Diaries Magazine

Do You Let Your Children Watch the News?

Posted on the 19 May 2012 by Fab40foibles @fab40foibles

Do you let your children watch the news?

(source - tf1.fr)

We do. A combination of everyone’s home time, time taken to cook dinner, our interest in current affairs and the desire to eat a family meal together every day as the children are growing older has resulted in us all sitting down to watch the evening news together most days.

This has been an edifying adventure, with the recent presidential campaign we have found ourselves faced with the challenge of explaining, as honestly but fairly as possible, the difference between left and right wing, especially as our son thought it depended on the hand used to write with or positions on the football pitch of national politics.

It’s not all fun and puns though. A few months ago our children lived live on TV the psychologically deranged sniper who was randomly shooting people in the South of France, and who entered a school playground and killed the children in his path.

That was a very hard one to deal with, how do you explain why someone would do that? How do you reassure your child that it couldn’t happen to them? Especially when they’d seen the then president on the news, giving a speech on the subject in a school near Paris, telling the listening children that it could, in fact, have been them.

It was a hard decision to let our children watch the news at that time, we felt however that it is better for them to get the facts from a neutral source (yes I know, we’ll have a debate on media neutrality another day) and then answer the questions that are brought up.

Also they were informed enough to understand the minute’s silence in schools around the country that followed the massacre, something that could not be said for all their classmates.

It’s a very difficult line to walk, explaining current affairs. I was class teacher for a 6ème class (first year in secondary school) when the 9/11 disaster occurred. During our discussion in class the following day the echoes of parents’ opinions richoched around the room, “it’s the fault of the dirty XXX ( add ethnic group of your choice)”, “It will cause the third world war” – one actually said it would cause the second world war, but I prefer not to dwell on that.

I do believe current affairs is something our children need to know about, especially as in my role as a secondary school teacher I am faced with pupils who don’t know the capital of The United States or the name of the president of their own country.

However, what to tell them and at what age? Opinions please.


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