As many of you may suspect, I have very mixed feelings on the topic of the news and children.
While I think watching the news can serve as an educational experience as far as civic type things go (Who is the VP? What's the capital of Arkansas?), I also am at somewhat of a loss as to how to explain some of the bad news that is broadcast.
Lets be realistic here. The bad news always outweighs the good. How exactly am I supposed to explain what "brutally raped and murdered" means to my 6 year old? Or what exactly a Level 3 sex offender is? Or why a person could do something so horrific like killing their own wife and child?
Being even more realistic here (at least in this house)... if Katherine asked me what "brutally raped and murdered" meant I could more than likely get away with saying something like, "Oh he was a really bad man who hurt someone and now he is going to go to jail." For anyone who knows my Emily, you know a little blurb like that just isn't going to cut it (this is the child who, when she was younger and my final answer after patiently answering in extreme detail the barrage of questions about say, why the sky is blue, used to be "because that's the way God made it and would say, "Well, why did God make it that way?). I'm sorry, I don't think she should know what it means to be raped (believe me she is more than well aware of what she needs to do if she feels uncomfortable with someone or if someone touches her inappropriately, but rape? I just don't think she needs to know the details yet).
I don't expect to have her (or any of my children) go through life with rose colored glasses either. I just don't find some of the discussions that would be necessary if I were to let them watch the news on any kind of regular basis to be beneficial in any way.
There are just some things that they don't need to know...at least not yet.
I grew up watching the news. It was always on during dinner. I don't think I am any worse off than I would be had I not watched it. There is something different about the news today though, at least in comparison from what I remember as a child.
I'm not going to be one of those people who says something to the effect of "the news has gotten worse" because it hasn't. The same shit that goes on today was going on "back when I was a kid." The only thing that I think may have changed is the focus of journalists today. It seems to me that the focus of almost every news report anywhere is the bad news.
I see the good, the bad and the ugly, just like everyone else.
Am I the only one who finds the human interest stories just as (if not more so) entertaining as the bad stories?
Basically, if the news happens to be on (which in reality, isn't all that often around here...I read most news online), and the kids are around, they watch it. If I hear something that I don't want them to hear, I immediately change the channel.
New question (in connection with the last): What are your general feelings on kids and TV? How much is too much? What should they watch? Does sitting in front of the TV really cause children to develop ADHD or Obesity?