea that 15% of children have, or of that age, have admitted to cyber bullying someone else, you know, online, generally, girls are more of a target than boys, but boys tend to be that bullies more than girls, right? So when it comes to, you know, receiving the bullying, and cyber bullying, it is generally girls who've received more,

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but when it comes to those who are bullies, more boys have admitted to being bullies than, than girls. So that's number one cyberbullying, so we're talking about, we want to protect our children, we want protect them online. One, one of the things that we need to be conscious of aware of and start coming up with solutions is cyber, cyber bullying. Number two, is online predators, and basically an online predator is, is an adult or grown up, who uses the Internet to learn or entice children, to exploit them, you know, to for abuse, and so on and so forth. And this is something that I think, you know, we get so caught up in the third one that I'm going to mention, especially

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in the Muslim community that this often gets left out, we sometimes don't think about this, because from the Muslim perspective, you know, from the from the faith based community perspective, we tend to think of, oh, I don't want my children looking at haram stuff online. And, and, and we may lose sight of, you know, the first two issues that I've mentioned right now, number one, cyber bullying, right. And, you know, it starts with our attitude towards bullying in general. And, you know, some families, some households, bullying is not even a not even a discussion that takes place, because there's this attitude of, hey, if someone's being mean to you just just suck it up, right? Or, like,

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usually, you got to be stronger than that, you know, sticks and stones right? Sticks and stones can can break my bones, but words can't hurt me. And we know now that's not true. People's lives are seriously impacted by verbal abuse. And online abuse is a big, big part of that. And then online predators, and especially, I would say in the Muslim community, my impression isn't and Allah knows best. I have not come across any official study. But my I would say, impression, I would say anecdotal impression is that this almost does not get get talked about in the community at all. And I think it's because it's an uncomfortable discussion. It's an uncomfortable topic, especially like

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sexual abuse, and so on and so forth. We just, we don't want to talk about it. But not talking about this problem doesn't mean the problem will disappear. And this is why you know, a first step in addressing a problem is admitting that we have a problem, right? And definitely this this, this is a problem. Cyber bullying, cyber bullying and also online predators, and just predators in general, this is definitely a problem. So the some some some numbers for you. Children can be it can start someone being a victim to it to an online predator can start at a very, very young age. And there's no bottom actually age to this right. It's a one to three years old, like Consort is very, very

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really just, it can literally start as early as someone accesses accesses the internet. So depending on what age a child accesses the internet, right, and some parents will give their children, their one year old, and they're handed an iPad or whatever, and I'm not assigning blame or shaming anyone here, I'm just stating what happens, right? So I'm not I'm not shaming anyone here, I'm just saying that's, that's the reality. So one two years old, apparently hand their child, you know, a device that is connected to the internet. So they become susceptible now to an online pattern at that very young age, all the way up to 17 years old. Generally, just like with cyber bullying, girls make up

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the majority of child victims. And actually, you know, it's like 78%, it's a very high percentage, that is girls rather than than boys. On the other hand, online predators tend to be male. So around 80% of the predators themselves are male. And you know, it's hard to put a number on how many children have actually been victims, but it's, it's they say, it's a very high percentage of children have come across some type of a predator in some way. Because of, you know, just how vast the internet is, is how many ways an a, an online predator can have access to our children. It's just, it's hard to really keep track of that. So number one, cyberbullying, number two online

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predators, and number three, is what a lot of Muslim parents tend to focus on. And that is basically the Haram stuff. Right? So exposure to inappropriate stuff, inappropriate content. And this can, you know, this is this is something which, you know, yes, it is the most common one. But as I said, it's not the only one. But yeah, it is the most common because, once again, accessing the internet is so very easy. And this is, you know, inappropriate content can be, it can be language, you know, it can be foul language, or hate speech, or, you know, even bullying can come under this, or it can be images and videos, and so on, so forth, that, you know, graphic images, or violent images, and so

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on, and so forth. All of that comes under this third category of inappropriate universally inappropriate content. Over 55% of kids in the early teens have been exposed to this type of content. On the internet, once again, take these numbers, they're not exact numbers, because once again, it's hard to tell exactly how much how much like how often or how much this happens. But this just gives you like an idea, ballpark.

