Current events - what age would you let your kid read the newspaper uncensored? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-03-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is some pretty freaky, scary stuff in my newspaper as of late, between the psycho from montreal mailing human body parts around the city and a sexual abuser running amok and the usual car crashes, violence and fires.  Dd, 9yo, got an assignment to do a current events story on an article in the newspaper.  Would you censor the paper and hand her some articles that might appeal to her, or hand her the paper and let her find something interesting?  Do you tell your kids what's going on in the world, even if it's freaky and scary, or do you let them continue in blissful ignorance?  And at what age do you think they should know what's going on around them, even if it is scary?

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#2 of 18 Old 06-03-2012, 05:35 PM
 
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I think it depends a lot on the child, but I would censor my dd now at age 8. She is really upset by these things. I give her watered down versions of some current events. We don't get the newspaper or watch the news, though. I read about the big stuff online, but I think there is a balance that can be tricky to strike even as an adult.

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#3 of 18 Old 06-03-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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yup depends on the child.

 

dd knew about suicide by 7

 

hitler and the holocaust at 8

 

rape by 9

 

she knows murders go on.

 

she also knows there's some 'bad' out there that mommy feels she is not ready for yet. and so mommy advices her not to read certain 'books'. she has played around in youtube to know there are things that are scary and so its not a problem at all in our house to heed the suggestion of mommy.

 

however we did have that assignment in our school too.

 

and i found a larger newspaper like NYT was better than say our local paper in keeping horrible stuff/images off the front page (of course not always). our local paper has always some crime stuff on the first page in the bottom half.  

 

dd has been exposed to war crimes on NPR and she didnt want to turn it off - so she knows about torture. 

 

however in my own experience - with the case of dd only - i have found she does better 'knowing' younger before the 'emotional understanding' hits. for ex. at 4 she happily talked about my funeral and memorial service. at 6 she could never even think about me dying. 

 

in our case blissful ignorance would not work. dd finds info in things around her (the word sexy in a song, the word rape from my fiction book) and then wants to know. so i treat it as no big deal and give her the info in a v. matter of fact way. she usually mulls over it a few days and then we have a discussion. 


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#4 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 04:04 AM
 
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I would personally censor.  We don't even subscribe to a print newspaper for that reason.  


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#5 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 04:25 AM
 
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you can censor all you want but it really won't mean much when the one sitting next to her in class has a parent that didn't censor- so it's mute to me and you are going to come off as odd and raise more questions if you pick what she should be choosing

 

if you have this much problem, your first turn should have been to the teacher and ask her how many are objecting to this or opt her out (but frankly I don't see this as a good option in the end) 

 

I totally agree with meemee!

 

when you censor you tend to cause more interest (I have seen in subjects such as this)- we get 3 papers daily so we wouldn't think to do it-that's us

 

having now two children, we started our DD at 7 (her choice) with the paper- keeping it and keeping her in a bubble were not an option- at 8 she was reading Number of the Stars and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit so there was no way to hide what was happening locally and in the world

 

given what many children do live with at this age-I find this such a non-issue

 

it is a great learning time for you to step up and frame the conversation and not let her hear it from others, and frankly keeping it is going to cause you more issue -IMO


 

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#6 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 06:20 AM
 
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That's a very tough situation. Do you have a local community newspaper? I find that they are less "intense" than the tabloids and city or national broadsheets that headline the latest mayhem and murder in order to boost circulation. The community paper tends to cover local politics and community events - things like plans to redevelop parkland or the next by-election or the charity walkathon that closed a main street over the weekend. 

 

I agree that it's likely she'll still confront the other newspapers when her classmates bring them in for discussion. It's also possible that the school has copies too. The city newspaper delivered free classroom copies for social studies to my kid's middle school. There was a stack of 30 or more in the front hall near the school office every morning, basically free for anyone to take unless a teacher decided to use them for classroom study. 

