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At what age is it OK to let a child watch the news.

(13 Posts)
Niecie Sun 29-Jul-07 14:24:53

I had never really thought about this before but a few weeks ago my DS1 who has just turned 7, made a comment on the way home about 'the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown'. My friend was surprised he knew such a thing as her DD who is the same age had no idea politics or world events. I said that we had had a conversation about there being a new PM after he saw something on the news and it turned out that she didn't ever watch the news when they were about.

I am now wondering if I should have been doing the same. Tbh I don't get to watch the news with them very much anyway as they prefer to watch other things, and it has also been my experience that most of the time they tune out completely as soon as they hear the opening music. But they do notice sometimes and we ususally talk about it and explain things to them as best we can. Am I completely wrong about this?

Niecie Sun 29-Jul-07 14:26:29

'... she didn't ever watch the news when they were about' - by 'they' I meant her children.

RosaLuxembourg Sun 29-Jul-07 14:28:55

Mine watch Newsround on CBBC. I watch with them if I can - sometimes I'm cooking. I find Newsround really well done, but they do cover stories that might need a bit of explaining so I like to watch with them. Certainly I think it is important for a seven year old to know what is going on in the world - and they should be able to name the Prime Minister - well done to your DS1.

morningpaper Sun 29-Jul-07 14:31:44

I don't watch the news with mine about but she is only 4

I watch Newsround with her occasionally but only if I can watch it with her

We do discuss important things like elections and the recent floods

Genearlly though I don't want her watching the news because of all the 'bad' stuff

winestein Sun 29-Jul-07 14:34:30

I always watched the news when I was little. My mum and dad always watched it twice a day, therefore so did I if I was around.

I see no reason to specifically NOT let a child watch it. I was watching the news in the days of Peter Sutcliffe being in our area, when we were advised by the police to keep all the windows closed at night. Not scary - just news!

roisin Sun 29-Jul-07 14:39:28

My dss (8 and 10) used to watch Newsround daily, but less so now. We also discuss current affairs and politics a lot, and they also get and read First News every week.

I would still not be entirely happy about ds1 seeing an uncensored adult news programme, but I think in a year or two I will be. I think it's important to watch the news with them, and be prepared to discuss anything they don't understand, or anything they might worry or fret about.

beansprout Sun 29-Jul-07 14:44:44

Er, 2?

Ds on seeing Gordon Brown - "primeminnisser - he's my friend mummy"

Niecie Sun 29-Jul-07 16:29:22

At least I am not totally alone on this.

I tend to think they become interested things they have some understanding of already and it is my job to build on that with them. Like most of you have said I wouldn't let them watch without me being around but I think it is important that they know what is going on in the rest of the world. They need to appreciate their place in it and also how relatively lucky they are.

I think my friend's reasoning for not letting her dc watch is that her eldest daughter is a very bright little girl and would ask difficult questions when she might not be ready for the answers. For example, the current paedophile case of Chris Langham. However, I don't think that you need to spell out exactly what it means and could get away with saying something like he is a bad man who hurts children. I would think it is unlikely that my children would even take much notice of a story like that on the news. They tend to be drawn to things with bigger visual impact such as the recent floods or a plane crash. People walking in and out of a courthouse wouldn't make them listen.

Like winestein I watched the news when I was little and don't remember being particularly traumatised by it. Newround is a good start though - I remember when that first started and how it made sense of things. Maybe I should make a bigger effort to watch that with them on a regular basis rather than the haphazard watching we do at the moment.

beansprout - ahh, the innocence of the young.

winestein Sun 29-Jul-07 18:29:23

I totally agree with your view on this Niecie, but in particular "They need to appreciate their place in it and also how relatively lucky they are"

To be honest, I don't actually remember the news when I was as young as most on this thread, but it being ever-present did engender my interest from an early age.
I was early teens when I start to remember details of the news. Of many things, I vividly remember the miners strikes and the reporting on the news on TV and followed it with fascination - I would have been 13-14

I honestly don't think it is a bad thing to let kids watch the news

rarrie Mon 30-Jul-07 21:46:39

I watch the 6pm news, therefore so does my 3.7 year old daughter... she doesn't sit down and watch it, but she is aware of many of the key things going on in the world. She knows who Maddy Maccann is, she saw the footage of the floods, etc etc. A lot of it goes over her head, but there are some stories that she is interested in, and then I explain it in an appropriate way, and if there is something that could be upsetting, then we do something about it. For example, after watching a recent article about poverty in Africa, she wanted to give some money to "the boys and girls with no toys" (Oxfam). I think children should be brought up to be aware of the world in which they live and with concern for others and I think it helps to raise them to be a good citizen of the world.

summerunderakaftan Tue 31-Jul-07 20:58:13

DD is around when I watch the news she is 3.9.
I do have a friend that will not have any news programmes on even on the radio with the dd a year older than mine around. DD doesn't sit and watch the news but she is around and tbh not that interested every so often she will ask a question about something. I don't think it is a bad thing at all and totally agree with som previous posters.
My friend thinks her daughter is too young to know bad things happen but tbh when is the right time for that?

PyjamaQueen Tue 31-Jul-07 21:00:21

Mine are 8 and 10 and I don't let them watch the 'real' news.

However, if Newsround is on and they sit and watch it I don't mind.

Niecie Wed 01-Aug-07 00:30:00

summerunderakaftan - I think that is my problem. If I were to ban them from watching the news at what point is it OK to introduce it. Would it all be too much to find out all this awful stuff all at once? I kind of feel that if it is part of their lives they take what is of interest to them and they can cope with. I don't think I have had a sticky moment where they have been interested in something I really don't think they are ready for which is maybe why I haven't thought about the issue before.

That was why I asked the question really - I thought I might have made a parenting faux pas and scarring my children for life!

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