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And nearly 60%, have come across some type of sexually explicit words or images on the internet. So these are the three main areas of danger when it comes to, you know, our kids being online. And even as I'm saying this, once again, I want to go back to the issue of, of anxiety. And so you know, there's a lot of fear, there's a lot of anxiety, we're worried. But before we get into some of what we should be doing, I just want to remind everyone, and this is general advice for parenting. And it is also specific to what we're talking about today, we have to remember that we can only do so much that and we have to remember that in the end of the day. It is Allah who is penalized to Allah, Who

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is in charge. So as a parent, our responsibility is to do our best and leave the result upon Allah rely upon Allah who's panel at the AI Lab. And that is why our faith becomes so very, very important. No matter what we do, as parents, we cannot control everything. And yes, some parents tried to do that. And it often causes more damage than good when they try to control every aspect of their children's lives. And trust it trust me as someone who has not only been a teenager myself, but someone who has caught who, who is constantly talking to teenagers are constantly talking to parents, we're dealing with troubled teenagers, that that approach of trying to control their whole

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world is not an effective approach. Right? So that doesn't work. And we're going to talk about some solutions, right? So how do we what does work or what can work, but definitely just shutting off. Everything is is is not the is not the solution. So it's the parenting rule, the general parenting rule of do your best and rely upon Allah applies here as well. In the end of the day, the guidance of our children is not in our hands, all we can do is point them in the right direction. Make sure they're educated, make sure they have enough information. But in the end of the day, it is Allah who has panel data who is in charge, even the prophets or the human salatu salam could not make sure

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that their loved ones are guided. And that should, you know, wake us up because even the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam the best of creation, the best of the prophets. The one who is closest to Allah could not make someone be guided in Mecca as Allah says, INEC Allah

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demon. You can't guide those whom you love mean you cannot force their guidance. Well I can Allah yeah demon yesha. Rather it is Allah who guides whomever He wills. But the prophets I send them did do his best. He did provide the knowledge and the information and gave to BIA, but the results are left to Allah subhanaw taala. We have examples of other prophets as well.

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The Prophet alayhi, salam, ala Salam could not make sure his own son was guided, right. And he was a prophet of Allah subhanaw taala. So that is a little bit of a reality check for us. Right? So once again, if our answer is, you know, what, if there's bad stuff on the internet, let me just turn off the internet. That's not a solution. Because maybe Subhanallah, we that we may be able to cut off our children from the internet for a certain amount of time, right? So when they are younger, right, maybe you've been there 234.

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And I want to stop at four, because at some point, they're going to go to school, at some point, they're going to be out of your house, and therefore you don't have full control over what they're doing. Right. So when a child starts kindergarten, when they start first grade, right, automatically, now there are things that are out of your control, even even in our own household. So Pamela things are out of our control, if we think about it, because it's not just in us in the house, could be an older sibling could be cousins, it could be even in our own house, we try to control everything. If that is our solution, it's not a solution. So it's not going to work. But as

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I said, as soon as they go to school, now they're being they're talking to other kids. Maybe you have said to your kids, no devices, no internet, no nothing. But what about when they're friends, they're hanging out with their friends, or they're in school with their friends, and let alone SubhanAllah. Now a lot of schools, they require devices, right?

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Where they'll say, you know, your child needs a device, because a lot of schoolwork is done on the device, like, what do we do then? Right, so what happens at that point. So once again, if that is our, we really have to understand that that approach is not an effective approach for a certain time for Cinemark certain amount of time, it may work. But that's not an effective long term strategy. So if you came today, hoping that I will give you I will tell you how to block everything online. I don't have that information for you to begin with. I'm not an IT person. So you're you're asking the wrong person in terms like how do I block these websites? Or how can I block HUD on websites? And

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you know, what do I don't know? You know, I asked myself, but if I didn't have that question, I'll go to an expert, you know, computer expert IT person to say, Okay, how do I block this and that, I don't have that information. Right. So that's, but that's not why I'm here today, what I'm here to talk about today is practical ways to guide our kids. And that is really, you know, the key word for today really is to be right is guidance, upbringing and education. Now, off right off the bat, that means that we cannot be passive, we cannot. And some this is why sometimes I think simply blocking and, and, and

