Almost every child who has TV at home or smart devices with parents ends up watch cartoons and animated content. Parents also to get some space make their even toddlers sit in front of Smart TV and turn on YouTube Kids where children can remain busy.
Unfortunately it’s a misunderstanding that all animated movie, cartoon films are made for kids only which means the children ethics and the Go’s and No Go’s for kids have been considered. It is a fact that children easily accept animated, cartoon content because of their level of immaturity which orients them more towards imaginary world than reality. Children will not get impressed by live movies unless they have an element of imaginary story, high degree of fun and action inside (imaginary).
Animated movies are only targeted towards kids though not stands true as many 3D movies are made for adults now but Kids due to their immaturity are easy targets for this type of content and globally still majority of content produced in animation, cartoon are meant for children. Since you have a media which is directly targeted towards Children and there is a highest degree of acceptability in Children for this media, this becomes an easy means of adulteration and an easy way of tuning the minds of children towards a liberal way of thinking, which is problematic for us Muslims.
There are many forms of adulteration in cartoons like orientation towards alcohol, violence, anti-values, morality adulteration, liberalism, anti-faith, Islamophobia etc. as well. Some are generic issues like violence, drugs, extreme profanity to which even non-Muslims object hence concept of Safe for Kids has come up. But with the growing culture of sex and lust, only aggressive form of such content gets objection. If a cartoon is present a love relationship, hearts flying with lust emotions and even gentle kissing across genders is not considered objectionable.
For us Muslims this is a problem. Our God has created our Children as innocent and pure, and exposure to any form of illicit content can corrupt their spirituality, thus their religious orientation and character building. It is a common saying and is true that you become what you see.
In Islam male, female relationship is highly controlled. Islam does not allow male, female relationship between unacquainted beings (Na Mahram). Islam takes the route of organized post marital relationship and not lustful pre-marital relationship of romance. Even in implicit form this kind of content in cartoons, animations develop an orientation towards romance, normalization of pre-marital boyfriend girlfriend type relationships which has high impact on the spiritual development of child and would eventually lead towards many problems like pre puberty and its associated effects.
Apart from this violence, world dominance by technology and supernatural beings takes them away from realities of life and specifically away from divinity. Many cartoons today are made to develop self- liberation in children from parenting.
As you can see almost 44% parents say that their children have become stubborn, addictive and lazy. There are 20% polling that their children are misbehaving with parents due to impact of certain cartoon titles and series.
The same parents when questioned about the threat 80% consider it to be true and 27% consider this to be some really serious
To protect our generation we need to come up with a solution
Apart from this there is also another need, when Children are glued to TV and cartoons, we need to use this medium for the development of values and manners in children. And above all orienting their thinking and heart towards our creator. The cartoons and animations which they watch even if some titles might not be destructive but still they are not constructive from Islamic essence. At the same time there is some work done to produce pure Islamic content but that does not stand in competition to the destructive content as only education without fun for children does not keep them interested.
Based on our survey when 80% realize these threats they need a solution. An easy say out is to turn off your Tele and not allow your kids to watch cartoons. Specifically now with pandemic threats outside, how much exposure can you give children to remain outside and then also safeguarding issues. So what are children going to do at home?
One path which many follow is to develop a false feeling that minor ethical issues in cartoons are acceptable. Some parents do some hard research and find out those cartoons which are suitable but unethical content does not show up in every episode. A kids cartoon about a rail engine was kids favorite since three decades, but few years back they started to show the same engine travelling to India and getting into romance. A good series of cartoon will suddenly end up showing same gender parents in one episode. So can the parents sit and watch every episode before they release it to their children?
There are certain websites like www.naazir.net that provides a good guideline on various cartoons if they are safe from Islamic perspective or not. This will help parents to avoid such titles but when 90% series become unsafe, then what could be the solution.
In a nutshell the solution is not to take children away from content but give them a safe alternative. People living in West and Non-Muslim countries when they migrated decades before there was no Halal meat. So did they stop eat meat or they went ahead to do their Halal slaughtering and today a complete parallel Halal economy is running in Western countries. When we can provide Halal food in places where there were no signs of Halal, so why can’t we provide Halal content as an alternative. Our survey proves that parents are in dire need of such alternative
As you can see, that 61% parents only want a Halal alternative and rest also want to prefer Halal content.
