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Violence. Political fights. Natural disasters. Our daily headlines and breaking news seem to be a repeat of these topics, and they’re not slowing down anytime soon it seems. Now I won’t argue that these aren’t important subjects, and I certainly wouldn’t imply that I don’t care about them. I just know that it has become inappropriate for viewers under a certain age, at least in my home. This is why my kids don’t watch the news on television, and what we, as parents, do instead.
As adults, I believe it’s our responsibility to stay informed on what’s going on in the world. The news brings us updates on everything from health to technology to our government’s activities. All of this will affect us or someone we know. We take the information given to us and make decisions, some are critical and even urgent. This is part of adulthood, whether we enjoy it or not. But my children (currently 3 and 10), dear reader, are not their target audience. They are not emotionally mature to handle the drama and heartache. Kids can’t fully comprehend mental illness driven violence or terrorism (that’s challenging enough for most grown-ups). What happens in the world does not directly affect them, my response to the news does.
Keeping it Local
While I refuse to watch the world news in the presence of my children, we will tune in the local stations. The Twin Ports is not without problems, but they are minimal in comparison to other cities in the country. The stories, although often intense, are much briefer than the world news. This allows me to temporarily distract them with conversation until the next story airs. It’s also diluted with weather and local public events. In the event they do hear something I deem concerning, we move to open discussion.
Keeping it PG
If you interpret the above as me trying to shelter my children from reality, you’re mistaken. I can’t monitor what information they’re exposed to every second of every day, but I can do my best to turn current events into learning experiences. They can know what’s going on, but I’d rather be the one to break it down to a level they can understand. I give my oldest the opportunity to ask questions and share her concerns. We can then respond in a calm and constructive manner until everyone is satisfied. Do we leave things out? Sometimes. Have we told them not to worry about some things? Absolutely. My goal is to raise children who are aware, not anxious and terrified of the world. Of course, each child is different in what they can handle. We, as parents, have a duty to filter what media we allow in our home, for our benefit and theirs.
I hope explaining why my kids don’t watch the news gave you some food for thought if that’s what you’re looking for. How do you address this topic in your home? Do you have any other advice or tips for monitoring their exposure to negativity? Comment below or message me to discuss.