Should I allow my child to have Facebook account?
Muhammad Ali Mumtaz, Richmond Majlis
As is the case with many a question, this one generates more questions than answers. Specifically, I believe this question to be irrelevant. It is like asking if I should allow my child to drive without a seat belt. I do not have the authority to allow my child to break the law. Hence, when the Khalifah of the time who is the Al-Hakam or Supreme Justice from Allah has prohibited us from having a social Facebook account, how can someone allow it?
The real question is how I, as a parent, can help my children with faith and education to follow this law. How do I monitor and enforce it? This subject needs to be understood in the context of all that is available to us in life. Huzoor has detailed four steps in religious training, namely:
As far as the ‘law’ is concerned, it is not for us to question the law. We can write to the lawmaker i.e. Huzoor, and request enlightenment. This he has already done in his sermon. So it is important to listen to it more than once and discuss it. It explains at length the reasoning and use of Facebook. As parent, it is important to listen to this discourse together with the family and then explain it further. An open discussion is helpful without being harsh. The monitoring and enforcement are the areas that are difficult. Reflection on one’s own morals—past and present—and reflecting upon the wisdom in the Promised Messiah’s (may peace be on him) writings are helpful. Occasional discussions, urging behavior conforming to the will of Allah, and exhorting children to pray to Allah for guidance are all important steps.
At the end of the day, I feel that the dirty truth is that we are unable to enforce such things in their entirety. We may disallow Facebook usage at home, but what about computers in schools, libraries, and at friends’ homes. There is some sense of helplessness and hopelessness in this endeavor. I personally feel that this is a special situation for prayer. Discussions at home without losing patience and clarity of expectations are important. But then when this is not enough it is worthy to reflect on ones relationship with the children and Allah, before any unusual methods are used to enforce compliance. Abuse, whether by words or behavior, should not be part of enforcements. More often than not we use these enforcement strategies as an emotional outlet for our own frustrations, rather than the child’s needs. If discipline really comes down to abuse, we have missed the point by light years.