By: Ashur Sada
As if Assyrians didn’t have enough distractions, you can now add spending hours and hours on Facebook to the list. We already
had Turkish soap operas on satellite dishes to make even the most active of Assyrian mothers and wives into very immobile, lazy and stationary creatures, glued to the TV for hours-or to a computer-watching non-stop Turkish soap operas. Ask any Assyrian or Middle Eastern female about the name ‘Mohanad’ and they will tell you everything about him before you are even done asking the question. For the record, he is a blonde, blue-eyed Turkish actor whom ladies find very handsome and attractive.
And while Assyrian ladies are busy watching Turkish soap operas and non-stop Arabic songs and movies on satellite dishes, Assyrian men are busy at coffee shops and other places of socialization, wasting even more time. In other words, both have enough time-wasting activities to ensure not much is left for useful and educational things (i.e reading, house work, volunteering, working secondary jobs, working out etc.)
Then came Facebook…
As if things weren’t already bad enough, we then had Facebook to worry about (in addition to the other already time-wasting online activities, including Paltalk, Youtube etc.) But when Facebook came, the number of hours in a day for Assyrians remained fixed at 24 and didn’t increase. So Assyrian parents and even younger generations now had to prioritize. How do you divide your day between watching Arabic and Turkish soap operas, be able to go to coffee shops and be on Facebook for hours? And if you were unfortunate enough to have a job, you had even less hours to do all of these. Here are some examples:
-Wake up at 12 PM
-Go online till 1 PM
-Start watching the dish till 6 PM
-Go to your local coffee shop to socialize and waste more time
-Be home by 9 PM and go online to waste more time on Facebook, Youtube etc.
-Wake up at 8 AM and go to work
-Come back home at 5 PM and spend some time online, but not much, because you have to go out
-Spend your early evening at the local coffee shop to socialize
-Come home and go on Facebook for hours until it is time to sleep
Now to be fair, some have become creative and started multitasking to be able to enjoy as many of these activities at once, without missing a beat. For example, some can now be found at their local coffee shop, with a mobile phone glued to their hand, so they can be connected to Facebook while being with their friends drinking coffee and socializing. While others have either installed a TV in their rooms or bought a laptop/table to be able to be on Facebook while watching satellite TV. And there are some who have ingeniously combined all three activities. This last group is to be commended for their time and multitasking creativity!
Seriously, is there a middle ground? there is nothing wrong with doing any of these activities, or even all 3 together. But it is all about moderation. Do we have enough time left for family, kids, reading, studying, working around the house, working a second job, learning something new, working out etc.? Think about the time people-not just Assyrians-are wasting on Facebook. It is mind-boggling. Hours that can easily be spent on something much more advantageous. If we were to assume that Assyrian Facebook/Cafe/Dish addicts are spending and average of 3-5 hours on these activities everyday, that is a lot of wasted time that could have been spent doing something much more useful. That is enough time to make a good secondary income from a PT job, finish a course in a few weeks or even volunteer doing something at a local charity or church. And if all of that is not possible, how about doing some reading, even if that reading is done online. Given all the vast and free information at our fingertips, it is a crime for us not to make use of it. And even if you are going to spend time on Youtube for example, you can find thousands upon thousands of tutorial and educational videos, from which you can learn a lot. Wasting time while learning and gaining nothing is simply stupid.
This post may have a few generalizations, exaggeration and assumptions but the message is clear: Facebook, as useful as it may be at times, is wasting valuable time from us. Time that could be spent doing other more productive things. Our world is moving at a very rapid pace and competition is fiercer and more global than ever before. We need to do our best to be ready for what is to come and ensure we have an even better generation coming up. Put down the remote and mouse and grab a book instead. Even if for just 15 minutes!