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forbidding things is the easy way out, because we think we can just turn off the internet, and we don't have to do anything else. Right. But on the other hand, actually giving our kids to be educating them, teaching them why this is wrong, why this is right, educating them about the dangers, educating them about the problems, like why you can't watch this stuff, why you should not be on this social media app or, or what the problems are, that takes work, it takes effort, it means that we need to spend time with our kids means that we need to have conversations with our kids. And that is much harder than just saying, you know, this is how the internet is head on. Like, we cannot

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be on the internet, no social media or whatever. And that's it's much more difficult. So So once again, you know, simply hiding them, not only is it not, it's as I said, it's not a long term solution from us, if your goal is to keep your kids 100%, sheltered from everything bad, then remember, you're always going to be a step behind them. As I spoke about earlier, you know, there's going to come a point where they simply know more than you, right, they're going to know how to access things that you don't know how to access or you don't know how to block. Right? And once again, if you don't believe me, talk to your parents, your parents will tell you, technology ran

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away from us. Why do we think that we are different? That that we're always going to know how to block the Haram stuff, right? And we're always gonna have control of our kids, we're gonna know, you know, oftentimes, parents tell their kids and I'm a parent myself when like, I said this to my children, too. Right? Like, you think you're really smart, but I'm your dad. Right? And it's true. In this age. It's true. Like, you know, I can tell if my if my child is not telling me the truth. I know if he's hiding something from me. I know, by the way, he the way he talks, by the way, you know, just the inflection in his voice. I know, because I know him. But I also know there's going to

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come an age

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Where I may not be able to tell, there's gonna come an age where I won't be able to have access to everything he does, I won't be able to control that I won't be able to control his his time online, I won't be able to control how he is on the internet. And at that time, the lessons that I taught him,

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and the Tobia that I gave him, and the conversations that we had the heart to heart conversations that I had, are going to be far more effective. And also what's going to be important is will my child and this is actually one of the things I was going to mention at the end, but I'll mention it now. And perhaps we'll repeat it at the end.

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What's going to be important at that time is will my child come to me when they face a problem? Right? So we're talking about cyber bullying, we're talking about online predators, what we want is that our child comes to us when Something's fishy when something's not normal, when something's making them uncomfortable, that they're able to come to us if we've told them, hey, everything is haram, you cannot use it, they, we don't want to put them in a position where they're afraid to talk to us. And laka done Allah, they're being bullied or LED that Allah may Allah protect us protect our children, that there is some type of abuse that is taking place. So fear, putting fear, instilling

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fear into our children, once again, and I know I sound like a broken record. Now, it's not a good long term, not long term solution. And as I said, even just cutting them off, it'll work for a certain amount of time, but it's not going to work forever. So what do we do, we must give them guidelines. And we must connect them with a higher purpose isn't number one, teach them, give them guidelines, give them Tobia, and also connect them with a higher purpose. And for us as Muslims, that means their spirituality should be strong. And we should be trying to strengthen their spirituality, strengthen their faith. Because even when you're not there, their faith will be there

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in the moments where you're not there to check on them. And to make sure they're doing and this doesn't just apply to social media applies to the rest of the world. It applies to sins, other sins, that our children will come and I say will not that they that they may come across, they will come across since there's nowhere and I don't care where you are right now you can be sitting in a country that is majority Muslim right now, and say we have amazing community, nobody does anything, haram, whatever. There's no such thing. There's no utopia on Earth today. Doesn't matter where you live in the world, children will come across things that are wrong and bad. And there they were come

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across sinful behavior, and all that kind of it's going to happen. But

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spirituality. And faith means that even if we're not there, they know that Allah is there. And they know that their responsibility is actually not to us as parents, their responsibility is to Allah who has power with data. So we need to teach them the greatness of Allah rather than our own greatness, right? Any greatness that we have, we need to teach them it is from Allah who is Panama to Allah. And that is why the Taqwa of Allah being conscious of Allah, that is what we need to instill. And once again, that's not an easy answer. That's not an issue of you know what? No, you just make them the perfect Muslim that that doesn't exist. But once again, it requires effort from

