My children look forward to watching the news every evening. They enjoy hearing about what's going on in the world, even if they don't understand all the details.
Occasionally there's even a news story that prompts a deep discussion, such as embryonic stem cell research or the war in Iraq. Watching the news together as a family has become an important part of our homeschool and a valuable part of our children's education.
I realize that there are opposite schools of thought on the subject of letting your children watch the news — whether or not to shelter them from the evil that goes on in our world. And I do respect the choices other families might make, even if they differ from our own.
But for my husband and me, we want our children to be aware of the world around them, even from a very young age. Yes, we want to protect them from the bad people out there, but at the same time, we want them to know that there are bad people out there, people who have a completely different value system (or no system at all).
That reality of a fallen world is what every adult will have to face, and our job as parents is to train our children to become responsible adults. We don't want them to be surprised when they leave home that there is real pain and suffering and evil in the world. We want them to have already developed a healthy perspective, which means that we must teach them now about both the good and bad that exists and help them to develop a Christian worldview.
We also want them to see that there are children who grow up hungry or in war torn nations. That awareness helps allows them to develop a more realistic and healthy perspective about life, where they realize that not everyone in the world lives like they do. And perhaps the result will be more gratitude for what they do have instead of complaints about what they don't have. Seeing that not everyone lives in a free, affluent country may even encourage them to want to share the hope of Christ with the rest of the world. And what would be a better result than that?
So how about you? Do you let your children watch the news? Why or why not?
The news has been a huge part of our home. Eric is a news-junkie and would sit and watch it all day if he could. So all of the kids have really taken to watching it too.
Like you, I think it's important to let the kids see what things are going in the world, especially while we have them with us and can take the time to have discussions.
Isabelle's love of geography, world history and the weather have all stemmed from news watching.
Here are some Biblical principals that guide my convictions in this area:
Romans 16:19 (ESV)
"For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil."
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
I think that a lot of "news" falls into the category of gossip and slander which we are also called to avoid.
Personally, we don't have television to watch the news. My kids are still very young, but when they get older, I anticipate that they will either have "God's World news" (www.gwnews.com) or watch highlights online via the Christian Broadcasting Network or some such thing. My husband and I do keep up with current events, but we typically read them online instead of watching tv because it makes it easier for us to focus on what is necessary and gloss over or avoid other things.
Anyway, that's what works for us. I wouldn't condemn others who feel differently. I just know that my little brothers have seen things by watching the news that I wouldn't want to expose them to at such a young age (i.e. homosexuals kissing celebrating "marriage"). One person said that the news is like a condensation of all of the smut in the world in one hour. I don't think I would go quite that far, but I can see the point and don't think that person was too far off.
Just my thoughts. I think you can inform your children without exposing them to the imbalanced perspective of secular news agenda…without having surprises, etc. I'd probably choose something like CBN if I were going to have my kids watch something.
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American Texan says
I watched the news as a kid. It definitely prompted much discussion and questions. I'm sure there are parts of the news I'd rather kids not see, but if they are going to see something evil, I'd rather it be in my home where it can be discussed fully and Biblically than to see it out in the world somewhere, when they may have no one to talk to.
Not So Average Mama says
I have to agree with Joy on this. Atleast at home we can explain to them more about the things they see that are bad and answer any questions they have.
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Jennifer Slemmer says
Not yet. My oldest is almost 8 – she watches some but I tend to turn it off. We have dealt with nightmares and irrational fears so I tend to limit what they see.
But that being said – I agree completely with the value of knowing what is going on in the world within the safety of our home and some open conversation. An important thing to discuss is bias and selectivity. Not everythign we see and hear is the truth – critical thinking is very important.
I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING! What an opportunity to influence our kids!
Rhen @yestheyareallmine says
They do not watch the news daily, but they do get to watch some. We want them to know what is going on in the world, but we don't want them exposed to everything that is out there. Watching the news with the kids definitely prompts some interesting conversations!! No details on murders and such, and we are careful about some of the more "social issues". Not everything needs video clips!
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