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Misuse of Technology


Currently, there are many ways our society misuses technology today. From internet issues such as cyberbullying, copyright infringement, and cyberstalking to an over dependence on technology, whether it's watching too much TV or texting too much, our society has a strong relationship with technology. Technology misuse is also not limited to the home, but is found in businesses and schools as well. There different ways in which society misuses technology.


Technology isn't all bad. If it weren't for technology, we wouldn't have items such as MRI machines or other medical equipment that helps to save lives every day. However, there is a fine line between technology helping to facilitate our lives, making them easier and safer, and running our lives. Without this technology, businesses would be less efficient, doctors would need to wait longer for patient histories, and people wouldn't be able to connect with others all over the world.


However, this technology also creates a dependence with people who use it. Almost every college student is guilty of spending several hours procrastinating by watching TV or by browsing Facebook. There are many ways in which society misuses technology, but we think the most important is the over dependence on it. Seriously, could anyone image going an entire day without a cell phone or internet access? When I've done this, it's always made me more relaxed. However, it tends to stress out others because they can't reach me. [1]


Table of Contents


Islamic View

Every pleasure will be asked on that day, Allah said:  Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)! Quran Surah Takasur 102:8

But the problem today is that modern technology, e.g. the media, Internet, entertainment, etc., is being misused to promote the three negative cases mentioned: adultery, violence/murder, and apostasy. These are shown as being normal and acceptable for the sake of entertainment. The world today has made bad, unacceptable behavior and negative elements appear as good and vice versa.


These are serious challenges to the Muslim community today. We have to deal with these challenges very carefully, without forgetting the underlying principles behind this hadith. We have to determine how we can protect the Muslim community from violating these principles. The leaders and du’at of the communities have to determine how to counter or minimise the negative influences of the media, especially in areas like entertainment (TV, movies, etc). We have to study why the rates for things like divorce, adultery, violence and apostasy amongst Muslims are high. We have to revive the true roles of parentsdu’ats, teachers, and leaders of the community to solve these problems. We should especially be concerned about protecting the minds and akhlaq (values) of the youths.


There have been many researches and studies that show the negative influences of the media, especially television (e.g. like the book written by Prof Jerry Mander: Four Arguments to Eliminate Television, and the book written by Zig Ziglar: Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World). Studies have shown how television have made children become lazy, physically and mentally, how it affects their academic progress, how it can change their attitude, etc. We Muslims can benefit from these studies by learning from them so as not to allow our children to fall into the same pitfalls.


Many Muslims today are victims of mind-manipulation where misconceptions created by, for example, Western Orientalists and Christians have influenced their perception and attitude. This results in the Muslim being less careful about his Islam, living a double-standard life – looking at him from one angle, he looks like a Muslim but looking at him from another angle, he doesn’t seem to have the Muslim identity.


This leads to another problem which is the lack of the Muslim identity among the Muslims. There are Muslims today who are promoting non-Muslim identities or speaking highly of other cultures which in the Islamic view may have negative elements. We should maintain and promote our own identity. We can still benefit from progress of the West, e.g. technology advancement, but we should do so in a positive way, without jeopardising the image and values of Islam.


We need to hold more conferences or dialogues and discuss issues like how we can benefit from the positive aspects of technology/change/progress and how to avoid technology misuse. Muslim experts should present their views or propose ideas on how we can achieve this.


We need to discuss these issues which are the real challenges faced by the Muslim community today. We should not just talk about Islamic concepts without putting them in context with reality. We should not just talk about these issues theoretically, simply stating what the rulings on Islam are on this or that matter. We need to have an approach that goes deeper and considers the challenges and strategies we need to put in place in order to help the Muslim community to be positive, confident and proud of their Muslim identity. We need to help them so that they do not become trapped by the challenges they face today.


We need to create awareness among the Muslim community so that they are aware of their roles and responsibilities. We need to see how we can revive the original concepts of Islamic values and behavior in a way that will work today. [2]






The Internet is one of the most powerful dynamics shaping our social, intellectual, and moral spheres. This interconnected system of networks that joins computers around the world has emerged as a potent and intoxicating enabler of individual competency and knowledge. As a continuously evolving space, the Internet empowers individuals with immediate information and opportunities to collaborate, engage, and participate. Technology constructed from the utility and popularity of using the Internet has manufactured a transition from limited learning pathways to an assembly of multi-literacy’s in education. In business, the transition has been manufactured with effective tools for improving productivity and increasing operational efficiency. However, while advancement in technology is vesting a great deal of positive opportunity to individuals, it is simultaneously revealing a developing technological and social trend toward habitual or compulsive online behavior.


