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Urbanization, modernization changing people’s lifestyles

Technology affects the youth greatly

By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: With the growth of urbanization and modernization, people’s lifestyles have changed significantly. The way people work, eat and spend their free time has changed, which has an impact on how they observe Ramadan. Kuwait Times spoke with Dr Jamil Al-Marri, Sociologist and Family Consultant, who noted that with the widespread use of technology, people can now easily connect with loved ones and communities, regardless of physical location, which has allowed people to stay in touch and participate in events virtually.

“Although technology helps people to communicate with those abroad, it has also contributed to reducing distances between people in the same country. In the past, there was no phone to send Ramadan blessings, so people used to congratulate each other in person, but nowadays they click once to send a message to everyone,” he said. “What distinguishes Kuwaiti society is that diwaniyas are still the same and have not been affected by technology. Men still go to diwaniyas daily during the month of Ramadan.

However, technology has had a bad influence, as families have gotten far apart, even at the iftar table, which was characterized by closeness and respect for food and the elders of the family,” Marri said. “Today’s youth stay all night up using the phone, and when it is time to break the fast, they refuse to get up and join the family, preferring not to sit at the table despite the presence of all family members, from the eldest to the youngest,” he said, noting that technology has contributed to the absence of young people from family gatherings and even religious duties like tahajjud (nightly prayers) in the last 10 days, reading the Holy Quran or performing obligatory prayers,” he added.

KUWAIT: Photo shows an aerial view of the landmark Kuwait Towers and the cape of Kuwait City overlooking the Gulf waters.

Dr Marri indicated that technology has greatly affected the youth, with the age of the affected group being 25 and lower. “If young people sit at the iftar table, they are only physically present, as in reality, they are preoccupied with the phone and are not present either visually or auditorily, which harms not only their family cohesion, but also the health of their digestive system, as studies have proven that the presence of phones in the presence of food is an unhealthy habit because it makes the person consume more and chew faster,” he pointed out.

Dr Marri stressed technology is a fact parents are forced to bear, but they should use technology for their own benefits too. “I send messages to my children and grandchildren before iftar, with my desire that we all be at the same table away from the presence of phones,” he said. In the event of a lack of response, he said parents must find an alternative, but away from violence and comparison between children who are preferable.

They should rather use encouragement and indirect words that encourage motivation. “We must teach our children the etiquette of food, and how to discipline the soul before the month of Ramadan. We need an Islamic culture where science does not contradict religion. There is no need for fear in guiding children, but guidance should be in private and not in public for better results,” he stressed.

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