Greater than ever, youngsters witness innumerable, generally traumatizing,
information occasions on TV. Evidently violent crime and unhealthy information is unabating.
International wars, pure disasters, terrorism, murders, incidents of kid abuse,
and medical epidemics flood our newscasts each day. To not point out the grim
wave of current college shootings.
All of this intrudes on the harmless world of kids. If, as psychologists
say, children are like sponges and take in all the things that goes on round them,
how profoundly does watching TV information really have an effect on them? How cautious do
dad and mom must be in monitoring the movement of reports into the house, and the way can
they discover an method that works?
To reply these questions, we turned to a panel of seasoned anchors, Peter
Jennings, Maria Shriver, Linda Ellerbee, and Jane Pauley–each having confronted the
complexities of elevating their very own weak youngsters in a news-saturated
Image this: 6:30 p.m. After an exhausting day on the workplace, Mother is busy
making dinner. She parks her 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in entrance
of the TV.
“Play Nintendo till dinner’s prepared,” she instructs the little ones, who,
as an alternative, begin flipping channels.
Tom Brokaw on “NBC Information Tonight,” broadcasts that an Atlanta gunman
has killed his spouse, daughter and son, all three with a hammer, earlier than occurring
a capturing rampage that leaves 9 lifeless.
On “World Information Tonight,” Peter Jennings stories jumbo jetliner with
greater than 300 passengers crashed in a spinning metallic fireball at a Hong Kong
On CNN, there is a report concerning the earthquake in Turkey, with 2,000
On the Discovery channel, there is a well timed particular on hurricanes and the
terror they create in youngsters. Hurricane Dennis has already struck, Floyd is
Lastly, they see an area information report a few curler coaster accident at a New
Jersey amusement park that kills a mom and her eight-year-old daughter.
Nintendo was by no means this riveting.
“Dinner’s prepared!” shouts Mother, unaware that her youngsters could also be terrified
by this menacing potpourri of TV information.
What’s fallacious with this image?
“There is a LOT fallacious with it, nevertheless it’s not that simply fixable,” notes Linda
Ellerbee, the creator and host of “Nick Information,” the award-winning information
program geared for teenagers ages Eight-13, airing on Nickelodeon.
“Watching blood and gore on TV is NOT good for teenagers and it does not do
a lot to reinforce the lives of adults both,” says the anchor, who strives to
inform youngsters about world occasions with out terrorizing them 1800foundation.com news blog. “We’re into
stretching children’ brains and there is nothing we would not cowl,” together with
current packages on euthanasia, the Kosovo disaster, prayer in faculties, book-
banning, the demise penalty, and Sudan slaves.
However Ellerbee emphasizes the need of parental supervision, shielding
youngsters from unfounded fears. “Throughout the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing, there
have been horrible pictures of kids being damage and killed,” Ellerbee recollects. “Youngsters
needed to know in the event that they have been protected of their beds. In research carried out by
Nickelodeon, we came upon that youngsters discover the information probably the most horrifying factor
“Whether or not it is the Gulf Warfare, the Clinton scandal, a downed jetliner, or what
occurred in Littleton, it’s a must to reassure your youngsters, time and again,
that they are going to be OK–that the explanation this story is information is that IT
ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS. Information is the exception…no person goes on the air
fortunately and stories what number of planes landed safely!
“My job is to place the knowledge into an age-appropriate context and decrease
anxieties. Then it is actually as much as the dad and mom to observe what their children watch
and talk about it with them”
But a brand new research of the position of media within the lives of kids carried out by
the Henry J. Kaiser Household Basis reveals that 95% of the nation’s youngsters
ages Eight-18 are watching TV with out their dad and mom current.
How does Ellerbee view the standard situation of the harried mom above?
“Mother’s taking a beating right here. The place’s Dad?” Ellerbee asks.Maybe at work,
or residing individually from Mother, or absent altogether.
“Proper. Most Mothers and Dads are working as arduous as they will as a result of we
reside in a society the place one earnings simply does not lower it anymore,”
NBC Information correspondent Maria Shriver, the mom of four–Katherine,
13, Christina, 12, Patrick, 10, and Christopher, 6–agrees with Ellerbee: “However
aren’t utilizing the TV as a babysitter as a result of they’re out getting manicures!”
says the 48-year-old anchor.
