I am a news junkie. I love watching and/or listening to news. As a kid, I remember listening to 1010 News Radio day and night. I loved their tagline “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”
Currently, I fill my evenings by watching news. From the time I come home, I watch Fox News, CNN News, OAN, MSNBC, BBC America, The Weather Channel and before it went off the air, Al Jazeera News. Though I tend to lean Republican (we’ll save that discussion for another day), I do enjoy watching both the conservative and liberal media. I find it fascinating to see what each think is important and how they interpret things. Truthfully, I think I enjoy watching conservative and liberal news because I suspect the actual truth is probably somewhere in middle of what’s being reported…and I am fine with that.
This means my children watch a lot of news too. We watch it together. I find the news is often a place from which to spark conversation. Lately, due to the nature of the news, my children see far more violence on TV; more than I would ever allow via television programming or movie. With some of the recent events, they’ve seen the Black Live Movement (BLM) protests, the Dallas police shooting, the terrorist attack in Nice France, the Turkish attempted coup and the Baton Rouge police shootings.
When they ask questions, I try to tell them the truth in a way that makes sense for their young minds. We’ve talked about bad guys and good guys. We’ve talked about whether BLM people are bad and I’ve had to teach them what it means to protest. The news has enabled me to discuss the danger of guns and why we don’t play or own them. We talk about what it means to be a good policeman and how some policeman are bad guys. Watching the attack in Nice France allowed us to talk about safety and the importance of staying close when in public. Surprisingly, it enabled us to talk about what they should do if ever we were out and someone started shooting.
Now some of you might think this is a good thing. At first, I must admit I thought it was. Now, I am on the fence about it. A part of me really feels like I am building well informed kids. Kids with an eye to the world, kids that will be less ethnocentric, that will recognize that the world is bigger than where we live. I want them to be critical thinkers in order to survive and I want them to know that sometimes, people are bad and/or do really bad things.
But the other part of me wonders whether am depriving them their childhood? That I am robbing them of the innocence of youth? That these images are inappropriate for children and that the best thing is simply to shield them from it.
But then how realistic is that?