explaining news to kids
I woke up this morning clutching desperately for something that would stem the sinus drainage that I developed in the middle of the night, jotted down a shopping list for more nose-related sundries, and opened up my window into the world to find this enticing article on how to explan the news to our kids.
I’m still trying to find the best ways to explain the news to grown adults but the idea of tender and vulnerable minds watching what gets put on the telly is intriguing. (WGN offers up a logo that suggests its eager to put more violent garbage in front of you, to say nothing of the other pablum and lies that abound in that medium.) My own thoughts and reactions will follow, but here’s the article:
Explaining the News to Our Kids
Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media
Fri Aug 8, 4:45 PM UTC
Kids get their news from many sources—and they’re not always correct. How to talk about the news—and listen, too.
Shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, end-of-the-world predictions—even local news reports of missing kids and area shootings—all of this can be upsetting news even for adults, much less kids. In our 24/7 news world, it’s become nearly impossible to shield kids from distressing current events.
Today, kids get news from everywhere. This constant stream of information shows up in sharable videos, posts, blogs, feeds, and alerts. And since much of this content comes from sites that are designed for adult audiences, what your kids see, hear, or read might not always be age appropriate. Making things even more challenging is the fact that many kids are getting this information directly on their phones and laptops. Often parents aren’t around to immediately help their children make sense of horrendous situations.
The bottom line is that young kids simply don’t have the ability to understand news events in context, much less know whether or not a source of information is credible. And while older teens are better able to understand current events, even they face challenges when it comes to sifting fact from opinion—or misinformation.
No matter how old your kid is, threatening or upsetting news can affect them emotionally. Many can feel worried, frightened, angry — even guilty. And these anxious feelings can last long after the news event is over. So what can you do as a parent to help your kids deal with all of this information?
TIPS FOR ALL KIDS
Reassure your children that they’re safe. Tell your kids that even though a story is getting a lot of attention, it was just one event and was most likely a very rare occurrence. And remember that your kids will look to the way you handle your reactions to determine their own approach. If you stay calm and considered, they will, too.
TIPS FOR KIDS UNDER 7
Keep the news away. Turn off the TV and radio news at the top of the hour and half hour. Read the newspaper out of range of young eyes that can be frightened by the pictures. Preschool children don’t need to see or hear about something that will only scare them silly, especially because they can easily confuse facts with fantasies or fears.
At this age, kids are most concerned with your safety and separation from you. They’ll also respond strongly to pictures of other young children in jeopardy. Try not to minimize or discount their concerns and fears, but reassure them by explaining all the protective measures that exist to keep them safe. If you’re flying somewhere with them, explain that extra security is a good thing
TIPS FOR KIDS 8-12
Carefully consider your child’s maturity and temperament.Many kids can handle a discussion of threatening events, but if your children tend toward the sensitive side, be sure to keep them away from the TV news; repetitive images and stories can make dangers appear greater, more prevalent, and closer to home.
At this age, many kids will see the morality of events in stark black-and-white terms and are in the process of developing their moral beliefs. You may have to explain the basics of prejudice, bias, and civil and religious strife. But be careful about making generalizations, since kids will take what you say to the bank. This is a good time to ask them what they know, since they’ll probably have gotten their information from friends, and you may have to correct facts.
You might explain that even news programs compete for viewers, which sometimes affects content decisions. If you let your kids use the Internet, go online with them. Some of the pictures posted are simply grisly. Monitor where your kids are going, and set your URLs to open to non-news-based portals.
TIPS FOR TEENS
Check in. Since, in many instances, teens will have absorbed the news independently of you, talking with them can offer great insights into their developing politics and their senses of justice and morality. It will also give you the opportunity to throw your own insights into the mix (just don’t dismiss theirs, since that will shut down the conversation immediately).
Many teens will feel passionately about events and may even personalize them if someone they know has been directly affected. They’ll also probably be aware that their own lives could be impacted by terrorist tactics. Try to address their concerns without dismissing or minimizing them. If you disagree with media portrayals, explain why so that your teens can separate the mediums through which they absorb news from the messages conveyed.
Additional resources: For more information on how to talk to your kids about a recent tragedy please visit the National Association of School Psychologists or the American Psychological Association.
© 2014 Common Sense Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Here’s my alternative approach:
Turn off the TV and tell the kids to go out and play.
Turn off the TV and read a good book to them.
Take them to a museum, or on a hike.
If they whine and carry on, get them invested in reading, community and after-school ventures in creativity, drama, the arts, photography, athletics, the worlds of science, technology and math.
When they get old enough to understand:
Explain the concept of media concentration (see notes 1 and 2).
Explain what propaganda is (see notes 3, 4 and especially 5), as well as this book. Explain something about the history of Bernaysian thought and application; a trip to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays will probably suffice for openers, especially if you get the connection between “Torches of Freedom” and the incidence of lung cancer.