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our end. And this is a continual process. So more important than blocking objectionable material from them, is teaching our kids giving them guidelines giving them Ted via teaching kids safe and responsible online behavior. And, and along, what comes along with that, at a younger age, is keeping an eye on what they have access to, once again, not saying it's all haram, but having a relationship with their online life. And I'm going to talk about this in a little bit, inshallah data that be part of the process with them. And as I said, our faith and spirituality, second big component. But as I just mentioned, take the journey with your kids. They're going to be online,

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right? And let's just as I said, we need to accept that reality that at some point they're going to be even if you forbidden it in your household for now, there's going to be a point that they're going to be online, isn't it better, that we take that journey with them? As so from a young age, that when they're online, we are online with them, and we sit with them? And if we're going to do stuff online, we sit with them, and we can walk them through what is good and what is not good? Why is this not good? Why is this harmful to us? As a side note, subhanAllah I know the big elephant in the room in this whole discussion today is pornography. I have a whole lecture I gave on

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pornography. It's actually available online. It's called like the dangers of pornography or how pornography leads to addiction. One of the I give a long I think it's like an hour and a half, two hour long talk on pornography and the dangers of pornography. And the reason I gave that talk is not for young people actually. It wasn't to tell young people hey, look, man like this is why pornography is bad about it was honestly to educate parents.

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so they can talk to their kids. Not that, hey, this is haram. And this is, you know, it's so bad and to shame their kids, instead of shaming our kids. Rather, it should be that we're educating our kid and say, Look, if you view pornography, this is what can happen to you. This is how it affects your life, this how it can destroy your life, it can lead to addiction and all these other problems. This is what we don't want. And this is why pornography is so so dangerous for you. And this is why it's better that you stay away from it, you're gonna come across it, and all kids at some point, they love protect this, but the reality is, is keeping it real, hashtag real talk, right? It's gonna

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happen, it's going to happen. It's not always things are not always, as I said, it's not in our control. But when it happens, are they thinking of, you know, what my parents talked to me, but how this can destroy my life. And so you know what, maybe I wouldn't want to do it again, or, you know, just keep away from it, or best case scenario, is, let me go talk to my mom and my dad. Because, you know, someone showed it to me. And I don't know what to do. Let me get advice from my parent. And in order for that to happen, they need to be comfortable speaking to us, if we're always yelling at them, and getting upset at them, and just shaming them for everything bad that they do, they're not

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going to want to talk to us. Right? And so that, once again, it's a much bigger problem, we want to keep those doors of communication over. That doesn't mean that we don't set rules and boundaries. For them, it is important, I'm going to talk about some of the, the the boundaries that we set for our kids. But it means that it shouldn't always be that we come down with a hammer, it's very harsh, we're always yelling, we're always mad, or we're shaming them. Right? We need to tell them once again, it is about their relationship with Allah who's kind of like the Isla and having them live their lives for a higher purpose. So spend time online together with your kids. So you can

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practically teach them what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate. Now, that leads us to another elephant in the room, which is

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that the rules cannot be different for you.

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When it comes to these issues. So you cannot say it's okay for me to view these things, but it's not okay for you. certain things, certain things. Yes, it's okay. If there's certain topics that simply they're not at a mental age to process that information. That's fine. Right. But there's certain things that are that they're if they're haram for them, they're haram for us, if it's things of like, okay, witnessing, you know, what's on top of imagery, yes, they're at a young age, but just that because of their young and tender age, they can have an impact on them. And so that's different. I'm not talking about that I'm talking about if it's things that are otherwise haram for

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us, haram for them, it's got to be the same rules. Because as always another golden rule when it comes to parenting, as I said, the first golden golden rule is do your best and rely upon Allah. Another golden rule is our children learn more from what we do, then what we say, right? We can talk and talk and talk and talk all day long. But our actions are going to have a far greater impact on them. Then, what we say not action as in like, Hey, I'm punishing you. That's not what I mean by I mean, our own personal actions, are we living up to the standards and children are very perceptive Subhanallah very perceptive. They can tell whether you truly believe in what you're saying or not.

