Is news good for kids?

Jan 8, 2021

One of the questions I get asked a lot is – should kids really be exposed to news so young? By young they mean the target audience of the Newsy Jacuzzi podcast, which is 8 to 12-years-old, though a lot of slightly younger kids listen and even contribute to the podcast (never mind all the slightly older folks, ahem, who are regular listeners too).

Well, no matter how well we might shelter our children, they will begin to hear about the big stories regardless. I admit I certainly kept my daughter and podcast co-host, Leela, away from the news for the first five years of her life – mainly because (selfish alert) I didn’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night thanks to some news-induced nightmare.

But soon enough she was cognizant to pick up on stuff she was hearing. We rarely have the TV on, so it wasn’t necessarily that (though that’s a big factor for many children in how and when they are introduced to news). But news is in the ether – almost by definition, it’s what’s being discussed everywhere. Not just in our kitchen or the car, but by other people too – visitors who stop by, people who say “hi” in the park, others chatting in a store. And then there are classmates and friends who will give all sorts of unfiltered and unchecked “news” to each other.

So wouldn’t you rather be the vessel through which the news is received?

And think of the benefits. Hearing about other people’s cultures and backgrounds, their problems and triumphs, makes us more empathetic. And the benefits of raising an empathetic child are well documented.

Consuming news and current affairs also makes kids smarter. It expands their mind to new things – new people, new problems, new solutions. But it also teaches them ideas and complicated concepts, like democracy versus dictatorship, what is fair and just, the dangers of excess pride, the quagmire of bureaucracy – it’s all there every day in the news!

A daily diet of news expands emotional and intellectual horizons. Not to mention all the – ding, ding! – new vocabulary. What’s there to fear as long as you’re guiding their consumption?

What? No time to do that? We get it. There’s enough to try and manage as parents without adding news editor to the brief.

That’s what we’re here for – Newsy Jacuzzi! Let us be your kid’s chaperon into the world of news and current affairs. We are a mother-and-daughter team who are passionate about spreading the news in a gentle, understandable (not dumb-down but digestible) and – most importantly – fun way.

And we’re not the only ones. While we are the only world news podcast BY-KIDS-FOR-KIDS (and the only one with massive sound effects library put to good use!), there are many other children’s news outlets.

Here is a round-up of our favorites:

WEBSITES

PODCASTS