Breaking News: Kids Need Help Understanding the World Around Them
In this fast past technology age, we are bombarded with news on a 24 hour cycle. We can’t get away from it. Recently, one of my students’ cell phones started beeping in class. No, she wasn’t supposed to have her cell phone in class, but she did.
This student’s cell phone was beeping and everyone turned to see what the commotion was about. It turns out it was an alert from CNN. Yes, a middle school student has a cell phone app that pushes notifications of Breaking News to her phone!
I took the phone, because again she wasn’t supposed to have it in class. But I must admit I was curious as to why she had that app. At the risk of sound like an old bitty, when I was in school, I had no interest in any Breaking News. I was preoccupied with the latest gossip, when the next hang out would be, or sometimes I even took some time for my schoolwork. But never Breaking News. This student is so plugged in that she felt the need to take up cell phone memory space to download an app.
It’s kind of scary and it’s kind of great. On one hand, students are interested in what’s going on in society. They want to know what’s happening. But on the other hand, there’s a lot going on in society. Adult things, bad things things kids may need some guidance and support in understanding.
This is why it’s so important that we stay engaged with our children. Children are being exposed to things at younger ages than many of us were. It can be a lot for their minds to process. Even though they may say they are fine, children are sensitive to their surroundings and these things do affect them.
When they’re exposed to negative things, they can end up taking those things on internally. They need the adults in their lives to help them handle those feelings in a positive way. Positive affirmations are one way adults can help children stay positive. There are also other steps adults can take to help children digest negative news.
HERE ARE SIX TIPS FOR HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH NEGATIVE NEWS
Limit exposure to news, which can become more difficult as children get older
Be open to conversation and share age appropriate information
Be aware of the child’s needs
Watch for extreme changes in behavior
Find opportunities to give back so the child feels a connection to the good in society
Watch the behavior you model for the child