N may only be 5, but he likes watching the news. Not the children’s news, Newsround. But, proper news programmes. Usually the BBC because that’s what the OH watches when he’s back in the evenings. And occasionally our local news if it’s on.
The news isn’t something that’s particularly enjoyable to watch at the moment, and I’m not sure it’s really suitable for a 5 year old. With very little positive news to report, it could portray a terrible view of the world and traumatise children.
The OH doesn’t see it as a problem. But then, he’ll also let N sit and watch gun slinging westerns with him, or war movies if he’s channel flicking. I find both boring, and again I’m not sure that getting N used to watching violent (however old fashioned and unrealistic they look) films. I’d certainly not be letting him watch the violent movies of today.
But N seems to find the news interesting.
In a way I can see It’s beneficial. It makes him think about the world and the bad things that are happening, and can recognise that those aren’t acceptable and make him more accepting of the people outside of our little corner. I think a lot of the questions that crop up for him, have been prompted by hearing something on the car radio or on the news. He’s asked about Syria, has asked about children from other countries (he has children in his class who don’t go to assembly or take part in the nativity play), and was checking on pictures of ‘that silly man Trump’.
But asking around other parents, some don’t watch the news themselves due to the depressing nature of it. And many more don’t let their children watch the news – even those older than N.
My mum used to censor certain tv programmes when we were children. We weren’t allowed to watch Grange Hill because of the delinquent and disrespectful nature of the many of the children on it and Eastenders wasn’t deemed suitable for children (I totally agree). But we did watch the news when we were interested, because it was important to know what was going on in the world.
N does dip in and out – he’s usually distracted playing at the same time – so he’ll pick up on the things that pique his interest. But I don’t want him to grow up thinking all the bad goings on are the norm. Because there are positive stories, they’re just harder to come by.
On the other side to the news, he does however catch the start of the more frivolous and fun One Show. From this he’s been really interested in the teens doing the Children in Need rickshaw challenge and we’ve then been talking about why we fund raise and where the money goes. This is the positive side of television that I want to balance out the news with, and hopefully he’ll grow up knowing that there are good people in the world as well as the disasters and violence.
If you’re not sure about watching the news with your kids, then here’s some tips on watching the news with different ages.
Do your children watch the news? Or do they find out from more child oriented methods?