When I was a kid, we got 3 channels on TV. If the TV was on at 5:00pm, the news was on. That was the only choice! In the morning before school: News. On sick days or over summer vacation, noon news broke up the daily soap operas.
My mom was a news fiend! You could hear the news in our house more than you could hear conversation.
How thrilled I was, as an adult, when I could afford cable TV! I could turn on the TV at any hour of the day or night and find something to watch BESIDES news. I have goosebumps just writing about it!!
Just as sitcoms have changed and become blatantly sexual and vulgar, the news has changed as well. As a kid, I would hear stories every once in a while about a horrible death, but there was NO shocking video. Today, our tiresome news media travels FAR and WIDE in search of the most disturbing stories possible.
I was listening to the radio the other day when they took 90 seconds of my drive time to break away from the relaxing music and “update me on important events going on around the world.” Then they proceeded to inform me that a man accidentally impaled himself on some large garden shears and lived to tell about it. They went into GRAPHIC detail describing which part of the tool went into which part of his body. It WASN’T a local story. It WASN’T about a hero who rescued him. It was simply to gross me out!! This was a few weeks ago and I’m still having dry heaves.
It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that our children are effected by these stories as well. I have a 10-year-old client who is desperately afraid to be alone in any room of her house. She is convinced that someone is going to break in.
Come to find out, her mom watches the news every morning and evening. This kid is being inundated by gross and terrifying stories of gloom. It’s no wonder she is afraid! She sees it so often, it seems like these things are happening all around her.
So, what to do if we want to be current-event-saavy? I’m sure you can provide ideas. Here are a few of mine…
1. Get your news in writing: Subscribe to the newspaper. Read the news headlines on Yahoo. Read your local newspaper on the internet. Login to CNN.com or NBC.com or any news.com.
2. Watch news videos online with your kids. This allows you to select the news items that are significant to you and your family and allows your kids to learn and be aware of important issues in a kid-friendly manner.
3. If you’re a glutton for punishment and NEED your fix of blood and guts that only television can provide, watch the news after the kids are ASLEEP. Not simply after they’re in bed, but after they’ve drifted off to a world full of cotton candy and puppies. Besides the tantalizing freedom of watching shows OTHER THAN news, the plethora of channels available to us today allows us to watch news at any time of the day or night. Yeah for all you news junkies!
Let’s let the news in our children’s worlds be about the good things going on, or the interesting things. There are lots of good stories out there. How about stories about people pitching in to help the flood victims in Virginia? A school bans makeup and mirrors to combat vanity. This could make for good discussion.
It’s not all bad news out there! Let’s give our kids the good news!