Most recently referred to as the 21st century Epedimic by author Melissa Healy from the LA Times, Internet Addiction can be explained as a psychological dependency resulting from habitual or compulsive Internet use. The condition, not yet recognized as a formal diagnosis, is reportedly responsible for, among other things, rearing a generation of impulsive individuals that is unable to concentrate – negatively impacting their education, work, and personal relationships. Technology abuse, on the other hand, is a widely recognized characterization that results in nearly the same life disruptions as addiction; interrupted sleep patterns and dislocated daily routines and relationships.


The authors of this resource see the confluence of technology use and abuse, technological and social trends, and vulnerable populations, as indicators of a fundamental change in educational opportunities and challenges. In particular, while the use and abuse of social networks, mobile technology, and gaming relate to activities across different areas of life, each of these technologies also shares an overwhelming potential to change the direction of pedagogical frameworks. While technology affords us the ability to change our definitions of the learning environment, understanding the characteristics of social trends and vulnerable societies will significantly benefit this pursuit.


Technological and Social Trends


Pursuits across diverse areas of our lives connect to technological and social trends resulting from our use of technology. Electronic and digital products now proliferate communication, education, medicine, fitness, finance, government, energy, child rearing, and transportation. Among others, these pursuits, whether formal, informal, personal, or professional, have all been impacted by the use of technology. While the user adapts to technology nearly as fast as it is improved, the gap between use and abuse becomes increasingly blurred. Researchers Raja Parasuraman and Victor Riley define technology Use as "the voluntary activation or disengagement of automation by human operators." They go on to define abuse as "the automation of functions by designers and implementation by managers without due regard for the consequences for human performance [and] the operator’s roles as by-products of the automation" (1997). As digital influence continues to increase, defining the difference between technology use and abuse will become more difficult.

IDG Knowledge Hubrecently reported significant trends involving mobile technology. First, the traditional cell phone is being replaced rapidly by the smartphones. Secondly, while the "smartphone market is expected to grow by 55% this year, the tablet market is expected grow substantially as two thirds of consumers are expected to make a tablet purchase by the end of this year" (2011). Significantly impacted by these trends, digital devices may replace traditional textbooks, and social media may be incorporated into more classrooms. "In a recent survey of 2,000 faculty, Pearson Foundation researchers found that 80% incorporate social media into their teaching practice: 40% utilize YouTube, 30% Facebook, and 21% blogging" (, 2011).


Vulnerable Populations – Spreading the tablet experience to much more than 20% ownership, sixty-seven percent of all tablet owners share their device with colleagues or family (IDG, 2011). This technological trend grants us with a new and far reaching educational landscape that embraces both sophisticated and vulnerable students. Since the use of technology is essential and nearly inescapable, protecting insatiably curious and eager to experiment learners is a serious concern in this age of information. Note the two-year study highlighted by Melissa Healy of the LA Times: "After tracking more than 2,000 middle schools across southern Taiwan, 10.8% of subjects could be classified as having an addiction to the Internet" (Healy, 2009). Moreover, male students and those engaging in online gaming platforms were more vulnerable. Interestingly, children with ADHD had the strongest association with Internet addicted behavior. "For boys, those with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and those who exhibited significant hostility were more likely to have a dysfunctional dependence on the Internet. For girls, having ADHD and hostility also heightened the risk of Internet addiction. Finally, girls with social phobias and those suffering depression were also at greater risk" (Healy, 2009).


Through the ensuing analysis of social media, mobile technology, and gaming, the educational opportunities and challenges of technology use and abuse are revealed. In order to establish, nurture and maintain the educational reform vision, we must also consider the direction of education, and the technological and social trends that will undoubtedly impact its heading… [3]


An Overview of Social Networking


Social Networks are Web-based servies that allow people to: Social networks not only allow people to meet and communicate with strangers, but they also let users organize and visible their social networks (Boyd, Ellison, "Social Network..").

According to Andy Carvin (2008), the act of social networking includes:

  • Podcasting
  • Folksonomies
  • Rating Tools
  • Vlogging
  • Geotagging
  • Aggregation
  • Discussions
  • Personas
  • Blogs
  • Tagging
  • Instant Messaging
  • Social Voting
  • RSS Feeds
  • Reviews
  • Wikis and much more!

