Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Is the News Too Scary for Your Kids? Here's What You Can Do
While many parents are concerned with disturbing content in entertainment, they may overlook news broadcasts.

The 24-hour-news cycle is ingrained into most adults' lives. Global conflict, natural disasters and crime make their way into in our daily discussions with a sense of normalcy. But for the young and impressionable, the news can paint a rather grim portrait of the world. So how do you go about explaining disturbing world events to your children?

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with licensed family and children’s counselor Khris Ford, who gives us some insight on how children perceive the events in the news.

"They do internalize it, and oftentimes they don’t ask the questions – they just carry them," she says. "They worry about it. They make up stories in their own head about their own danger. The first thought for children around things like that is 'that could be me' or 'that could be my mom and dad.'"

While many parents are concerned with content in media like video games or primetime TV, many overlook news broadcasts. Ford says that for children younger than nine or 10, news may be entirely too much to handle, and that parents should block what their children see.

Ford says adults should pay attention to a child’s emotional state.

“I think when you start seeing a child that becomes more clingy, or more fearful in situations where in the past they’ve not been … that’s a good sign they’ve been exposed to something or heard something that’s been very scary for them,” she says.

Unlike adults and their broader view of the world, children often worry about being personally affected or harmed by such events. Coupled with an active imagination, that can lead to stress and anxiety as children cycle through their fears.

Ford says that ultimately, the question is really about assurance.

“I can’t promise my child that I’m never going to die, but what I can promise my child is that there will always be someone there that loves them and takes care of them," she says. "When they know that ­­– that eases an immense amount of anxiety.”

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Related Content