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And they can tell because are you doing it? Right? So I'll just give you a very clear example of this. Tell your children prayer, your your your Salah, prayer or your prayers, but they don't see you praying, even in a small child's mind. They know maybe not consciously, but on a subconscious level, they know you obviously don't think so is that important? Because you're not doing it, even if you yell at them and tell them to do it. This is why Sunday School parenting is honestly problematic. It's problematic, in the sense that and what I mean by Sunday School parenting, if you haven't heard this before, and I apologize, I didn't mean that to be offensive to anyone in any way.

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And sometimes these terminologies can be offensive, right? But just for you to understand what I'm talking about.

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The Sunday School parenting department, a parent thinks I have no responsibility to work towards raising my children in in, in their faith, and and teaching them what is good and bad. The Sunday school will take care of it. So those four hours or two hours on Sunday, when they go to the masjid, then, you know, the people at the middle teach them what's right and wrong. But for me, like I don't have to do anything else. That approach does not work. Obviously, any amount of good is good. I'm not discouraging. This is why I wanted to be very careful. You know, when you say a term like that Sunday School parenting, I want to be very clear, a parent who does nothing and only sends their kid

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to Sunday school is better than a parent who does nothing, and also doesn't send them to Sunday school. So when we're very clear about that, at least they're sending their kids kids to Sunday school had them that that's great. But we also need to be aware that Sunday school on its own is not enough. And so it's to encourage ourselves

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Look, if we're sending the Sunday school, what they learned in Sunday school needs to match up with what they see in their home. And especially, you know, if we are telling them things and doesn't match up with our own behavior, then that also means that we need to teach our kids and sometimes parents don't like that. Because they're like, I'm not perfect. Does that means I cannot teach my children? What's good? No, you teach your kids what is good, what is bad, and you teach them that you're not perfect as well. What that means is that when you make a mistake, you tell your child, I made a mistake. So something's haram for you. It's haram for me, if I'm doing it, and you tell your

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child, you know what, I did this thing, and it's actually haram for me as well. So I shouldn't be doing it. And if it comes to, you know, treatment, parents should learn to apologize to their kids, if they want their kids to do apologize to them. They have to that's a it's a learned behavior to learn that to humble because apology is about humbling yourself, right? Some parents have a very difficult time polishing, apologizing to their kids, like I'm the parent, I'm the mom, I'm the dad, why would I apologize to my child? And what the child learns is that if you apologize, you've taken a lesser position. And therefore some children have a difficult time they don't learn to apologize

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because they've never seen their parents apologize, or they've never seen, you know, let alone Subhanallah parent apologizing to a child. Some children have never seen their dad apologize to their mom.

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And that what are we teaching our kids Yanni that there's no human being who can say I've never had the need to apologize, anyone. What you're saying is, you're perfect. You've never made a mistake. You've never committed a sin. And you're an angel neck and we're not angels, right? That's not who we are. As human beings. We all commit sins. We all make mistakes and person who says I will never apologize, because I've never made a mistake. They're deluding themselves. They're delusional because that's not I mean, that's once again, it's a part of it is part of arrogance is actually one of the traits of the she have been that she upon. Allah gave him a chance to actually apologize and

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make Toba. Allah questioned him, why didn't you prostrate to them? Allah gave him a chance to repent. And he doubled down he became arrogant an Ironman I'm better than him. I've been created from fire, he's been created from clay and so on and so forth. That downward spiral that the ship on took it's a lesson for us, right as parents, specifically, that we don't want to become arrogant and

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take on that mentality with our children. Or if we want our children once again, anything you want. Golden Rule, anything you want from your children, you have to have in yourself, or you have to at least try to develop in yourself. And sometimes it can be a very honest and open discussion. Like you can tell your kids like, look, these movies, these types of movies are haram. I'm trying to quit them as well. Especially when it comes to teenagers and older kids, right? Because then it's a very it's a it's a, it should be an open discussion. It should be honest, open discussion. Teenagers are not taking anything from nobody. You're not fooling teenagers about anything. Right? They will call