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#7 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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This is a "typical" school assignment.  I couldn't censor for the reasons mentioned above.  But if you wish your DD could do an article from the Arts/Entertainment section, local weather etc.


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#8 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 01:21 PM
 
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At that age, I would sit down with the newspaper with my child and help select an article. I wouldn't censor, but I would guide and I would address any comments or concerns my child had about the events in the paper.
 

When our children are very small, we can censor their access to information. But age 9 is past that point, so we have a choice if we want to be part of the discussion, or if we want to opt ourselves out of it. That's the real choice you have in front of you.

 

I personally think that either extreme  -- pretending that we can keep them from knowing about what is going on OR giving them full access with guidance --miss the real parenting that needs to happen as their exposure to the world broadens.


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#9 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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FWIW, here's the response from the school :

 

I would definitely encourage you to help with article selection. We try and guide them to something that might be on their interest list. Often the local papers are a better source than the hard core news. Something that happens in the neighborhood or focuses on something that is timely for her (soccer, environment, firefighting...) The focus is on looking for the 5 w's more than the content of the article.  Parent input is much appreciated.

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#10 of 18 Old 06-04-2012, 08:17 PM
 
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Unless the child is extremely sensitive I would not censor the newspaper. I would probably look at the newspaper with them to help choose an article though and talk about what we read.

 

My dd hasn't looked at newspapers much as we do not subscribe to any. She has always heard NPR and seen television news reports and we never censored those.

I neither prevent her from watching or listening to the news nor do I make her listen or watch the news regularly.


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#11 of 18 Old 06-05-2012, 08:05 AM
 
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I would definitely censor the creepy "psycho from montreal mailing human body parts around the city" and maybe the sexual abuser (but maybe not, depends on the tone of the story — that's info that kids need to know to some degree to protect themselves). The car crashes I wouldn't censor. The montreal psycho is so out of the realm of ordinary horror that I would avoid that one. It's the kind of stuff that could give somebody nightmares for years. My kids (8 and 11) know about the Holocaust, but not about Jeffery Dahmer and I don't have any intention of clueing them in on that one anytime soon. 

 

I also think that bad news stories are less scary if they happen in another place or time. The Holocaust is horrible to my kids, but not so scary because they don't perceive it as a danger for them today. It's something that happened a long time ago. If there was some psycho in our town dismembering people and mailing body parts around that would completely freak out any resident not only kids.

 

I think the school's advice is spot on. I'd help her pick an article. 

 

We don't subscribe to paper newspapers because they just add to clutter and we have enough challenges in that regard. I do check the local news online via the local TV station's website and dd1 sometimes reads the headlines there. They're usually not too bad. There's also a biweekly local newspaper that is delivered free whether we subscribe or not and it's pretty mild and I wouldn't censor that unless we'd had some particularly heinous crime. I did have to tell the kids recently about a shooting in front of another local elementary school. Really tragic. A man shot and killed his estranged wife and their kids went to school there. The school system sent all parents email about it so I told them so they wouldn't hear it at school and be freaked out. 


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#12 of 18 Old 06-05-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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Quote:

FWIW, here's the response from the school :

 

I would definitely encourage you to help with article selection. We try and guide them to something that might be on their interest list. Often the local papers are a better source than the hard core news. Something that happens in the neighborhood or focuses on something that is timely for her (soccer, environment, firefighting...) The focus is on looking for the 5 w's more than the content of the article.  Parent input is much appreciated.

