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NPR around kids?

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 

I'm curious if anyone listens to NPR with their kids and, if so, what age they were when you started to do it.  

 

I've been listening to NPR in the car with Milo since he was five or six.  There have always been stories that I felt uneasy about him hearing (those involving war, rape, other kinds of violence, etc) and sometimes I have turned to another station for a few minutes.  But he actually listens pretty intently and if I don't turn the radio on he will ask for it.  He would much rather listen to the news than to music.  And he loves a lot of the shows, especially This American Life.  But he also routinely says he doesn't want to get out of the car until an All Things Considered segment is over.  

 

I have been wondering, though, about how other parents feel about this because I've been driving Milo and one of his classmates (different kid each time) to the park once a week for their school "park day" and when I do it, I always change to a music station.  I just have no idea if other parents allow their kids to hear this kind of stuff.  There are times that I'm uneasy about it, but I think he has learned so much and the good far outweighs the bad.  And maybe he's at okay age to be hearing the bad stuff, too.  It would be pretty weird to not know it was out their until you were much older than he is (he's 8 now).

 

Also, I'm curious, if you do listen to it yourself, how old are you?  I'm 41 and I drive a volvo station wagon and I'm afraid that makes me the *perfect* NPR demographic.  tiphat.gif

post #2 of 82

Dh has always had it on in the car since dd was quite young. Sometimes I have asked him to change it to music on a long car ride where story after story of war or politics just got to me. I actually don't think dd has paid much attention except to things like Car Talk or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. I asked her and she said she hasn't been bothered by anything she has heard on NPR.

I'm 37 and Dh is 31 and dd is 11 and we are long time NPR listeners.

 

I guess I would just ask the other parents if the children are sensitive about news stories or ask if they listen to NPR.

When we've had other kids in our car they've always been so occupied with each other that I don't think it mattered what was on the radio.

post #3 of 82

I do not. There are too many things on there I wouldn't want Dc (ages 6 and 9) to hear or know about.  I'd definitely be upset if Dc were in another car and newstories and things were on. However listening to anything on the radio in the car is generally frowned upon at our school so I'm not overly concerned about it on field trips.  And at age 9 the stuff the kids come up with on their own is frightening enough! ;)

post #4 of 82

I have absolutely no doubt that we fit perfectly into the "demographic" for NPR.  Age, profession, education, interests and all.  We have always listened to NPR with dd in the car.  She is now 9 and it has spawned a lot of excellent discussions.  We've never shied away from her hearing about what is happening in the world.  While she is sensitive, she's also very curious and it has never caused anything problems.  We are a news hounds in this house and she has access to news on TV and newspapers (NYT and USA Today) every day as well.

 

To and from school, we listen to Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  She's also often in the car for the Diane Rehm Show, Fresh Air, or The World (which is a favorite).  On the weekends, we actively seek out Car Talk, Wait Wait, and A Prairie Home Companion for laughs.  We also like A Way With Words (great discussion there) and The Splendid Table.  We also have some local shows we enjoy.  The same station plays Thistle and Shamrock, Arts of Space, and classical music at other times and has a nice afternoon jazz program, so it's pretty much the only station we ever have on in the car.

 

When we have other kids in the car, I put on a book on tape.

post #5 of 82

Proud members and yes, both children have listened and we never have turned it off- it allows a great open discussion and you are not viewing graphics (as with TV, etc)- war for example is real to many children around the world - listening is important to us as well as having our children read the newspapers-this is a tool that starts early in our family---we use both and never had any reason thus far not to

post #6 of 82
My kid is just 18 months, and she loves Radiolab smile.gif Its all the crazy noises and sounds they make.

I will continue to listen to NPR until my children are old enough to beg me to put music on because they are bored in the car. And even then, they will have to tolerate it as my primary form of background noise at home. Ill admit it, Im an addict smile.gif
post #7 of 82

I'm an addict, too. I listen to almost no other radio, I get all my news from NPR, and we love the weekend programming that's already been mentioned. Right now, our little guy is just 9 months, so doesn't "get" anything that's being said. I've actually thought about this, though- there are some edgy stories covered on NPR, and even I turn the station when there's a warning before the story that it has graphic content. I especially appreciate those warnings! 

 

That said, I probably will continue to listen to NPR with my children in the car. I'd rather them ask me about real world events that may be hard to talk about than them singing along to raunchy pop-song lyrics.

post #8 of 82

We've always listened to NPR. As with velochic's family, we've had a number of discussions from listening to NPR stories.

post #9 of 82

yeah, it's about the only thing that's ever on at our house/in the car.  we particularly enjoy the weekend npr programming we get (though i think each local station plays different stuff). 

