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To not want our 4 year old to be watching the news

(129 Posts)
PaddlingUpstream Thu 08-Sep-16 19:27:41

DH cooking in the kitchen, with the evening news on TV, with DS on sofa staring at the TV. When I said I didn't think it was appropriate for DS to be watching the news, DH's response was 'but I'm trying to watch it', with lots of tutting, huffing and puffing and 'can't DS watch something in the other room'. Er, yes, but you're supposed to be looking after DS for 15 mins while I'm in the shower but regardless, it's not appropriate for DS to watch it so why are you ignoring the fact that he is watching it? This conversation is a regular occurrence. So MN jury, AIBU?

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Thu 08-Sep-16 19:29:33

I don't like mine watching the news. Selected highlights of things that will interest them...yes. Hearing horrible tales of war and

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 08-Sep-16 19:32:41

I'm a news addict, our dc have grown up with it. Anything before the watershed is acceptable afaic.


HandmaidsTail Thu 08-Sep-16 19:34:14

The news is pretty much always on round here, it's a bit 1984 Orwell.

I'd only turn it over if there was something distressing I.e Syria-related or similar. Then it would go back on.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 08-Sep-16 19:35:19

Of course he shouldn't be watching it. Does DH want to explain to him the footage of some horrible beheading or plane crash? How utterly selfish. DH can watch the news when DS is in bed. Put your foot down firmly.

ApocalypseSlough Thu 08-Sep-16 19:35:23

I've always had it in (radio) but ready to explain/ divert/ switch off. Was he doing that?

WellErrr Thu 08-Sep-16 19:44:55

The news is so fucking depressing I don't watch it myself, never mind my children.

Artandco Thu 08-Sep-16 19:48:04

No I woudnt be happy either. He news nowdays if far more gorey with stuff like bombings and casualties daily. Mine would be terrified if they saw it all. At their age I think just a basic version of what's happening in the world is enough

bakeoffcake Thu 08-Sep-16 19:49:24

Of course a 4 year old shouldn't be watching the news.

I've heard advice from child physiologists on the TV stating that young children should not be watching the news. I'll try to find a link.

JustMarriedBecca Thu 08-Sep-16 19:50:22

We have the news on. It's life. The fact is that there is famine and war in the world and if people weren't so shaded from it and didn't stick their head in the sand, there might be a more compassionate generation willing to do something to solve the fundamental problems.

wowbutter Thu 08-Sep-16 19:50:47

I can still remember my then tiny ds being watched by his grandparents and watching the news with them. He came home and cried and cried about the angry bus that had hurt people.

So no, no, I do not think yabu. The news is for adults, not children.

SparklesandBangs Thu 08-Sep-16 19:51:51

I always had the news on in the mornings so DC grew up used to it. I can't remember every turning it off, although they did spend time downstairs watching their programmes to.

Both now have a good grasp of current affairs etc. and are astonished that their friends don't, this was very noticeable during secondary school.

SparklesandBangs Thu 08-Sep-16 19:53:39

My DC were small for 9/11 and we were in the US and watched hours of news with them in the room.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 08-Sep-16 19:54:14

DD wouldn't be watching it. At 5 she's obsessed by death and I wouldn't want her seeing news items. However, we speak appropriate to her age, about homelessness, war, famine. She's doesn't need to see the pictures!

bakeoffcake Thu 08-Sep-16 19:54:56

"You're probably pretty careful not to let your kids watch very violent or frightening shows on TV. But a recent study found that children actually find the news far more terrifying than anything they'd see on a blood-and-guts drama like CSI. The researchers showed nearly 600 kids ages 8 to 12 disturbing TV content -- things like war images, people shooting at each other, house fires, and plane crashes -- then told them what they were watching was either a fictional "Hollywood show" or an actual news program. "We found that the children who thought they were seeing real events had significantly higher fright responses -- they showed a greater emotional reaction -- than those who believed they were watching a fictional show," says study coauthor Brad Bushman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and communication studies at the University of Michigan. And the effects, he adds, were lasting. The kids worried about the images they had seen -- that it might happen to them or their families -- long after the TV was turned off. "I think it's easy to underestimate how upsetting violent content can be to children -- partly because we're so used to it and also, perhaps, because we don't think young kids really understand or are paying attention to what they're seeing," says Bushman. "But it can cause a great deal of anxiety and problems like trouble sleeping"
From "Parenting" magazine. It is American but presume it would be the same for uk children.

