Today’s Teens: Reflections of a Muslim Teenager

Written by: Diba Shojaei

Published on: February 25th, 2019

Many adults have realized a dramatic lifestyle changes among our teenagers. Having passed the past few years in high school, I have had a firsthand experience of watching how those teenagers around me form into the molds of modern society, each taking the abnormal and re-defining it as their normal. These days, immodesty, arrogance and immorality are admired and encouraged, corrupting the lives and characters of teens like a plague. The question, which is rarely asked, is: how have teenagers been changed into this unethical creature?

The best answer I can give is simply by what they are most involved with, that is the media ranging from radio, TV and social networking websites to music, magazines and books. The strong presence of media in our everyday lives leads to the emergence of passive forms of entertainment and exposure to improper role models representing the Western culture. What this does is to plant the seed of change within the minds of teenagers, causing them to question their virtue and identity. To make matters worse, the transformation takes place within school under the influence of friends, classmates and teachers. This change allows profane language, unchaste clothing and impolite behavior to strive a teen’s complexion.

This is evident from what Statistics Canada published recently showing that one in ten 15- to 17-year-olds smoked in 2011 which means members of this age group, on average, smoked their first whole cigarette at the age of 16 and started smoking regularly at 18 years of age[1]. According to the 1998/1999 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, 42% of 12- to 15-year-olds reported that they had consumed at least one drink of alcohol and by age 15, this proportion rose to 66%[2]. It is not reasonable to think these numbers have gone up rather quickly since the year of this report. In 2012, 70% of the Canadian youth admitted to drinking[3]. These statistics reflect what teenagers are involved with and what kind of tragedy is basically taking place within each school. However, there are many other things that simply cannot be measured or do not receive proper attention mostly because they are considered acceptable behavior in this country. Examples are teen parties, unlawful relationships, concerts and, generally, the very core behavior of our teens.

Where has the admiration for goodness gone? What has happened to a teen’s choice of role models?

Most adults in their teen days looked up to prophets, scientists, their parents, and those of humble characters. Teens now admire singers, actors, celebrities and those of great wealth. They keep getting exposed to the how of living a corrupt and unprincipled lifestyle by every organized source possible. This does not sound surprising given that on a global level, Western media seem to be re-creating the concept of humanity, criticizing the rights and wrongs defined in different cultures, undermining the teachings of Abrahamic religions and re-writing history.

As a practicing Muslim teenager, I find it quite a challenge to live my life the way I want. It is difficult for me to find like-minded friends at school who genuinely care about their well-being and pay attention to the dynamics of their surroundings rather than occupying their minds with celebrities and fashion. I believe what threatens the perseverance of most Muslim teens is a lack of appropriate, yet fun, entertainment. In many cases, the problem is not where to go have fun; rather, it is who to go with.

It is not a matter of having friends with a proper cultural background or religious belief; it is mostly a matter of spending time with those that have a sense of humanity and an active conscience. Many forms of entertainment are available but most contain inappropriate content, such as movies, TV Shows, books and video games. Left with no other choices, Muslim teens often decide to engage in regular forms of entertainments but, at the same time, try to censor out the improper aspects, if possible.

Most people believe that the path for every teenager, Muslim or non-Muslim, is to either go with the flow or stay alone. But I strongly believe that Muslim teens do not need to make such a choice as there is a great solution in front of them: They can form a Muslim teenage group within their community so that they can find great like-minded friends, think through and practice the teachings of Islam and, with the of help of adult mentors, lead their lives the way they like.





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