“These moms are struggling to make ends meet and so they do it as a result of
they need assistance. I do not suppose children can be watching [as much TV] if their
dad and mom have been dwelling organizing a contact soccer sport.
“After I want the TV as a babysitter,” says Shriver, who leaves detailed TV-
viewing directions behind when touring, “I placed on a protected video. I do not thoughts
that my children have watched “Fairly Lady” or “My Greatest Pal’s Wedding ceremony”
three,000 occasions. I would be extra fearful in the event that they watched an hour of native information.That
would scare them. They could really feel: ‘Oh, my God, is someone going to return
in and shoot me in my bed room?'”
In a transfer to oversee her personal youngsters extra carefully since her husband,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, grew to become Governor, Shriver
scaled again her workload as Contributing Anchor to Dateline NBC and arrange
her workplace at dwelling: “You’ll be able to by no means be vigilant sufficient along with your children,” she
says, “as a result of watching violence on TV clearly has a huge effect on
children–whether it is TV information, films, or cartoons.”
This view is shared by the American Academy of Little one and Adolescent
Psychiatry, which states: “”TV is a strong affect in growing worth
techniques and shaping conduct…research discover that youngsters might change into immune
to the horror of violence; steadily settle for violence as a approach to clear up issues;
and resort to anti-social and aggressive conduct, imitating the violence they
Though there are not any guidelines about watching TV in 49% of the nation’s
households, TV-watching on the Schwarzenegger dwelling is nearly completely
“We’ve a blanket rule that my children don’t watch any TV in any respect throughout the
week,” she notes, “and having a TV of their bedrooms has by no means been an
choice. I’ve sufficient hassle getting them to do their homework!” she states
with amusing. “Plus the half hour of studying they must do each evening.
Based on the Kaiser survey, Shriver’s family is a evident exception to
the rule. “Many children have their very own TV’s, VCR’s and video video games of their
bed room,” the research notes. Furthermore, youngsters ages Eight-18 really spend an
common of three hours and 16 minutes watching TV each day; solely 44 minutes
studying; 31 minutes utilizing the pc; 27 minutes enjoying video video games;
and a mere 13 minutes utilizing the Web.
“My children,” Shriver explains, “get dwelling at four p.m., have a 20-minute break,
then go proper into homework or after-school sports activities. Then, I am a giant believer in
having household time for dinner. A few of my fondest reminiscences are of sitting on the
dinner desk and listening to my dad and mom, 4 brothers, and my grandmother,
Rose. We did not watch the information.
“After dinner these days, we play a sport, then my children are in mattress, studying
their books. There is no time in that day for any TV, besides on weekends, when
they’re allowed to observe a Disney video, Sesame Road, Barney, The Brady
Bunch, or Pokemon.”
Past protected leisure, Shriver has eradicated totally the choice of her
youngsters watching information occasions unfolding reside on TV: “My children,” she notes, “do
not watch any TV information, apart from Nick Information,” as an alternative offering her youngsters
with Time for Youngsters, [Teen Newsweek is also available], Highlights, and
newspaper clippings mentioned over dinner.
“No topic must be off-limits,” Shriver concludes, “however you have to filter
the information to your children.”
ABC’s Peter Jennings, who reigns over “World Information Tonight,” the nation’s
most-watched night newscast, emphatically disagrees with a censored
method to news-watching: “I’ve two kids–Elizabeth is now 24 and
Christopher is 21– and so they have been allowed to observe as a lot TV information and
info anytime they needed,” says the anchor. A agency believer in
children understanding the world round them, he tailored his bestselling e-book,
The Century, for youngsters ages 10 and older in The Century for Younger Individuals.
No draw back to children watching information? “I do not know of any draw back and I’ve
considered it many occasions. I used to fret about my children’ publicity to
violence and overt intercourse within the films. Like most dad and mom, I discovered that though
they have been uncovered to violence ahead of I might have favored, I do not really feel
they have been affected by it. The jury’s nonetheless out on the intercourse.
“I’ve uncovered my children to the violence of the world–to the bestiality of
man–from the very starting, at age 6 or 7. I did not attempt to conceal it. I by no means
apprehensive about placing a curtain between them and actuality, as a result of I by no means felt
my youngsters can be broken by being uncovered to violence IF they
understood the context wherein it occurred. I might speak to my children concerning the
vulnerability of kids in wartime–the incontrovertible fact that they’re harmless pawns–
and about what we may do as a household to make the world a extra peaceable