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you out. And if they don't call you out, because they're afraid of you, they'll call you out in their head. In their head. They're thinking yeah, my mom told me this is haram, but my mom does it. My dad told me this is how but that does it. So you're not fooling we're not fooling teenagers, teenagers. So it's it creates a it opens the door for an honest and open discussion. We can tell our kids, you know what, I'm struggling with this as well. You know what I tell you, as a teenager, I tell you get off your phone, and I'm on my phone. I'm struggling with this as well, how do we help each other? Let's create an environment in the household where I'm spending less time on my phone,

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and you're spending less time on your phone as well. Right instead of instead of Subhanallah rationalizing and justifying our our own behavior. And then, you know, not giving our children that same leeway and saying, No, you have to do this. But But I don't have to do this. So once again, key point, take the journey with your kids. That's, that's one of the main issues. I think that's the if there's one takeaway from today's data, is that we cannot look at this as a set of rules. We have to look at this as a journey. And this is a journey that we want to take with our children. And I will reiterate this, I'll say it again, that allows us to grow with our children, sometimes our children

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can make us better Muslims and better human beings. Because through them, we give ourselves to be right. And that only happens when we're willing to humble ourselves and say if I'm giving my child this advice, I want also this advice for myself as well. And that's it's a blessing from Allah shadows is amazing. It's amazing. It's a blessing from Allah, that our children can make us better and better Muslims and better human beings because we care about them. And we know that we have to we have to up our game. And I know parents that have testified to this. And I know that I said before I had children, I didn't care about anything. But when I had children, I started thinking

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about okay, I'm responsible now for my kids. If I want my child to be like this, I have to be like this. And they found themselves becoming better Muslims, simply because the fact that they start educating themselves. When my child comes and says, How do we know Islam is the truth? What am I gonna say to them? Do I have an answer for them? Am I gonna say no, no, you just you have to believe in Islam.

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That's it. That's not an answer, right. So they have to educate themselves and through educating themselves about their faith about their Deen, they become became closer to Allah and they were able to pass that down to their kids. So that's the big the big issue here. Other than that, and this depends on on age, once again, it's important that we share in this responsibility, we have an open relationship. And that also means when it comes to like devices and things like that, you know, at a younger age, we should, especially at a younger age, we should have common areas in the house. So you know, we shouldn't hand them an iPad and say, and this I know a lot of parents understand this

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right? And go use it in your room or whatever. You want to use your iPad. Best best thing would be let's use it together, right? Oh, what are you watching? What are you doing? You're playing a game languish, tell me what this game is, you know, do that with them. And if you can do at least that they're using it in a common area. And,

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and being in that in that with them. So taking interest in what they're doing. And I know it's hard, it's not always easy. I look at some of the things that the my, my you know, my younger one is still young, right? My older child, some stuff that he's into, I'm really not into, and my instinct, my gut instinct to say like, Man, I don't care about this, like you're into this thing. Like I don't, I don't care about it. But you really got to force yourself like, Look, if you don't show interest in their interest, then how do you expect to guide them in terms of what's right and what's wrong. So sometimes we have to get out of our own, you know, likes and dislikes and think about our children

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speak to so not only So, so have these conversations with your children take that journey with them. So you can talk about stuff, you know, an ideal situation would be you're watching something together and something comes up. And then you can pause it or you can later on, you know, sit down with your child. So you know, today we were watching this, and this issue came up, what do you think about it? And you know, actually, our dean teaches us that this is wrong, and we shouldn't be like that. And, you know, even though, you know, this is found in a lot of TV shows today, this is found a lot of movies today, our faith teaches us that this is wrong. And I'm sure you know what I'm

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talking about, right?