History of Social Networking


 Even though social networks' popularity seems to begin in the late 90's, the Internet's earliest online communities did have major implications for education.

For example, USENET was established in 1979 and was a bulletin board system popular with universities. E-mail discussion lists were created in the 1970's and listers launched in 1986. EDTECH, WWWEDU, among others were popular in the education community. Al Rogers created FrEdMail, free education mail that was used at 12,000 schools. This system pioneered student-generated content such as student newswires. The International Education and Resource Network was originally developed in 1988 as a Cold War collaboration between schools in New York and Russia. However, the IEARN has grown into a network of 20,000 schools in over 115 countries that shares student- and teacher-created content and projects. Other more recent ones include Big Sky Telegraph and TappedIn.


The more recent social network sites are what we see developing in education curriculum today. Below is a timeline of major social network sites:

According to eBizMBA, the top 5 most popular social networking sites, based on unique monthly visits for July, 2011 are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Ning


Problematic Social Networking


Over-sharing and Cyber bullying


Over-sharing Fears- According to the Internet Safety Project, "Oversharing is willingly, but naively, posting information on the Internet that puts you or your family at risk" (Over-sharing). Over-sharing is a rising issue and was Webster's New World Dictionary word of the year for 2008 (Over-sharing).


While it would be common sense to think about the information before you decide to share it, social networking sites are actually set up to encourage the user to share as much as possible about themselves. "That's intentional: these sites succeed by increasing the activity within the network. Yes, there are privacy settings, to limit access to some data- but these settings are never the default. Only a tiny minority of users make the effort to opt out. Everyone else shares with the world" (Over-sharing: problems with social networking and privacy, 2010).

The rise in popularity of social networking has given online confidence to its users. However, that wasn't always the case. In the late 1990's. "many people didn't even use their real names on the Internet. Email addresses were usually aliases or nicknames in an attempt to retain as much privacy as possible" (Jordan, 2010). Where does this confidence come with the new Internet generation? "The premise is that everyone in your social circle not only wants to know but NEEDS to know when you are buying that tall frappuccino from @starbucks. That they need to know precisely where you are and what you are doing every minute of the day" (Jordan, 2010). This is how the phenomenon of over-sharing has developed, however, people don't realize the implications of this posted information.


Teenagers also have no problems posting too much information online making them vulnerable to predators. With adults, identity theft is prevalent because they are sharing their date of birth, children's names and date of birth, and other information such as work history.

"Concerns for Parents: Giving away too much information can put it at risk for identity theft.


Letting other Web users know that you'll be away from home puts you at risk for having your house broken into.


Children and teens who over-share may attract the attention of online predators.


Potential employers often look at person's social networking accounts, blogs, and so forth as they make hiring decisions. Posting inappropriate material online could hurt your professional information. [4]

How Can I Keep my Child Safe?

  • Edit the settings of your child's social networking accounts to make updates viewable only to friends and family.


  • Talk to your kids about what information should never be shared online, Things you and your kids shouldn't make public include full names, addresses, phone numbers, age, and financial information.


  • Practice what you preach: consider carefully what you choose to make public on your own social networking accounts. Adults over-share too, especially on blogs. If you do blog about your friends or family, make your blog private so that you can post pictures and include the names of your loves ones without worrying about privacy issues. Good blogging services like Blogger and WordPress allow you to make your blog visible only to specific friends and family members that you invite, and we encourage you to take advantage of this smart feature" (Over-sharing).

The most prominent and detrimental after effect of over-sharing is bullying.



  • One problem with social networking is that it can lead to cyber bullying, which affects students in and out of school.


  • Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 students are involved in bullying?
  • Did you know that while school violence as a whole is declining, bullying behaviors have increased by 5%?


  • Did you know that kids who are obese, gay or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children?


  • Did you know that last month alone, there were multiple suicide deaths as a result of bullying? (Maiers, 2010)

What is Cyber Bullying?


 Cyber bullying is a hard concept to define as more and more technology becomes available to children. Many people believe that only children can be involved in cyber bullying, but in fact a survey of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers showed that 17% of teachers had been cyber bullied . Teachers can be cyber bullied when students use technology to harass a teacher in some way.

Cyber bullying is also complicated because there is direct cyber bullying, which most of us think of when we think of cyber bullying, but there is also cyber bullying by proxy, or indirect cyber bullying. The proxy bullying involves using other people to help cyber bully a victim, sometimes without the accomplice actually knowing what they are doing. It essentially is getting someone else to do the dirty work in bullying. Cyber Bullying by proxy also can occur when someone hacks into a victim’s account of some type and uses it to send out inappropriate content to the victim’s friends and contacts.


