BRINGING LIGHT TO YOUNG HEARTS AND MINDS
In the Middle East, a child who turns on the television may be exposed to violence, intolerance, or even radicalisation. In contrast, SAT-7’s children’s programs are a haven for young viewers. By teaching positive, Christ-centred values, these shows are helping ensure a better future for the region.
Children’s television can be a wonderful resource for good. But in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), some channels expose children to violence or harmful ideas – the last things they need to see, especially when conflict is also their everyday reality.
Young viewers at risk
At their worst, programs for all ages may portray stereotypes, normalise sexism, or even encourage hatred. The so-called Islamic State group has used its own television station to spread propaganda.
When children copy what they see on-screen, the results can be tragic. In 2013, a young boy in Afghanistan was killed when he and his friends tried to copy a violent scene from a popular Turkish drama series.
A safe place
Amid this darkness, SAT-7’s children’s programs bring the light of Jesus. A wide range of entertaining shows teach positive values such as forgiveness, tolerance, and respect.
The dedicated Arabic children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS broadcasts 24/7, while the Farsi- and Turkish-language channels also show children’s programs. The impact of this programming is shown by the many messages the channels receive from viewers of all backgrounds. For example, a girl in Iraq said:
“I love your channel so much! I am not a Christian, but I love Jesus and I learned to do good deeds from you.”
In some cases, SAT-7 may be the only place a child will hear positive messages about taboo issues. For example, City of Stars educates viewers about the issues faced by children with disabilities. Programs such as A Girl’s World, a SAT-7 PARS live show, support young girls to navigate the issues they face.
SAT-7 is also a safe place for children to ask questions and receive support. The new live program Chato, which invites Egyptian children to the studio to work through their issues via drama and counselling, was recently nominated for a prestigious international media award.
Growing in faith
For Christian children, SAT-7 is more than a safe option – it is a lifeline. Many struggle to find children’s resources in their own languages. A viewer in Oman wrote:
“We have no church and no Sunday School. We feel like we are the only Christian family in this country. Thank you, SAT-7 KIDS, for your programs. We memorise all the songs and learn biblical stories and Bible verses.”
SAT-7 KIDS provides children’s worship shows, such as A Riddle and a Story, which encourages viewers to guess the parable being portrayed in entertaining songs and reports.
Children can also learn from engaging biblical teaching. In With Zack (co-produced by Lighthouse Arab World Productions), a young presenter uses green-screen technology to bring the Bible to a digital generation. The Greatest Friend is a musical drama made by children, for children that tackles faith-related questions.
Transforming a generation
The impact of this programming can go beyond individual children. A more tolerant, peaceful future can be ushered in by transforming the next generation, one viewer at a time. A young girl from Lebanon wrote:
“I love SAT-7 KIDS programs so much! In the past, I couldn’t forgive people. But after I watched an episode about forgiveness, I decided to forgive. I pray daily to Jesus and ask Him to fill my heart with a forgiving spirit as He teaches us in the Bible.”