If you learned about the latest terrorist attack, natural disaster, or political scandal during the news broadcast this evening, chances are that your kids saw it before you did on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media site.
The fact is that kids are using technology like mobile devices, social media, and email to find and discuss what’s going on at home and abroad. When you consider that children start using the world wide web from as young as three years old, you can start to appreciate just how tech savvy kids living in this digital age truly are. But an unfortunate truth is that kids can be adversely affected by what they read and see on the news.
Read on for a look at what some of these negatives are so that you can understand the importance of monitoring your kids’ use of technology.
1. Impaired Social Interaction
Kids who spend too much time online, whether to consume news or to use social media, can take a hit to their social interaction skills. As a parent, you should keep tabs on when and how long your kids use technology so that they are not tethered to their mobile devices. Instead of spending an excessive amount of time staring at a screen, ensure that your children have the sort of balance that can come from playing outside, participating in sports, or reading books. Even Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, sets screen limits for his kids. For instance, he has said that the won’t permit his kids to own smartphones until they reach the age of 14 — and he and has also implemented screen-free time so that his kids aren’t always using technology.
Depending on the ages of your children, you’ll have to keep track of the news content they consume. And this can be hard given the fact that we live in an age where there are multiple channels dedicated to 24-hour news broadcasts. If your kids are confronted by article after article or news clips after news clips focusing on death, protests, and rumors of wars, you can bet that they may develop a sense of fear of what is and what is yet to come. Try talking to them about what they see in the news so that you can help them deal with their emotions.
If your kids are bombarded with violent imagery and a stream of negatively, it’s very much possible that they will become desensitized to it. While it would be virtually impossible to shield your children from all violent content, you can, if you are diligent, protect them from much of it. No one know your kids like you do. So consider their ages and their maturity levels before you determine what they can and cannot handle in terms of the news.
As you can see, kids can definitely be affected by what they read and see on the news. Around-the-clock news channels mean that there is a dizzying array of news sources, and the focus tends to be on the bad rather than on the good. So monitor what they watch and how much they watch — whether on the TV, smartphone, or tablet — so that they don’t go overboard.