The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news

I was the kid who was watching Huntley-Brinkley on NBC News or Walter Cronkite on CBS News by the time *I* was ten.

NEWSFor her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.

Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.

Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Last summer, she said to a friend, “Do you know what happened in Mali?” Her friend didn’t know who Molly was; it was a reference to a plane crash. During a manhunt for a cop killer in Pennsylvania, she was surprised that her friend from Pennsylvania was unaware of it.

It’s my fault. I was the kid who was watching Huntley-Brinkley on NBC News or Walter Cronkite on CBS News by the time *I* was ten. But the news seemed tamer when I was her age. Our involvement in Vietnam was still minimal. There was racial strife, but it seemed to be focused in the far-away South.

Now, there are ISIS/ISIL video executions; she didn’t see them – heck, *I* didn’t see them, but she was still aware of them, though not the first one until after the second one had taken place. Hundreds of girls are kidnapped in Nigeria. Several NFL players are involved with domestic violence.

She always DOES have the option of going away from the set, but she seems to have the peculiar notion that she should be an informed citizen. Where she got THAT idea, I have no idea.

One wants to protect one’s child, but I guess keeping her blissfully unaware is not an option anymore.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news”

  1. “One wants to protect one’s child, but I guess keeping her blissfully unaware is not an option anymore.”

    This is something I’ve wondered about, as a childless person. When I was a kid, my brother and I were pretty much insulated from the “scary” news stories. (I remember walking through the living room while my dad watched Wall Street Week, and I vaguely knew what the Dow Jones index was, but other than that….)

    The first big scary news story I remember was the Jonestown massacre, which was extra creepy to me because the guy involved with that started out as a minister in the denomination to which we belonged. (I was 10 or so at the time). Then after that there were several high-profile kidnappings of young girls not too far from where I lived, which added to my growing anxiety.

    It seems like with the 24-hour news channels and the internet, it would be harder to insulate a kid now….and yet, there are so many more child-friendly 24-hour television options now. (And I confess: when I’m particularly stressed by what’s going on in the world, I put myself on a diet of Sprout and Qubo channel, and I feel much better. Yes, most of their shows are for preschoolers and I’m 45, but….)

  2. Yes, we find it hard to insulate Peanut from some of the news as well. But for the stories she notices, we try and tame the explanations a bit for her 6-year-old mind.

  3. This is wonderful. My grandfather did this for me, and I benefited massively from it. For one thing, it vastly improved my vocabulary and knowledge of geography.

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