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This isn't every media right now, everyone is saying this, but no, our faith teaches us to have that. Okay, why is it wrong? You know, having that discussion with our, with our kids having open conversations, along with that, I will add to that, so how to love is building a network with other parents. So our parents, our kids don't exist in a vacuum. Right? Their world is, is you know, also depending on the age, but at least, you know, once they start going to school, their world becomes bigger than than then than just us just the house. So we need to look at that world and say what is in that world? Well, their friends, and their friends come from a household, they come from a

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culture they come from, you know, if they go to Simon School, even if their parents, they're your friends or their friends or Muslim, they may have the in their household, their own rules. So network with other parents and say, Hey, how much screen time do you allow for your kids? Are your kids allowed to do this? Or are they allowed to do do this? Number one,

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you can you can have a, you can be on the same page. It's a united front. And that's the ideal situation where your child says, you know, and I'm sure a lot of parents, especially younger kids, you've heard your kids say this, why can I do this? My friend? I don't know, Hamza or you know, I below whoever I'm a or you know, Samia, she does it. Her parents say it's okay, why can I do it? And I know we say you know what doesn't matter what they say, I'm your parent. And that's okay, as well. We also need to teach our kids and not everyone is the same. We need to teach our kids that even within Islam, people have different opinions. That's just the reality of the world we live in. So

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maybe in their house, they think it's okay. But in our house, we don't think it's okay. Right? Or an art and even the other ways we've had Allah, some people will tell their kids, this is not okay. We don't have a problem with it. But we shouldn't be we should talk to our kids about look, we need to respect other people's rules, right? If in their household, they don't want to do I don't want you doing this with him. There's a particular game for example, I allowed my kid to play but his friend doesn't. Their parents have spoken to me. And they said, We don't allow our kids to play. We should have the respect to say to our kid, like look that his parents are don't allow him to play it. So

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don't don't play that game with him. Don't show it to him. Don't try to try to get him to play that game. So it works. works both ways. Rules are different. But ideally a united front is amazing when all the parents would get together and say look, this is what we do. Think about some Pamela just the idea something very simple. It's time for Salah and you need to you need to turn off your device and pray slaw and not you know and this is all first hand experience by the way, you know, so my child he may be on on you know, a device and playing with a friend and people play online games now not online games, and I don't I'm not cool with online games because it's just online is just so

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vague and just other people that I allow my child to play with other kids just them to not just random people

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So if they're playing with somebody, right, and obviously, I'm monitoring, and it's happening once again in the common room, and we've talked about this game before, all that other stuff that I talked about, and they're playing the game, the almost time for Salah, and then their parents says, yeah, it's time for Salah, you guys need to cut off, you need to now turn it off. It's a beautiful, you're teaching your kids. So it all takes priority, right and it's happened, I do it. My friend does it humbly. Now that's a that's a united united front. So, so, so teach. So that's, that's, you know, keeping that united networking with with our, with our, with our children's friends and their

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social circle and not just our own social social circle, we also need to teach our kids once again, as I said, not every household is the same. We have certain guidelines and rules in our household, we got to follow the rules, you have to have some basic rules in our household. These rules should be followed, right. So whether it's you know, for example, can be a time restriction, a day restriction. Some parents say like on the weekdays, no video games, no, whatever, only on the weekends, okay, that's our household rule. Another household, as I mentioned, the screen has to be in the common area, I have to be able to see your screen when you're on the screen. That's a rule.

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We have to follow the rules. Alright. And once again, when you take part in it as well, 100 of that, that reinforces that in terms of safety and security. Some ground rules that I think every parent should have is we never send you know, especially at a younger age, I'm not really talking about teens here and older, that's a different age, especially underneath the less than that. We never send pictures online. Right? Your friend says Send me a picture, whatever, we never share pictures. Online, we never trade pictures, we never send pictures. We never give out any personal information online like these are hard and fast rules, your address your phone number, your school, your

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whatever you want to talk about it you talk about in person, we don't talk about this online. Oh, I'm just talking to my friend on FaceTime or whatever. No, we that's information on on an electric electronic device. We do not share that information, name, passwords, logins, these are things we never ever, ever share. We never speak to someone online. These are rules we teach our kids we never speak to someone online that our parent doesn't know about. Right. So when knew that a parent hasn't met, they don't know about. We never speak to anyone like that online. We never agree to plans without our parents approval or without them knowing. Right? What happens is sometimes kids will

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have a lot agree to Hey, well, let's let's even have a young age. Let's go, let's let's go to the park this weekend. And they make a plan together without speaking to the parents and parents come and say no, no, we're not available this weekend. But we don't want to teach our kids that they have that ability to make plans because they may end up doing things. And it may end up teaching them that they're allowed to do things without their bed. I'm talking about a young agent without their parents approval. And this opens the door for you know, pet online predators and so on so forth, that that type of communication and making plans and has to involve the parents, we need to have