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Thu 08-Sep-16 19:55:49

Wanting to protect small children from the horrors of the world is not sticking your head in the sand. There are age appropriate ways to explain what happens in the world, seeing images of pain and war and death is not necessary at their age. We can raise compassionate and caring children without that.

SolomanDaisy Thu 08-Sep-16 19:55:52

God no. My DS (5) has become quite distressed by random bits of news he's heard on the radio.

Believeitornot Thu 08-Sep-16 19:56:22


As a kid I was terrified watching the Iraqi war on the news. I used to look out of the window for fighter planes. I didn't think to ask mum wtf was going on and came to my own wild assumptions.

I can imagine my DCs would do that too.

News pre watershed isn't not appropriate for young kids.

AcrossthePond55 Thu 08-Sep-16 20:06:06

You know, DH and I were just talking about this. Our parents NEVER watched the news in front of us, probably until we were 12 or 13. Of course this was back in the early 60s so there weren't TVs in every room. And there were plenty of times that adult discussions were shut down if we entered the room.

We were saying that we think it gave us a much more secure and carefree childhood. We didn't really need to know about the Cuban Missile Crisis, race riots, child abductions, etc as children. We were told about the Kennedy Assassination of course, but I really can't think of any other huge news stories we were made aware of.

I think you are right. Children, especially young ones, should be sheltered. In retrospect, I wish we had sheltered ours a bit more than we did.

Lifeisontheup2 Thu 08-Sep-16 20:22:43

I listened to the news as far back as I can remember. No TV at home when I was a child. I remember being scared but it didn't do me any lasting harm.

HandmaidsTail Thu 08-Sep-16 20:27:45

I was just thinking: in the car this morning the US Sec of Defense was in Radio 4 talking about Syria and what he thinks needs to be done.

DD(6) then asked some questions about Syria, and Russia, and I told her about people leaving their homes to find peaceful lives, and that some of them live in our town.

That's the kind of thing I think is important, and it comes from knowing what's happening in the world. Plus they watch Newsround at school and get some awareness that way.

I do get that the news can be scary; I remember being scared during the first Gulf war as I didn't know it was far away, but IME if you talk about what's going on its a bit less mystifying and scary.

PaddlingUpstream Thu 08-Sep-16 20:34:57

DH wasn't keeping an eye on what was being shown on the news, so DS would have seen everything. I'm not trying to hide the reality of the world from DS but I do think there is an age appropriate way to talk about it without having to watch distressing footage just before bedtime.

I also think news footage 20/30 years ago was much less graphic than today (or maybe I just have a short memory).

pointythings Thu 08-Sep-16 20:43:20

We did watch the news with ours, but always had one of us with them to discuss, answer questions and yes, turn off any distressing footage. I think there is a balance to be struck here. Those of our DDs' friends who were brought up in the same way as ours are much more articulate, have thoughtful opinions on politics and world affair and are more able to think and question what goes on around them than those who were not exposed to news and current affair from early on. I do think there is merit in starting discussion of the world at large young, and the news is a useful tool to start that. However, a certain amount of censorship is necessary and I would never leave a 4yo watching the news unattended.

a7mints Thu 08-Sep-16 20:44:33

Don't terrestrial channels have a watershed? the evening news won't have any footage that is so distressing for children.
My Dc have always ssen the news- just be grateful he is watching the news and not living it like some other 4 year olds.

AnnieOnnieMouse Thu 08-Sep-16 20:47:04

News coverage years ago was far less graphic than these days, partly because things were filtered somewhat for the time of day, but mainly, i think, because it simply was not possible to get footage to the UK that quickly. I remember John Craven's newsround for children, again, carefully edited. The 6 o'clock news was safe, the 9 o'clock had more details, but even then it was more talking heads in a newsroom. My young children certainly did not see the TV news until they were about junior school age.
I think your DH is being lazy and selfish. I don't watch TV news, either, it's just too graphic and horrible. Knowing the facts are bad enough, I certainly don't need to see the awful footage. Words can go over a child's head, but the pictures go straight in, and can't be unseen.

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