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.

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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.

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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?

 

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19 Comments

  1. I’m in the ‘I don’t even watch it myself’ camp. I find it better to regulate what I see/read by choosing to read news websites every so often and I can stop or choose not to read about certain things.

    I have no issue with my kids watching it though, we all loved newsround when we had TV (don’t have a licence now) but if they were extra sensitive I might have thought different.

    • Newsround is great for kids – in language for them as well. Hopefully letting them watch that would prevent so many questions I can’t answer!

  2. I don’t see the news as anything to worry about. My oh would have the news on constantly if it was up to him. It is teaching our children about what is happening in the world and I personally feel that it is something that they should know. We have the news on all the time and I will explain what is happening to Leo. I think it is important to know what is happening around us and I will continue to have the news on in our house 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

  3. When I was back in the UK the background sound at breakfast was Radio 4 Today Programme which can be pretty hard hitting. I think if you can explain issues in an age appropriate way then there’s no problem. I don’t believe we should shelter our kids in some perfect cotton candy utopia. My kids are adopted and I have already have had some tough conversations with them on a number of issues – so news – no sweat! #SharingtheBlogLove

    • I agree with you. They ask questions and I’m all for informing them the truth. I do worry about him being desensitised towards things, but hopefully we explain in an approporiate way

  4. Kimberly - Media Mummy

    This is a really tough one and we’ve had a lot of conversations about it recently – our 3yo keeps saying ‘Did that man die Mummy?’ when there’s a close-up photo on the news eeeek.

    But breakfast time is normally my only time to catch up on the headlines and I don’t think it’s always a bad thing for small people to be around grown-up programming in the right context. Just tricky explaining war over Weetabix :-0

    Glad it’s not just me though!

    #SharingtheBlogLove

  5. I don’t see that much of a problem with the news, I think it’s educational and helps teach children about real world events and problems. I remember growing up and watching the news, I always found it interesting and I think I learnt a lot #SharingatheBlogLove

  6. This is a tough one. My six year old was all keen to watch the US political debates last month and I thought, sure. But then the topic swung to abortion and I thought… shit, quick, where’s the remote??? Just not ready to have those kind of conversations yet!! #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. I think a lot of it depends on the child. My daughter is quite sensitive and can be quite upset by, for example, certain Disney films. With those, we have the luxury of saying “It’s OK, it’s just a film. It isn’t real.” I don’t know what we do if she actually saw the news and understood that this was actually happening.

    I think there is a lot to be said for being honest with children and talking about what is going on in the world (e.g. we saw a homeless person the other day and she asked me about it), but I’d rather do it on my own terms rather than from a TV programme aimed at adults. #SharingTheBlogLove

  8. I wasn’t interested in the news until I got older but I don’t think I would stop my children watching it if they wanted to. I do censor some of what they watch because I want it to be educational or at least something that shows kindness towards others. I do agree that things like Eastenders aren’t suitable but I would like my girls to know what is happening in the world. Of course I want to protect them but I think it is important, the world is a depressing place sometimes but hiding from it won’t make it go away.
    #SharingtheBlogLove

  9. I think my wife and I will be really split on this when Little Bear is old enough. She doesn’t like seeing depressing things on the news and wouldn’t want to expose him to it, but I always feel it’s important to be informed. There might be more child friendly news programmes worth watching. I know the BBC use to do one. #SharingtheBlogLove

  10. I love this because it’s decision I also find really hard. We too have struggled about whether to let our daughter watch the news. On the one hand she has an insatiable desire for information, on the other she worries about so much already. It’s a fine line to tread at times.

  11. Mine don’t but the older two do read “First News” which is a great paper for children which includes national and international news. Thanks for linking to #sharewithme

    • That looks like a really nice paper for kids – I’ve seen it advertised.

  12. Susie at This Is Me Now

    I don’t think I’ll be letting my daughter watch the news until she’s older. I have no experience at the moment as she’s still a toddler but my gut feeling is it could scare/worry her. Maybe I will go down the route of telling her about important things and maybe looking at things like Newsround. I don’t remember at what age I started watching the news but I trained to be a journalist so was really into current affairs as a teenage. I’ll probably just ask my mum for advice, just like I do about everything! #sharingtheBlogLove

  13. My girls are too young at the moment, but I guess there will come a time when they will start to become more aware of the world they live in and that sadly not everything is rosy. I think its important they have a varied view of the world and know about things that are going on. But, I would like to be in control on how this positioned to them. What worries me about the news, is you don’t know what is going to be shown or what pictures might suddenly appear. Programmes like Newsround are a good option, but also by us parents talking and sharing with them too. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  14. Obviously this isn’t an issue for me at the moment (if you try and watch anything other than CBeebies it doesn’t go down well), but my gut feel is that I don’t think I would let my children watch the adult news until they were fairly old. I just find that most of the stories are such depressing watching, and often disturbing, that I don’t feel it’s something I’d encourage. I don’t tend to watch the news myself these days (although that’s more to do with bedtime and then me being in bed myself by 10pm!). It’s an interesting one though, I think it entirely depends on the child – if they’re interested and if they wanted to watch it, then I’d have to think again. It’s definitely good to have a knowledge of the wider world outside our little bubble, but I think until they’re older then something like Newsround probably handles that in an age appropriate way. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove – you’ve given me some good food for thought!

    • How old are they? When will you let them? Not even newsround (is that still even on?)

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