Advice for parents on how to help kids make sense of the news media

The Washington Post recently shared an article focused on engaging with children in a way that educates and contextualizes media, especially in regards to sensitive topics of race, violence and others.

Between wanting to be informed and the permeating torrent of media, it’s not realistic to shut it out of your child’s life completely. In teaching our kids good digital citizenship, we don’t want to do that anyway. With a little mentorship, we can help fight the incursion of fake news with what always defeats ignorance: knowledge.

The article includes 11 ways to teach digital literacy to kids, and to help them understand what they are seeing.

  1. Open the conversation. Talk and listen to kids about what they are reading and watching. Share what you are reading as well. Try to put it into context for them. Offer perspective. For kids of all ages, if they are concerned about what they are hearing or reading, be sure they know they can talk with you about the news.
  2. Be proactive. With our country in what feels like a very tumultuous time, don’t let elementary-age kids watch or read the news on their own. They need help processing what they see, and we need to help our kids understand how to at least try to make sense of what they are hearing and how to move forward.
  3. Get specific. While sometimes it feels good to generalize while watching the news with other adults (e.g., “the world is going to hell”), we should be specific about our concerns with our kids. If we are anxious or concerned about the news in general, it is helpful to give reasons the news concerns you.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Image courtesy of The Washington Post.