Is Watching the News Good for Kids? What Parents Should Know

Understanding the world and what’s going on is an important part of being a good global citizen. Through the trials and triumphs of others, our families can learn to be more empathetic, compassionate, and aware of how we can help others. When it comes to the news, many parents have a lot of fears about the impact it may have on their kids. As a parent, you may be concerned about things like, “Can watching the news cause depression?” or “Is the news bad for kids?” 

In our digital world, kids are constantly bombarded with headlines and stories of all kinds. Teaching kids media smarts during breaking news situations can help them learn to decipher what is true and what is not. When news stories are fake, inflammatory, or traumatizing, parents everywhere ask themselves, “How do you explain news to a child?” The first thing to do is to make sure you understand what questions your child has and what emotions they are feeling because of what they see or hear. This creates a safe environment for you and your child to discuss topics that are more serious. When you take the time to listen to where your child is coming from, you’ll be surprised at what they have to say. 

There are times your child might pick up on the news when you’re not around. While exploring and learning on their own is important, you as a parent should do what you can to help your child consume age appropriate news. Familiarizing yourself with the parent portal on your child’s Troomi phone can help give you some ideas of what you want your child to have access to, whether on their phone or on another device. 

It can be an exhilarating and inspiring experience for kids to try to understand the news and the world around them. You can help them learn to decipher the news through a variety of activities. To start, learning about history through museums and non-fiction books can be an exciting way to find out about what has happened in the past. Take the time with your kids to talk about the big news events in your lifetime and how they impacted the world. When you talk through what has happened in the past it can help kids determine how to deal with things that are happening in the news now. 

Which brings us to the debate, is watching the news good for kids? Or is it bad for them? In this case it all depends. You might ask why the news is bad for kids? Well, an example of a negative is how the nightly news is typically made with adults in mind which means there are mature topics and words used that might ignite fear in kids. But! It’s important for your kids to understand that they don’t have to fear what is going on in the world. So, how do you teach a child to read the news? Instead of letting your kids sit down in front of the nightly news, find a reputable source like TIME for Kids which can help improve their reading skills, while giving them access to news stories that are age appropriate. 

Taking the time to help your kids understand what’s going on in the world will help them to be good global citizens and more compassionate individuals. With you by their side, your kids can become well informed in an age appropriate way and learn to decipher what is real news or what is fake news in an ever changing world.