Hence this is the solution and direction in which we have to go. We cannot purify a corrupted system by taking bits and pieces out of it. We have to change the entire system and come out with our own system where our children are in safe hands. This means we need an alternative media which is rich in quality content attractive, educative, and fun for children orienting their minds towards divinity and hearts towards spirituality whereby in a soft subliminal manner the deep love of creator gets instilled inside their hearts and children from a very early age tread on the journey of human perfection. This is Hooratv all about. Our slogan “Freedom from Immorality” is a fact on which we work really hard to ensure only moral, ethical content is provided to our generations securing, safeguarding their faith and divinity.
Hooratv had a roller coaster ride to reach where it stands today. It all started few years back when our founder member felt this need as media was ramping up aggressively with YouTube, Netflix and Amazon accelerating. He started this journey by educating people on the problem. There was a high degree of acceptance and majority of parents realized that they have been ignorant about the devastating effects these cartoons can have on their children. So there was a need which was apparent.
Now was the time to work on a solution of Alternative Media. We believed that being Muslims we should have an upper hand and not just try to find ways to patch up things to our interest from what others have done. Hence, we should create our own product and platform as Halal Alternative media for kids. There were few major challenges:
- From where do we get content which would be competitive
- This is not something small, so how will we arrange funds
- How will we make this reach the Muslim world without much marketing costs
To resolve the first challenge, we embarked on a journey to approach some Muslim content providers globally. Though initially it was highly disappointing but after few months we got success some agreed to provide us the content for which we would dub in English and Urdu language. We started to gather the contents from such sources and we realized that we have more than 30,000 minutes of real good content with us. This was a big motivation that we have solved part of this challenge.
We decided to initially start with Urdu content generation as that costs less and the audience is almost 500 million. We also had to develop a Video on demand app and have a good CDN network, as we cannot use YouTube for that would beat the entire purpose of providing a full alternative media.
All this had a big cost attached and this is where it was a big roadblock. Our founder member prepared presentations, self-sustenance revenue plans and went across Middle-East, Pakistan and India to talk to some Muslim entrepreneur’s but seems like there was no one with the pain to invest in this. We even offered 100% revenue in future to the investor as we only want to do this for pleasure of Allah. It was nearly a 250,000 $ investment and we were across the desk with millionaires but it was disappointing. A stage came when some of our members decided to walk out from this project since community is not willing to invest anything, why we should we be so concerned. But our founder member did not lose hope and started to get some injecting funds to get the ball rolling. It still remains a secret from where he was getting the funds, but when questioned the answer was Allah made the arrangement.
The software development started and in parallel content preparation and voice over started. We decided to start with limited content and launch considering budget. But after launch we realized that the competing world is too rich and we need to accelerate, which means more funding. Now we are running with three teams who are doing voice over, dubbing, editing, compiling and one team producing own content.
Hooratv went live on Play store and in 3 months without any marketing budget in hand, just by word of mouth we managed to get 12000 installs on our App. People were appreciating that this is what we need but we need more and variants started to come in like we need to Smart TV, we need on Tablet so more work on Software was required and is ongoing.
We have reached so far to prove ourselves that we can do this when there is determination and sincerity. Now the community should come forward as well and join this caravan. We can together save our generations at least from one source of evil which our children encounter every day.
We have just taken a few steps to develop hope in our concerned parents that we can protect our generation and make their lifestyle a Quranic one of Taqwa , that is secure, protected life moving towards creator. There is a long way to go.
We now have to voice over our content in English. We are going on a 24 x 7 Live TV on Internet. We have to develop some specific content. We are bringing academic content as well.
English language dubbed content.
International accent and British accent
Academic lessons on Science, Math, History, Geography etc in Animation.
Any content adapted from elsewhere would be cleaned for anything unethical or non suitable for children
. RECITATION (Practice, Tutoring)
. STORIES, LESSONS
Learning from programs for understanding Islamic texts.
Arabic, Persian, Urdu
History of Prophet, Societies, Civilizations.
Taking Lessons from History.
All in Animated, Graphical short lessons.
Academic understanding of Islamic principles, fundamentals and concepts
Kids generate their own content.
Engagement and excitement for all kids.
Moderated and Regulated (addiction and prevention).
Competitions with prizes.
Activities , Workshop.
Digital and Printing Data.
Physical activities guidelines.
Closed group communities of parents for
- Discussing challenges with upbringing of children
- Best practices
- Sharing useful resources
Games which develop talents, skills