 

 

this should apply to all assignments

 

 

while you may not be talking about the psycho some other parents just may be since there is no mention of not doing so--it's sometimes best if your child hears it first from you

 

keep in mind while some here state that they do not keep newspapers and/pr censor, many other parents do keep papers and expose their children to news, and even outside of this assignment she is properly likely to hear far more than you realize 


 

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#13 of 18 Old 06-05-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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My dd censors herself so I wouldn't feel the need. She has always been great about pointing out when something she hears, reads, or is watching is too disturbing for her. I am not against censoring though if it is what a family feels is best for them but ime giving dd the say has made her self aware and she pretty much reads material that I am comfortable with her reading.
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#14 of 18 Old 06-11-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the end she chose a rather interesting article about the KKK trying to participate in the adopt-a-highway program in Georgia.  I'm not interested in sheltering her from reality, but there is some stuff you can't un-see/ un-know and the slasher style news that sometimes is in our paper is worthy of Law and Order or Criminal Minds, neither of which is even close to appropriate for a 9yo IMHO.  So, I gave her free access to the small neighbourhood newspaper, and selected a few stories from the newswires that I thought might interest her. 

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#15 of 18 Old 06-11-2012, 07:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

In the end she chose a rather interesting article about the KKK trying to participate in the adopt-a-highway program in Georgia.  I'm not interested in sheltering her from reality, but there is some stuff you can't un-see/ un-know and the slasher style news that sometimes is in our paper is worthy of Law and Order or Criminal Minds, neither of which is even close to appropriate for a 9yo IMHO.  So, I gave her free access to the small neighbourhood newspaper, and selected a few stories from the newswires that I thought might interest her. 

 

Hey, I saw that headline - on the CNN site, I think - but didn't stop to read it. I confess, now I'm a little curious. 

 

I think some news reports aren't appropriate for a 49 y.o. (me) to read, nevermind a 9 y.o. I am a huge news junkie but there are details and aspects that I really don't need to know in order to understand the events that are being reported. 

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#16 of 18 Old 06-12-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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Just an FYI. the 4th graders were shown the documentary  "the donner party"  as part of their gold rush history project which goes into cannibalism. the kids did well.

 

90% of 4th grade which includes my dd read the hunger games and liked it. and even watched the movie (i havent read or watched it and neither has dd watched it)

 

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I think some news reports aren't appropriate for a 49 y.o. (me) to read, nevermind a 9 y.o. I am a huge news junkie but there are details and aspects that I really don't need to know in order to understand the events that are being reported. 

oh ollyoxenfree i SOOOO agree with you!!!! right now i am reading erik larson's Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun and am also discovering that there are news we SHOULD be reading about which the news just write off leaving all of us in the dark about the true nature of guns. it is an eye opener. 

 

off to check that article as i am curious about it. 

 

ETA: OMG the KKK was going to appeal to the ACLU for being denied. 


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#17 of 18 Old 06-14-2012, 12:47 AM
 
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Just an aside, I saw some sort of movie about the Donner Party when I first visited the Emigrant Trail Museum at the Donner Memorial State Park.  Then I bought the PBS documentary of it that they had for sale, and it was rather horrifying and sad.  Yet we still joke about eating each other when we go over Donner pass.  It was snowing the last time we went, and I had to put chains on my car and it took hours, and then there were no restaurants open in Truckee by the time we made it there, so we were joking.  Wow, life is so strange!  I do think of them every time I drive past Donner Lake.

 

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Just an FYI. the 4th graders were shown the documentary  "the donner party"  as part of their gold rush history project which goes into cannibalism. the kids did well.

 

 

Anyway, I followed a rather disturbing news story for months when I was about 10 years old.  And I would get upset, and my mother would tell me what her father told her...stop reading the newspaper, you're going to make yourself sick!  We don't actually get a paper copy anymore, mostly because it causes my husband to complain and rant about dead tree formats.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-14-2012, 12:33 PM
 
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Just an aside, I saw some sort of movie about the Donner Party when I first visited the Emigrant Trail Museum at the Donner Memorial State Park.  Then I bought the PBS documentary of it that they had for sale, and it was rather horrifying and sad.  

yup yup. that was the one the teacher showed. she sent out a email warning parents. i am not sure what her response was. what i did hear from dd and her classmates that they had a really good discussion group around it. more about what life was like then, rather than blood and gore itself. 


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