It seems as if a new tragedy makes the headlines everyday. From natural disasters to threats of war, there are a lot of scary topics covered in the media these days. Many parents wonder whether it’s appropriate to let their kids watch the news these days, or if it’s better to shield them from the current events for as long as possible. Before you decide what’s right for your family, it’s important to understand how kids are impacted by what they see on the news.
Research has shown that kids will imitate what they see repeatedly on the TV. For example, kids who are exposed to violent TV content over and over again tend to exhibit more aggressive behaviors than kids who are not exposed to this material. This is known as “copy cat” behavior because the child is simply mimicking what he sees on a regular basis, so he may not even be aware that it is wrong. Why? It could be because kids who frequently see violence on TV become more desensitized to it, which means they won’t be as emotionally affected by violence in the real world. For this reason, it may be best to keep kids away from violent news stories until they have matured.
A study conducted by Common Sense Media revealed that nearly two-thirds of kids report feeling sad, depressed, angry, or afraid after watching the news. Younger children reported higher levels of anger, fear, and sadness than older children, which is probably because older children have a better understanding of what they’re watching and what it means. These younger children can also have a hard time distinguishing between real and fake news, which means they could end up believing anything that they read online.
Parents have the right to decide to protect their children from what’s going on in the world. If you decide that your kids are not ready to learn about what’s going on in the world, don’t forget that it’s possible they will see some of these news stories online even if you don’t allow them to watch the news. To prevent this problem, it’s best to establish rules regarding how your child can use his phone, including how long he can spend on it everyday and what apps he is allowed to download. Many parents implement these rules—even Bill Gates limits his kids’ screen time—so don’t feel as if you are setting too many restrictions or being too hard on your child.
If your child does happen to see something that upsets him, let him talk about how he feels and ask as many questions as he wants. It’s important to stress to your child that your family is safe even though other people are suffering around the world. Get him to open up to you so he knows that he can come to you with any questions or concerns at any time. By allowing your child to express his feelings, you can prevent what he saw on TV from negatively impacting him.
If she’s doing everything solo, one of the best ways to show appreciation is to give her the gift of time. Offer to babysit for the kids so she can do errands, get her hair done or just relax. Or help her out at home. Offer to take on a few chores to ease her load. You can also surprise her by hiring a cleaning service to take over for a month or hire someone to mow her lawn.
Whether it is her birthday, Mother’s Day or any other present buying event, a surprise gesture to a busy mom outside of that lone day makes a huge impact. Moms rarely put themselves at the top of the to-do list, and often they need a reminder that they are important, too.
Gwen Lewis is a writer and makeup artist based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great but feel great, whether through makeup or her writing. In her free time, she enjoy shopping and pick-up soccer games with her friends.