What really distinguishes cyber bullying from “playful teasing” is the aggressive intent behind the bullying. But again what makes it complicated is intent can be in the eye of the beholder, and someone can always claim they “were just joking.” But a basic definition of cyber bullying is when someone bullys someone else through the use of technology. The cyber bullying exists on a continuum of severity. When the bullying is on the lesser end of the spectrum it is very hard to identify that it is bullying. But on the more extreme end cyber bullying has led to murder and suicide ( Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2008).


Types and Methods of Cyber Bullying –


Flaming- Flaming is a brief, heated exchange that happens between 2 or more people using some sort of communication technology. It usually happens in a public space like chat rooms or discussion groups, rather then in private discussions like emails.


Harassment- This is words, conduct, or actions being directed at a specific person with the intent to annoy, alarm, or cause emotional distress in that person. It is usually repeated messages or actions against one person.


Denigration- This is information about someone that is derogatory and untrue. Online it can be posted to a website, sent via email, or messaged to someone else. This also included sending or sharing photos of someone that portrays them in a sexual or harmful manner. Online “slam books” which are created in order to make fun of others are also forms of denigration.


Impersonation- This is when a person pretends to be another person, usually by using the victim’s password to gain access to their accounts. They then send communication to others that is usually cruel, negative, or inappropriate, posing at that person. In more extreme cases, impersonation has lead to someone giving out where a person lives to the wrong people, in order for them to be track down by said people.


Outing and Trickery- Outing is sharing personal, and sometimes embarassing, information with others who were not meant to learn that information. Trickery is tricking someone into revealing personal information, and then sharing that information with others.


Exclusion/Ostracism- Children, like most people, just want to be a part of a group and fit in with others. Being excluded can be seen as “social death”, and people can be excluded using online methods. The online exclusion could be being locked out of a password protected chat space, or just being de-friended on Facebook.


Cyber Stalking- This is stalking via the use of electronic communication using repetitive harassing and threatening communication.


Happy Slapping- This is a fairly new method of cyber bullying that has become popular in England. People, usually teens walk up and slap someone, while another person uses a phone or camera to record the incident. The video is then put on the internet for others to see, even though the victim may not be aware of it (Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2008).


10 Examples of Social Media Bullying for Parents to Watch Out For


  • Rumor spreading – Sending false rumors to your child’s friends or acquaintances is one form. Watch for postings where your child is refuting the claims of another, or questions from their friends that may not mention the rumor specifically, but simply say, ‘Is it true?’


  • Name calling – Watch for posts which place labels on your child or call them names. Your child may brush it off as ‘teasing’. Pay attention to their reactions to the messages. If it doesn’t make them laugh, then it is bullying.


  • Insulting messages – Messages that degrade your child in some way are another form of cyber bullying. It may be regarding the way they dress, a physical feature or some mistake they made.


  • Impersonation – Some bullies will go so far as to set up fake profiles pretending to be your child in order to get them in trouble or to make their friends mad at them.
  • Threats of harm – Open, bold threats of physical harm should never be ignored. Even if they are not actually carried out, the trauma that results from the anxiety and fear can be even more devastating.


  • Vulgar language – Cursing and other vulgar language sent to your child or posted on their wall can be another attempt to intimidate them.


  • Humiliation – Posting information about embarrassing incidents is one way bullies try to humiliate other kids. It could be in the form of words, photos or videos.


  • Group de-friending – Encouraging other kids to remove themselves from your child’s friends list on the social network is another way that cyber bullies try to intimidate kids.


  • Mocking – Most kids know how to make home videos and post them online. Making videos where your child is being mocked in some way, such as foolish impersonation, is another tactic of cyber bullies.


  • Intimidation of friends – Making fun of your child’s friends via the social network is another way that these bullies try to hurt your child. Other kids may withdraw their friendship to avoid the association with someone else who is being harassed, to avoid becoming a target themselves.

What Educators Can Do About Cyber Bullying


It is important that schools make cyber bulling a part of their bullying prevention programs, since a study of students has shown that 18% had been cyber bullied at least one in the last 2 months. In order to handle cyber bullying within a school, a school should:


Assess cyber bullying- Determine how much cyber bullying could be going on at the school.


Provide staff training on cyber bullying- This should involve training on "netiquette" and what cyber bullying entails.


