3 Tips on Protecting Children from the News
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
As parents, we invest so much time and energy in safeguarding our homes from dangers. From brackets and straps on furniture to locks on cabinets and plastic bumpers on corners, we sometimes forget that providing a safe home for our children also involves censoring the television.
Like most American families, I watched the news growing up at home. Looking back, I realize certain stories weren't appropriate. Learning about mass shootings or serial killers is hard for little brains' to comprehend. Even images of natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires) are highly provactive, making us feel unsafe and vulnerable.
And in an age where school shootings are all too common, it’s time we do more to shelter our children from violent news in the media.
Studies continue to find that children are at risk when exposed to media that shows acts of violence. Children are not developmentally capable of making sense of violence and shouldn't have to. Mr. Rogers said it best when taping a special episode for parents after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1968, "There is just so much that a very young child can take." They simply don’t have the means to process the visual images of senseless violence.
So, here are some tips to follow when you are watching the news:
1. Be vigilant of children in the room
Bottom line, parents need to keep supervising their children while in the comfort of their own home. Any news-related television viewing should be carefully monitored.
2. Use closed captioning
It’s important to not let the news take center stage in one’s home, especially with young children present. Watching the news on a lower setting or with the closed captioning on will prevent children from hearing the content that their young minds’ don’t have the ability to interpret.
3. View the news without children present
Even with newsbroadcasters warning viewers of graphic content so parents have a few seconds to change the channel, our current social and political climate makes viewing the news with children nearly impossible.
Adults have a hard time understanding senseless violence - imagine how hard it must be for children. With these steps, more parents can help their children develop without exposing them to information that young minds are not capable of processing.