These days millions of Iranian students are spending their summer vacation with a long spare time. Families must have supervision over their children’s free time to prevent them from drug abuse as a rising trend of addiction is gripping our society. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Islamic Propagation Organization, Baseej and other responsible cultural centers have established cultural institutes for the entertainment of students.
Social experts believe that if the youths’ spare time is filled with diversified pre-planned programs, it paves the way for flourishing of their talents and capabilities. At the same time, the young generation, particularly during the summer time, should be under the supervision of their families to avoid any deviations, including smoking or drug abuse.
Statistics show that of over one million Tehrani students, only 295,000 have pre-planned programs for their free time. In the meantime, 20,000 to 30,000 boys between the ages of 11 to 21, spend most of their free time in computer games. According to this figure, nationwide, students waste a total of 20 billion hours of their spare time during the summer vacation.
Free time mirrors the culture of a society
Sociologist and social researcher, Fatemeh Kabari, defines free time to be the moments in which we have enough time to plan our personal time as desired, and it is different according to an individual’s age, spirit, gender and financial situation.
Today, every moment of free time is so significant that some experts call it “the mirror of public culture.” Furthermore, the same experts believe that it is a criterion for evaluating the degree of development of a society.
University Professor Amanullah Qarai Moqaddam says that every occupation other than an individual’s profession, be it entertainment or even difficult work which is done voluntarily during one’s free time, is considered to be leisure time.
Moqaddam says that lack of facilities and mismanagement are among the drawbacks of proper leisure time for Iranian students, and most students lose their golden opportunity – which can develop their capabilities, form their characters, and avoid wasting their precious opportunities.
Opportunity or drug abuse threat
Spare time in the lives of youths can be either constructive or destructive. In other words, lack of pre-planned programs can create social ills while the youth tend toward committing crimes and resorting to drug abuse.
According to studies carried out in previous summers, in urban districts, particularly in a metropolis such as Tehran, the most prominent entertainment of the youth during this period is wandering about in the streets, entertainment centers and parks. Every moment, such a potential energetic force may create troublesome incidents in the society.
Planning and Welfare Expert Dr. Ali Saeidi says: “In recent years leisure time has been considered to be entertainment, while it is also grand opportunity for falling in the trap of drug abuse. In fact, in the recent past, casual drug users justified spending holidays by resorting to narcotics.
Our children are heavily engaged with electronic games which have isolated them. In their mass media, Westerners complain about the ever-increasing obesity in their communities and warn about the grave consequences of such games and the fact that isolated students may tend towards drug addiction.
In recent decades, welfare governments of the world have striven to focus on issues related to children; they are concentrating particularly on their kids’ leisure time along with cultural affairs.
According to widespread studies conducted in some European countries in recent years, whenever the people improved an appropriate leisure time, its positive outcome has been reflected in economic progress and an increase in life expectancy.
Audio-visual media gains momentum
Spending leisure time in dynamic mass media outlets has gained momentum in most countries of the world, particularly in audio-visual programs. People have shown a greater inclination towards radio and TV broadcasting rather than the written mass media such as books, newspapers and magazines.
Tehran University Professor Dr. Saeid Moeidfar sheds more light on the subject by expressing optimism that while education among Iranians has had a rising trend in recent years, the written mass media is popular among educated circles.
Sociologist Moeidfar says people’s tendency toward audio-visual media has increased among educated people in Iran, while only 20 percent of the people have demonstrated willingness to written mass media.
He says that these foreign audio-visual mass media outlets are detrimental for the youths; it will eventually lead to their alienation from society. Leisure time should create a constructive spirit, creativity, innovation and the flourishing of an individual’s talents. Otherwise, it could have a destructive role in the youths’ future, depriving them of joy.