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Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Watching the News Every Day

The last thing kids usually want to watch on television is the boring old news. SpongeBob SquarePants or Bevis and Butthead are certainly more interesting and entertaining. With hundreds of cable news channels to watch at any given time, even adults can go for years without ever watching the news. Unfortunately, bad things tend to happen when people are not paying attention. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get kids more informed on what’s happening in the world by watching the news. Here are 10 lessons kids can learn from watching the news every day.
  1. Current events – The main purpose for watching the news is to stay abreast of current events. The local news will cover things going on in their community while national and international news expand their horizons to what’s happening around the country and around the world.
  2. Media bias – Unless they watch every day, kids may not realize there is such a thing as media bias and how to identify it. By watching different news sources from multiple channels, they’ll see that some shows may have an agenda and others are more objective.
  3. Global events – Watching the news will expand a child’s world beyond their personal experience and expose them to things going on around the globe. Even if they don’t completely understand what is going on or why, they at least know what’s going on and can ask questions for further clarification.
  4. News versus sensationalism – Daily observations will teach kids how to tell the difference between what is really news and what’s just sensationalism. Some news outlets get carried away with what Hollywood celebrities are doing rather than covering other important topics.
  5. News is depressing – One note of caution is that watching the news every day can be depressing. News sources tend to focus more on the bad things going on than the good, so too much exposure to the news can be a bad thing.
  6. Hot topics – Kids watching daily will soon learn how everyone will be covering the same stories each day and then all switch focus to the next hot topic that comes along. If they want to find out whatever happened with the last event, they’ll have to do more research than just watching TV. Television has a short attention span.
  7. History – Children may not realize it, but by watching the news, they’re witnessing history in the making. Years from now, when their kids are learning history, they’ll be able to remember when they watched historical events unfold on the news.
  8. Well informed – Kids who watch the news every day are far better informed than their peers. Instead of focusing on video games and cartoons, they would actually have some concept of what’s going on the world and be able to carry on a conversation with adults.
  9. Help with school – Any students who watch the news regularly are going to far better in school than those who don’t. They’ll have an advantage in any social studies, civics and history classes they take.
  10. Politics – There’s nothing like watching the news to keep up on politics. Kids who are better informed on that topic are more likely to get involved in political school organizations or even run for class president.
Kids who don’t have much exposure to watching the news may balk at first, so parents can make it a challenge. By giving them an incentive that gets them to watch every day for a week, maybe they’ll get hooked. Another way to gets kids watching is to just make a point of having the news on when their around instead of just switching the channel. Parents should always be sure to watch the news with their children in order to explain issues that are confusing and engage them in conversation about what they observe. Kids who watch the news are far more likely to succeed in life than those who live in blissful ignorance.

Don't forget to head over to the Babysitters Blog and check out more great tips and tricks for parents and kids.

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