Teaching kids to engage with the news may be the best thing you do for them.
Even the most enthusiastic news fan may want to keep certain headlines away from their children, or at least discuss the issues the news is going to bring up in depth and in a way they can understand. Adults can also struggle with this; it’s colloquially known as “headline stress,” where the news overwhelms your emotional capacity to keep pace.
Managing headline stress is becoming harder and harder as TVs proliferate, radios become louder, and, of course, when there’s a constant stream of news alerts and breaking headlines in your pocket. It’s important for kids to want to engage with the news, but they also need to learn how not to be carried away by an endless torrent of headlines. How can parental control software help kids manage the flood of news?
Blocking Notifications And Apps
Parental assistance apps can help by blocking notifications. App notifications can take away our ability to engage with it at a time of our choosing, by prompting us to take out our phone and look at the latest antics. Instead of following that prompt, blocking the notification will allow your children to focus on schoolwork, and let you intercept upsetting headlines first so you can talk them over with your kids first.
Similarly, there may be questionable apps that try to exploit news, whether it’s serious topics or celebrity gossip, to gather data from kids or mislead them about certain topics. Some apps even offer outright propaganda. Parental control apps will allow you to filter these questionable apps out.
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Creating ‘News Time’
Another effective tool is that you can create “news time” with the family where everyone can look at digital newspapers or listen to news podcasts and alerts and discuss the major issues. This is particularly useful if there’s a homework assignment involving the news, as you can help teach your kids to approach the news with critical thinking and use your phones to research unfamiliar topics.
Remember that you too should abide by ‘news time.’ Headline stress can affect everyone, and kids will be able to pick up on whether you’ve seen an upsetting news item.
There’s also a time and a place to read the news, especially upsetting news. We all know the temptation to look at your phone when an alert goes off, and parental control software can not only block alerts, but lock off a phone except for emergency calls between certain hours of the day. This will keep kids from staring at their phones after bedtime, reading the news when they should be paying attention in math class, and otherwise controlling engagement to keep it at a healthy level.
There’s no perfect solution to headline stress. We’re more aware, more informed, and have more access to current events than any other time in history, and it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to keep children away from something so omnipresent. Instead, you can keep the torrent of information from overwhelming your kids, and teach them how to critically evaluate and otherwise approach the news. To learn how Screen Time can help, try it for free.