Everywhere we go there’s some sort of screen around us. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, TV or computer, there’s always something that attracts children’s attention. While it is a great way to keep the kids distracted, have you ever considered just how much impact the media has on Egyptian children?
Ever since Madraset el Moshaghbeen aired in 1973, seeing how fun it was for the students on TV played by Adel Imam, Ahmed Zaki, Younes Shalaby, Saeed Saleh and Hassan Mustafa to disrespect their teacher and play numerous tricks on her, the atmosphere in Egyptian classrooms was altered. These iconic figures who were treated as idols by many teens changed the way students treated and respected teachers. They also made it seem cool to play pranks on them, all thanks to how funny it seemed in the play. While many Egyptian kids nowadays do not watch the plays of our generation, it makes us wonder what messages today’s media is sending and how it affects Egyptian children.
Impact of Songs on Egyptian Children
Egyptian kids are not only exposed but fascinated by Mohamed Ramadan songs. Everywhere you go, you’ll find his songs playing in the streets and kids of all ages singing along to lyrics that are not only completely inappropriate and vulgar but also has an impact on the behaviors of children who want to replicate him.
They see him smoking and having an aggressive attitude, which kids tend to translate as being cool. You find them singing along and dancing to his songs when the lyrics are unspeakable and definitely not age-appropriate. When a song like Mafia has lyrics such as ya ghabey di magatsh, children of all ages start to use the same language and act in the careless way he portrays by not giving a damn about other people.
Ramadan’s lyrics disregard many values that parents try to teach their kids which is evident in the song, Akwa kart Fi Masr when he signifies in the phrase El Baka2 lil Akwa that only the strongest people prevail, instead of the values Egyptian parents try to teach their kids.
Another song that has a bad influence on children and portrays contradicting lessons to what parents try to teach their kids is Cairokee’s El Sekka Shemal fi Shemal. The entire song not only makes them use inappropriate phrases such as Takhod akbar khazo2, or Khadna agda3 afa but also sends the message that doing things the right way will be an absolute waste of time. Is that really the values you want to teach your children? Let’s not even get into the rest of the song, because it’s full of language that you really don’t want your kids to hear.
Unfortunately, these songs are extremely catchy and spread like a virus. You find them being played everywhere, being sung by kids of all ages, which means that even if you don’t play it at home, the kids will still pick it up somewhere and be affected by it.
On the other hand, artists such as Hamza Namera also make beautiful songs such as Ensan which teaches kids to be human in the true sense. Being compassionate, caring and loving and is a great representation of the kind of Egyptian media that kids should be influenced by. He also has another song, Balady ya Balady which also teaches them loyalty and patriotism towards their country.
Impact of advertisements on Egyptian Children
When it comes to Egyptian advertisements, many children tend to pick up phrases or attitudes that have a negative impact on their behavior or their overall attitude. The advertisement by Cottonil still has everyone using the phrase Halla halla 3al Fanela which when said by a 4-year-old in an attitude trying to channel the true Egyptian inside him, isn’t exactly a sight for sore eyes. These phrases might be catchy and great marketing techniques for adults, but unfortunately, kids tend to pick them up too.
Another advertisement that also had a negative impact on Egyptian kids was the Vodafone advertisement Sha7na w Shabra2a with Okka w Ortega and Ahmed Shiba using language such as shabra2a ba2a, which the younger generation tend to pick up.
However, there are others that actually have a positive impact on kids and go out of their way to teach kids how to become better versions of themselves, how to be compassionate or to believe in themselves. Bank Masr’s advertisement featuring Mahmoud El Essily‘s song Enta te2dar tries to increase Egyptian Children’s self-confidence and motivate them.
Impact of Movies and Series on Egyptian Children
Unfortunately, every Egyptian movie and series either portrays thugs, violence, sexual scenes or even inappropriate language and because at some point you end up watching them, kids are always exposed to negative parts of the media.
One of the series that kids were very fond of was Nelly w Sherihan, where Salwa Khattab played a character that was known for rad7 and speaking in a format that kids found it funny to imitate, but in reality, it was insulting to the lower class people as well as not kid-friendly at all.
There’s also a very popular mini-series that a lot of mothers like to watch called Yawmeyat Zawga Mafrusa, where Dalia El Behairy plays pranks on her kids and tries to act humorous by threatening to punish kids with boiling water.
So what can you do as a mother to prevent the media from having a negative effect on your kids?
- Limit and monitor screen time to useful content.
- Watch interesting shows as a family when the kids are around. You’ll be surprised how amazing, entertaining, enjoyable and useful programs on National Geographic, Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel are.
- Allow them to use screen time to search for topics they question. Whether it’s understanding where the moon comes from or why they can’t pick their nose, the internet is full of interesting, age-appropriate videos.
- Always put advertisements on TV on mute. While you can’t help it when your kids come across phrases or songs outside your household, you can start limiting their access to things you don’t want them to get influenced by at home.
- Don’t laugh when your kid acts like a thug or says something inappropriate.