NEWS AND MENTAL HEALTH

WATCH: What do kids learn through the news?

Children see the world in a very negative way when they watch the news. This is because, the news reports mostly on problems and disasters. This clip of three children acting out the evening news shows how pervasive the negativity bias is in the news, and lays a wonderful foundation for why we need to be also talking to children about solutions, progress and development.

 

Clip is taken from a Channel 4 program called The Secret Life of Six-Year-Olds.. 

The news is not a reflection of everything that goes on, it's a reflection of everything that goes wrong

(Somerville) 

Children are exposed to the news from an early age – they see or hear the news often many times a day through television, radio, conversation, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. 

 

This gives them a very negative picture of the world and a very negative view of human nature. This is because. newsrooms are commonly guided by the mantra “if it bleeds it leads”.  They report mostly on problems, violence and natural disasters.. They do not often investigate progress, peace and solutions.

This gives our children an imbalanced picture of the world, where it may seem worse than it is. This can have a harmful impact on our children's mental health.

Too much bad news can make children feel anxious, pessimistic, helpless, hopeless, hostile and fearful. These feelings can linger even after we switch off from the news because we become so well-rehearsed at feeling them. 

 

But when we share with them stories about solutions it has been shown to reduce their feelings of anxiety, improves their mood, restores their faith in humanity and increases our feelings of optimism, hope and self-empowerment.

 

But don't we need to learn about problems? Yes!

Learning about problems is important! They can be challenging and upsetting but it is necessary to hear about them so we can correct them.. But that is not ALL we need to know about. We also need to learn about how problems are being solved.

 

Not sure how?

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