 

lately i've had some love/hate with some of the npr stuff, though.  it amazes me, for example, how very pro-vax they are, and even if we did vax, i'd still be offended at the lack of a balanced perspective with that... i have a facebook feed, too, and it seems like every time there's a slow news day they do a vax story to get facebook commenters riled up.  i assume they are getting some major contributions from industry or else political pressure, EXACTLY because of the demographics (all those educated hippie npr listeners are the ones who don't vax... let's target that audience this way)

AND i think it is most curious about the lack of coverage of the occupy wall street stuff going on.  kind of weird, the silence..

 

but, overall, we enjoy.  i don't filter/censor, i think kids tend to tune out stuff they don't understand.  and personally, i'm ultra sensitive these days so i'm likely to turn it off it there's something that is just too much for me to handle. 

 

 

post #10 of 82

Like other posters I listen to NPR all the time. My 6y/o DD is used to it. Sometimes in the car she'll ask for music and we'll trade off with each other. :)

post #11 of 82

 

 

Quote:
though i think each local station plays different stuff
 

they sure do!

 

 

ahhhhhhhh we have 6 NPRs that we can get live on the radio and none have "Radio Lab"!!!!! - mostly in the car-if it is a long trip- we download all the NPR stuff we can't get and listen to it that way-but pause when it's time for news

post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I have absolutely no doubt that we fit perfectly into the "demographic" for NPR.  Age, profession, education, interests and all.  We have always listened to NPR with dd in the car.  She is now 9 and it has spawned a lot of excellent discussions.  We've never shied away from her hearing about what is happening in the world.  While she is sensitive, she's also very curious and it has never caused anything problems.  We are a news hounds in this house and she has access to news on TV and newspapers (NYT and USA Today) every day as well.

 

To and from school, we listen to Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  She's also often in the car for the Diane Rehm Show, Fresh Air, or The World (which is a favorite).  On the weekends, we actively seek out Car Talk, Wait Wait, and A Prairie Home Companion for laughs.  We also like A Way With Words (great discussion there) and The Splendid Table.  We also have some local shows we enjoy.  The same station plays Thistle and Shamrock, Arts of Space, and classical music at other times and has a nice afternoon jazz program, so it's pretty much the only station we ever have on in the car.

 

When we have other kids in the car, I put on a book on tape.



Just wondering what you mean by profession and education? I've always found NPR geared toward everyone, regardless of education or profession. Around here, most people have a radio in their kitchen which is usually tuned to our (only) NPR station and it's on all day. I can walk into my uncle's house and it will be on - my uncle never got past 6'th grade and worked labor jobs his whole life,  - or I can walk into my SIL's house - she's an M.D. - and it's on. When I was a single teenage Mom on trying to finish high school and working fast food it's all I listened to.

People listen to it because it's interesting and they're interested, and it's public, as in - for everybody.

 

OP- I wouldn't worry too much about having NPR on when you're transporting other kids, if they're anything like my kids they'll be too busy giggling and chattering to even notice what's on the radio.

 

 

post #13 of 82

CHILDSPLAY - i think velochic meant the kind of people who LISTEN to NPR, not who NPR is meant for. most listeners are college educated and actually our local NPR broadcasts from our local university. 

 

we are a radio hound so radio is on all the time. 

 

not just NPR but our own local college station, and moth radio (we are storytelling 'fanatics' out here). 

 

we dont drive right now but its our favourite thing to do while working in the kitchen. 

 

the radio has always been on. when dd was younger she found NPR boring and always prefered music. now we do both depending on what's on or what we are in the mood for.

 

and yes even for us the radio has contributed a lot in our lives. its generated a lot of interesting convo in our lives. when last year dd heard about the impact of meditation on tortured monks in tibet she decided to use it for her anxiety (mind u i had been telling her about it for a long time). it helped.

 

another particular favourite of ours is TEDtalks. we mostly listen to them and watch a few of them. mostly on philosophy. though we did watch the one on kombucha http://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes.html and the behaviour of particles in a vaccum http://www.ted.com/talks/aaron_o_connell_making_sense_of_a_visible_quantum_object.html and ..... i could go on and on and on. 

 

we even have a radio in the bathroom. music station. blasting to hear over shower. 

post #14 of 82

I am not in the NPR demographic age, but I have been listening to NPR since my dd was a baby.  When she was in preschool she went through a stage of having a very hard time hearing the harder stories so I changed the station when they came on, but now that she is older she often wants to stay engaged with the stories that are on even if they are stories I wouldn't typically choose to have her hear.  I mostly let her choose her comfort level with the stories that are on.  We have great conversations about what we hear and I love how connected to the world she is.  In the car we tend to listen to a variety of stations with music because music is something that I really enjoy and want my dd to value, but when we have friends over to the house I change the station to music.  I don't want to risk my dd losing a friend because they talk about what they hear on NPR at our house, especially when I can just go on my phone later and read the story there. 

post #15 of 82

I usually listen to NPR while driving, but not when the children are around.   With the children, we usually chat instead.  No particular reason, just how it has worked so far. 

post #16 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by childsplay View Post

Just wondering what you mean by profession and education?