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that open door of communication I was speaking about earlier, anything that makes you uncomfortable, please come speak to me, I'm not gonna get mad. I'm not gonna get upset, I'm not gonna yell at you. If someone said something mean, someone showed you something that was weird. That was odd. Come tell me. And so we are we are a source of comfort we are as a shelter for our kids rather than a prison. And there's a difference, that we are a place of refuge, not a not a prison for them. So they're they're comfortable coming to us with those with those issues. In the teen years. And I know Subhan Allah, please, please forgive me. The honestly teenagers and social media online deserves a whole

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nother talk. But some advice that I will give here is that as people as children going into their teenage years, in the chat, it becomes more challenging. And that's a that's a reality that all parents need to accept that teenage years will be more challenging. Obviously, there's exceptions. But most teenagers, life becomes challenging, right parenting can become more challenging. Simply the fact that many parents will give their children a smartphone at at those teenage years. Once again, no judgment here. That's a call that each parent makes for themselves. Right. But when that happens, we need to be aware that the challenges also increase because now they have private access

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to a whole world that we may not be able to monitor like we were monitoring them at, you know, at a younger age. And also at in teenage years. There's a natural need for privacy, because to a teenage mind. Privacy means or a privacy means autonomy. autonomy means means that I'm I'm I am becoming an adult, I'm becoming my own person. I want my freedom. That's just that's just a teenage way, right? You want to be free. We need to we need to respect that in the sense that we need to allow for it to a certain degree so that we don't completely cut them off. We also want

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I give them a free rein and say, because you're a teenager, like go do whatever you want. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that there needs to be a balance too, because we need to understand that they do have the need now to be their own person. Right? So we cannot restrict them from everything. But open communication, right. And hopefully, the work we've put in before the teenage years, will pay off now and understand they are going to do things that are bad, right? It's just it's going to happen. But it's how they react, or they're going to be exposed to things that are bad, but it's how they react to what they're exposed to what they what they come across. So yes,

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we want to give them a certain level of autonomy, we need to give them a certain level of privacy, but not you know, say, Okay, it's just complete privacy, I'm never going to look at your phone or whatever, there needs to be some balance there. And, you know, there's no one clear answer to this, there's no one clear guideline, because every child is different. Every household is different, every tattoo idea that has been given to a child is different. So the way I have talked to my children's children growing up may be different than how you talk to your children growing up. So and even between children, this can happen. A parent may say, with this child of mine, there are

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more responsible. And so I can give them a little bit more. Like I trust them more a little bit, right? Because I know, you know that just because of how they are this one, you know, I'm a little bit more, I try to watch them a little bit more, because they haven't developed that level of maturity yet where I can fully say, okay, you know what, I trust them to make the right decision. Once again, not complete control, but the level of autonomy we give our children. But once again, just like with younger kids, hopefully, it's been happening with teenagers, that that conversation and discussion needs to continually take place. So what that we need to talk about what they're

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doing when you talk about the dangers of what they're doing the most. And this is key, as I said earlier, taking an active role in the lives of our children. And so when we see something, we talk about the dangers of it, we talk about the problems we talk about, you know, once again, certain things we don't we don't share with people, even at even at a teenage years, or whatever it may be.

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And I know I've kind of gone over my time here. So I'm gonna I'm going to come to an end Inshallah, the most important thing. Okay, so let's just say that the takeaway from today, if you haven't been paying attention so far, this is the time talk to your kids are rather I should say, talk with your kids speak with your kids, keep an open line of communication, so that they feel comfortable turning to you when problems occur, because, you know, depending on either three categories that I mentioned earlier, there is going to be a problem at some point, even if it's not, may Allah protect us, not cyber bullying, it's not on our predators, but coming across inappropriate content is going to

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happen. I'm telling you right now, and it's going to happen. We want them to be able to come to us when it happens. And we put our trust in Allah who's Panama data, and we remind ourselves that is Allah in control. Allahu Allah, Parliament.