Define cyber bullying- Make sure students, administrators, teachers, and other staff members are aware of cyber bullying and the effects of the bullying.

Define clear rules and policies about cyber bullying- Make sure there is a policy addressing this type of bullying in the student use of technology policy within a school or district.


Share resources with parents- Make sure to give parents information about cyber bullying, and give them a clear channel of communication in which to report cyber bullying.


Spend class time discussing cyber bullying-Teach students "etiquette", safe blogging, and how to monitor their online reputation
(Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2008)


What Parents Can Do About Cyber Bullying - When a child is being bullied on social media sites, they may exhibit the following signs

  • Child appears upset after being online.


  • Child appears upset after viewing a text message.


  • Child withdraws from social interaction with peers.


  • Possible drop in academic performance.


Child becomes visibly upset or withdrawn after being on the computer in general.
(Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2008).


Social Networking Addiction Symptoms


Social networking addiction is a behavioral addiction. Because social networking interaction can lead to elevation in moods, one may make the connection that social networking addiction is a disease. According to Rose, "the following are some of the most categorized symptoms of social networking addiction:

  • Your social networking activities cause you to neglect your obligations such as housework, school work, and work.


  • You hide the truth about how much time you're online.


  • You lose track of time when you're on sites like Twitter.


  • Your social networking activities have caused negative issues at work or school, yet you continue those activities.


  • Updating your Facebook status (how you're feeling) replaces 'talking it out' with friends or family.


  • You sleep less, and avoid sleep regardless of fatigue, too spend time on sites like Facebook.


  • Your discussions (offline) tend to include your posts, or the post of others, more than conversations about the other aspects of your life.


  • You have gnawing feelings of guilt and shame over the amount of networking use.


  • You become agitated or have mood swings when you're forced to spend periods of time away from social networks.


  • You devote increased thoughts to what activities are, or could be going on, on Friendster or Twitter when you are not on them.


  • You create an enhanced online personality-unrelated to your real person.


  • You increasingly share information or become apart of online activities and discussions you KNOW are dangerous.


  • You create an enhanced online personality-unrelated to your real person.


  • You lie about relationships or children to encourage more interaction online by other users.


  • You spend more time socializing online, and begin to avoid person to person interactions.


  • You prefer interactions on social networking sites over various intimacies with your partner.


  • You are too preoccupied with the posts of those you follow.


  • You begin to lie in order to add excitement to your Facebook and Twitter wall.


  • You define yourself, or feel inflated and deeply saddened, by the number of friends or followers you have collected.

Keep in mind that these symptoms may also be related to other situations that have nothing to do with social networking or addictions at all" (Rose, 2009).


Who's At Risk for Social Networking Addiction?


There are many types of people, including various ages, who are at risk for social networking addiction. They include:


  • The most obvious would be those with prior history of addiction.


  • Stay-at-home mothers or housewives who use social networking for adult interaction.


  • Teens due to adolescence and the natural pressure by peers.


  • Individuals with depression, anxiety disorders, or loneliness.


  • Individuals who see out social networking to develop a support system.


  • Individuals with physical social phobias but use social networking to continue a social scene. (Rose, 2009)


Keep Addiction in Check

 Even though social networking addiction studies have not occurred in-depth, many ways to help other addictions can help with social networking addiction as well. These include:

  • "Look for healthy outlets-create diverse choices and activities.


  • Replace the addictive behavior with one that causes the same stimulation in a healthy manner.


  • Look into behavior modification exercises.


  • Create a support system.


  • Create a system of steps to rid yourself of the addiction.


  • Seek professional help" (Rose, 2009).

Specific to social networking users, Social Times (Rajdash, 2010) has written precautions to "keep addiction in check, thus leaving more productive or fun time available for real-life activities." Those precautions include:


  • Focus. Limit the number of social networks you use to the most relevant to your life.


  • Cut your network. Don't feel obligated to become "friends" with others because they have requested you. Make sure the connection is real and will benefit you.


  • Use lists and filters. Both Twitter and Facebook offers list features, which if used correctly, let you quickly view information within that list that is relevant at that given moment. No need to read through everyone's information to find specifically what you are looking for.


  • Use a schedule. Don't leave social networking sites up on the computer or phone. Hide the apps. These tend to be a huge distraction. Schedule the use of your social media.


  • Set a timer. Try setting a timer to limit the amount of time spent on social networking sites. [5]


See also: Drug abuse; Child Abuse; Protection Evil eye. jinn. Magic; Health Guidelines; Alcohol and Tobacoo












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