Explain the rudimentary concepts of perception management (see notes 6, 7, 8 and 9).
When you feel the child is ready (probably at least deep into high school), you can consider introducing them to information warfare (note 10), and then venture as you dare into the topics of thought control, psychological warfare, mind control and mind wars.
Tell them all about Operation Mockingbird (notes 11, 12, 13 and 14), the law that approves domestic propaganda (note 15), and how the CIA circulated a memo that set out the idea of a “conspiracy theory” for the first time (note 16) right after they killed the President of the United States and before they killed the leading candidate for peace and reform emerging from out of the Presidential primary process.
Explain the relationship of news to entertainment and vice versa (notes 17, 18 and 19), how the movies and TV shows aid perception, the role of the CIA in Hollywood (notes 20, 21 and 22), the links between Zionism and Hollywood (notes 23, 24 and 25), the links between Zionism and terrorism (notes 26, 27, 28 and 29), Operation Gladio (notes 30, 31, 32 and 33), and the silent sound technology built in to HDTV (notes 34 and 35 ) and the surveillance tools built in to smart TV’s (notes 36, 37 and 38 ).
Give them a short primer in the emergence of a secret, centuries-long plan starting in an obscure group in Bavaria called Perfectibilists into a secret exclusive fraternity at Yale that since the 1830’s has placed in control virtually every major large-group society, publishing venture or non-governmental organization under the control of people whose allegiance seems sworn to Luciferianism, including the American Psychology Association. You can read all about it for free with a 14-day trial at Scribd.
Finally, after securing your child to a board and holding them upside down under a faucet, ask them if they have done their homework. [Refresh their memory about the use of the term “hot and cold running images”.]
Then explain the ties between the American Psychological Association and the use of torture in American prisons (see notes 39, 40 and 41) and ask them if they want that organization to provide tips on how they should watch TV and understand the news.
2) http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1118&context=aulr [“Media Concentration: A Case of Power, Ego, and Greed Confronting Our Sensibilities”]
19) https://www.princeton.edu/~mprior/Prior2005.News%20v%20Entertainment.AJPS.pdf [“… greater media choice makes it easier for people to find their preferred content. People who like news take advantage of abundant political information to become more knowledgeable and more likely to turn out. In contrast, people who prefer entertainment abandon the news and become less likely to learn about politics….”]
22) http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/jencia [The CIA in Hollywood: How The Agency Shapes Film and Television]
28) http://rense.com/general21/pastzionist.htm [Don’t expect any Hollywood films highlighting any of these massacres committed by Jewish-Zionist terrorists, notably by the Zionist Hagana, Irgun and Stern Gang groups.]
source of image:
Suggested reading to put the emphasis back on the proper development of your child as a sentient intelligent creative and empathetic being:
Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child, Laurel Schmidt, Three Rivers Press, New York 2001. [If you want a pearl, you have to put a grain of sand in the shell.]
Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All In Your Head, Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., Great Ocean Publishers, Arlington, VA 1995. [The author is a nationally-recognized neuropsychologist and educator. This is a fascinating, very readable and
important book on neuroscience, educational kinesiology and the brain/body connection as it affects us in learning, in performance, at work, and in society. It explains several basic BrainGym exercises, very simple techniques anyone can use to enhance their lives in innumerable ways.]
Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1999. [The primary tools are observing, imaging, abstracting, recognizing patterns, forming patterns, analogizing, body thinking, empathizing and dimensional thinking; the integrative tools are modeling,
playing, transforming and synthesizing.]
The Everyday Work of Art: How Artistic Experience Can Transform Your Life, Eric Booth, Sourcebooks, Napierville, Illinois 1997.
How To Be, Do, or Have Anything: A Practical Guide to Creative Empowerment, Laurence G. Boldt, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA 2001.
Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work, Mihaly Csikszentmthalyi and Barbara Schnieder, Basic Books, New York, 2000.
One Kid at a Time: Big Lessons from a Small School, Eliot Levine, Teachers College Press, New York, 2002.
Schools With Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers, edited by Linda Lantieri, Beacon Press, 2001.
Deep Play, Diane Ackerman, Random House, New York, 1999.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, M. Csikszentmihalyi, Harper & Row, New York, 1990.
Reclaiming Our Children: A Healing Plan for a Nation in Crisis, Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Perseus Books, Cambridge, MA 2000.
Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity, Julia Cameron, Tarcher/Putnam 2002. [A follow-up to The Artists’ Way, this book is about rediscovering our senses of origin, proportion, perspective, adventure, personal territory, boundaries, momentum, discernment, resiliency, camaraderie, authenticity and dignity. Her list of recommended reading is remarkable.]
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Jerry Mander, William Morrow Paperbacks, 1977. [“TV stops the critical processes of the brain.”]