 

I meant exactly what I said.  In response to one of the OP's question I said that WE (dh and I) fit the demographic profile:  http://www.wqub.org/media/NPR%20Profile%20stats%202009/NPR%20demographics.pdf

 

Doesn't mean anyone outside of the demographic can't enjoy it or those in it have to.  Otherwise my dd would be SOL because she loves opera and she certainly isn't in the demographic for opera attendees and my dh hates sports, so there goes that demographic, too.

 

(I think the link is fixed now.)


Edited by velochic - 10/4/11 at 1:06pm
post #17 of 82

I listened to NPR around the kids until they hit about 3. Both are pretty sensitive kids and were getting upset by the content. They were too young to be able to put it in perspective, so I just quit. Now we've been going so long without it on around the kids that I've discovered I like the quiet at home, and we have pretty good talks in the car. I think I could probably turn it on in the car again, and the kids would be fine. (I know ds would be, dd (age 7), might still need to wait a year or so.) But then my kids are hearing about wars, etc. other places. Dd and I had a very interesting discussion about the Iraq war last week.

post #18 of 82

It depends, for me.

 

I probably fit the demographic and I'm a longtime listener/member; it is my primary news source, I'd say.

 

In the morning, when we're eating breakfast, I turn it on and we listen while we eat - if the story is too far out there for a 6 and 4.5yo to really get the context, etc., I will turn it off.  The kids are pretty well informed for their ages, but I'm not a diehard "must listen at all costs" and give the kids nightmares  (as happened when they described the casualties of one particularly horrific bombing).  As they've aged, I've turned it off less and less but I am still a little selective.  It does have a lot of good conversation starters, I think, but when my kids were 3 & 2, I wasn't having many of those conversations just yet.

post #19 of 82

Our family loves NPR. We listen to it with the kids around. Sometimes, our eldest asks questions, which we love and we grab at the chance to connect with her. If it's a particular rough topic we have been known to throw on the ipod. But, it's not really censored around here. We value the bad because without it we cannot appreciate the good. As a Christian family we hope for the best but as an intelligent family we know bad things happen. Their uncle is a soldier so we don't shelter them from the reality of death, but we do find it's easier to talk about if they hear it on the radio than if they see it on the television. Plus, NPR has some really fun radio shows that they enjoy outside of the negative stories. They love the Science day stuff and enjoy listening to jokes, even if they don't understand the politics of it all.

post #20 of 82

I had my child at 43. He's now eight and well, you can do the math.  :-)

 

He's listened to NPR since....well....forever. Anywhere we go in the car, it's on. I do turn down the volume if a story is particularly horrific, but otherwise I leave it on and it creates such great opportunities for conversation! Also, we're sort of un-schooly homeschoolers, so I think of it as educational. He will ask me what things mean, and I explain. Or, if I sense that the topic is something that he needs to know more about, I will expand on it. An example would be around Martin Luther King's birthday, talking about race relations, or other political subjects. Today there was a lot of talk about the Greek debt crisis, so I said (knowing that he is listening in the back seat) "do you know what debt is?" "No." So I got to explain what debt is, in simple terms of course. The list goes on. Also, the cultural stuff that he hears on NPR is wonderful! Music from around the world, interviews with performers of all kinds.....I love it!!  He is going to have a much more worldly-wise awareness than I ever did. My upbringing was very USA-centric. Until 9/11 it was like the outside world didn't even exist. I am embarrassed to say that. But the great thing is, we learn TOGETHER. It's thrilling. The world is an amazing place and I'm happy to share it with my son.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

I'm curious if anyone listens to NPR with their kids and, if so, what age they were when you started to do it.  

 

I've been listening to NPR in the car with Milo since he was five or six.  There have always been stories that I felt uneasy about him hearing (those involving war, rape, other kinds of violence, etc) and sometimes I have turned to another station for a few minutes.  But he actually listens pretty intently and if I don't turn the radio on he will ask for it.  He would much rather listen to the news than to music.  And he loves a lot of the shows, especially This American Life.  But he also routinely says he doesn't want to get out of the car until an All Things Considered segment is over.  

 

I have been wondering, though, about how other parents feel about this because I've been driving Milo and one of his classmates (different kid each time) to the park once a week for their school "park day" and when I do it, I always change to a music station.  I just have no idea if other parents allow their kids to hear this kind of stuff.  There are times that I'm uneasy about it, but I think he has learned so much and the good far outweighs the bad.  And maybe he's at okay age to be hearing the bad stuff, too.  It would be pretty weird to not know it was out their until you were much older than he is (he's 8 now).

 

Also, I'm curious, if you do listen to it yourself, how old are you?  I'm 41 and I drive a volvo station wagon and I'm afraid that makes me the *perfect* NPR demographic.  tiphat.gif



 

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