This morning I spoke with my friend Dr. Bill Maier on Faith Radio. He brought up the violence in the news with the police-involved shootings, rioting, and gunman shooting people in malls. It’s overwhelming bad and fearful news – especially for children. He asked about the impact of watching this kind of news on kids and what our family does.
You may be wondering the same thing.
How should you present the news to your kids? Should they watch TV news to get a feel for what is happening in the world or should you shield them?
Our family has made the decision not to watch TV news on a regular basis. Think about what gets on the news. Violence. Theft. Murders. Indiscretions.
These images and most of the information presented are not beneficial to your life (or your children’s lives). I don’t think TV news before bedtime helps you to sleep one iota better. It just gets you all worked up before catching your zzz’s.
I don’t think watching TV news is wise after a day at work or school. Is this really how you want to rejuvenate yourself and relax?
We prefer to get our news through talk radio or the Wall Street Journal newspaper. When something inappropriate for kids comes up on the radio or a photo in the paper is too violent, we simply turn down the volume or cut out the photo.
Dr. Maier remembered after 9/11 the many phone counseling calls he had with children who were afraid that the airplanes were going to crash into their school. After the great tsunami in Indonesia, he recalled talking with kids from Kansas because they were afraid big waves were going to flood their hometowns.
It’s hard for children to decipher what they see on the news and separate themselves from the danger.
Let’s use a metaphor about crossing the street.
With our younger children, we hold their hands and cross the street together. We wouldn’t dream of letting them cross a busy intersection alone. As our kids get older, we allow them to cross because they know what to do.
The same principle can be used in judging what our kids should watch in the news. When they are young (I’d say under 10), we shield. We protect. We look at what is being viewed and if it’s not appropriate, we turn our kids away.
As our kids turn into teens, they can better understand what is happening. They know they won’t be hit with a tsunami if they live in Kansas.
I believe it’s important to talk with your children as they grow up about important and significant current events.
But much of what is on TV news today is sensational and unhealthy for the soul.
Be mindful of what your kids are watching on TV news and help them. You may be able to prevent many worries and nightmares simply by turning the television off.
How do you handle TV news in your family?