When Kids Want News
When Kids Want News
I have discovered an amazing news outlet designed just for kids: a non-partisan, 5-minute daily news podcast created by four journalists-turned-moms. A source of solid - not to mention topical - information for our kids to consume directly sounds too good to be true, right? It shouldn’t, argue these writing/producing/educating entrepreneurs. Here’s what they told me when I asked them how and why this got started.
It only takes a quick scan of your favorite source for news to confirm what you already know: It’s scary out there. As much as we try, it can be a real struggle to protect our children from the daily onslaught of bad news and the media frenzy that results. The events are horrible enough on their own, but all too often the coverage is accompanied by screaming headlines and graphic photos, making a bad situation that much worse. With kids spending more time online or looking over our shoulders at our devices, it’s inevitable they’ll be exposed to inappropriate material long before they should. What can we do, as parents, to satisfy their natural curiosity while shielding them from events for which they’re not ready?
The answer is KidNuz; A five minute, daily podcast produced by four Emmy Award winning journalists who also happen to be moms. It was born of the realization that kids deserve a newscast of their own; something that talks to them about current events, on their level, in a fun and engaging way. On any given morning, at the breakfast table or in carpool, they’ll get up to speed on the latest in politics, sports, entertainment, science and more. The news is real and it’s timely. What it isn’t, is scary. Ever. The podcast is 100% age-appropriate, balanced and nonpartisan, meaning moms and dads never have to worry about what’s coming up next. And it’s catching on. What started as a passion project has now won the endorsement of Common Sense Media and Parents Magazine, kids who were once afraid of the news now ask for it, and teachers are playing it in classrooms from coast to coast.
There’s also been a side benefit that few saw coming. Educators say it’s helping youngsters reconnect to the art of listening. Nowadays, kids spend so much time glued to a screen, it’s a welcome break to watch them as they listen, really listen,to what’s being said. How do we know? After the 5-6 current events stories, there’s a quick quiz. And believe it or not, KidNuz kids say it’s their favorite part of the podcast. They pay attention to the stories because they want to get the answers right. And they certainly want to get them right faster than their siblings or friends!
For parents, KidNuz is fast becoming their favorite way to start the day. Some tell Alexa to play the podcast at the breakfast table. Others wait for morning carpool. Regardless of when they play it, they say the result is the same: It’s a great conversation starter. The stories are long enough to inform, short enough not to bore, and entertaining enough for kids to want more. Quiet breakfasts or trips to school are turned into lively Q&A’s, fun banter, and sometimes an innocent icebreaker into conversations parents wanted to have, but weren’t sure how to start.
Establishing a comfortable routine talking with your kids will put you ahead of the game when it comes time to explain negative news stories. This recent article from the Common Sense Media website provides some great, age-based tips for tackling tough topics. It’s also a good reminder that it’s important to listen to your kids, too. Following a news event, it’s hard to know what details they’ve already heard - or overheard - from friends, teachers or older siblings. Sometimes, it may be best to let your kids take the lead. Before you explain an event, let them ask questions that are already on their minds. With this approach, you can also avoid telling them more than they’re ready to hear.
Bottom line: Kids are curious. The world is fascinating. Knowledge is power. KidNuz has deftly tapped into that trifecta. It informs kids without scaring them, introduces them to new people, places and things, and is helping create a generation of savvy little news consumers.
You can find KidNuz wherever you get your podcasts or subscribe for free at www.KidNuz.com