Romsha Vats • 16 November, 2022 • 7 mins
We live in the Information Age, where facts and figures about everything under the sun are available at our fingertips. Want to learn how to cook? Want to learn a new subject? Want to clear your math-related doubts? No worries, the internet has got your back.
However, there are times when this constant stream of information seems too much for our brains to handle. It has become impossible for us to differentiate between helpful and useless news. To make matters worse, our addiction to short-length videos (e.g. reels or shorts) has negatively affected our attention spans.
Information overload is more harmful to children than adults. In their formative years, they require proper guidance and adult supervision. They should read child-friendly news, not biased and hateful content. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills.
Many parents may not see the need for young children to read the news. After all, are schools not teaching our children everything they need to learn? Yes and no. While school education is essential, it is not always sufficient. There are lacunas in our education system, e.g. lack of experiential learning, over-emphasis on marks, rote learning, etc.
Child-friendly news can serve as an excellent link between theory and practice. It can ignite the curiosity of young minds and make the school curriculum seem less boring.
1. The world is getting more complex, and knowing the news is crucial to navigating life.
We live in a highly interconnected world. The most recent example is the spread of coronavirus from the markets of Wuhan, China, to every continent of the globe. Thus, it has become imperative for everyone to be aware of both local and global issues. Only well-informed citizens can help tackle issues that require community participation, such as climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, etc.
2. It makes them better people!
Getting high marks in school is not the best way to judge a kid’s smartness. The goal of education should be to make kids self-sufficient and resourceful. Their exposure to child-friendly news can help achieve this. The knowledge your children will gain from reading child-friendly news will transform them into more sensitive, empathetic, and grounded individuals.
3. It helps them develop a habit of reading.
Though your kids may spend a significant amount of time reading their textbooks or study-material online, that does not classify as reading per se. Reading, just like playing any other hobby, requires dedicated time and effort. It also has a lot of benefits, such as improving vocabulary, increasing concentration, reducing stress, improving sleep, reducing the probability of contracting diseases like dementia or Alzheimers in old age, etc.
4. It improves their speaking and writing skills.
Generally speaking, reading helps with our communication and writing skills. But if your kids read child-friendly news, their conversations and writing will be well informed and interesting. These skills will make your kid stand out from the crowd and open up new career opportunities for them in the future.
Many parents may question the need to spend money on a child-friendly news website when they already have a newspaper subscription at home. While news topics remain more or less the same across news platforms, the way ordinary newspapers write and present these topics does not classify as child-friendly news.
1. They are challenging to read.
Newspapers cater to high school students and adults. Their content consists of complex terms and phrases that young children may know nothing about. If children start to look up the meaning of every difficult word, they may waste a lot of time. This tedious exercise can frustrate them and push them away from news reading.
2. They expect the reader to have prior knowledge about the topic.
Since newspapers report issues on a day-to-day basis, children may need help keeping up with them. They may not understand the relevance of a news topic. Furthermore, their parents or guardians may not always be able to explain every news issue to them, causing gaps in their knowledge.
3. They do not provide enough historical background.
Every piece of news, whether it is about the economy, politics, world, social issues, or environment, has a backstory. While newspapers summarise the history of the news they report, it is not enough for a young kid who has just begun reading. Kids require a simple and solid explanation of why and how things happened in the past.
4. They are full of distractions, such as advertisements, celebrity gossip, etc.
Newspapers are full of flashy advertisements, political campaign posters, photographs of celebrities, etc. These are enough to distract kids from the news that matters. Child-friendly news websites, like Newsahoot, minimise distractions by only including pictures that are relevant to our news articles.
5. It is hard to figure out which news is relevant.
From an educational point of view, not all news topics are worth reading. This includes pieces about city crimes, political controversies, business statistics, etc. The thickness of a newspaper may further discourage our children before they even get to reading. Expecting them to filter out child-friendly news is unrealistic.
When writing child-friendly news, one has to consider the age and educational background of the child reading it. Reading child-friendly news should be a fun and educational experience. It should leave them with thoughts and lessons that stay with them after the reading exercise has ended.
1. It must be easy to read.
The language has to be simple and sentences shorter than usual. The child-friendly news piece should feature real-life examples, simple allegories, etc. The content should not be too long, or the child may lose interest in reading.
2. It must focus on the basic concepts and relevant facts.
Before reporting on a piece of child-friendly news, a discussion of the main keyword or issue can be helpful. A simple definition of the issue and its relevance in the current climate can help clear basic concepts of the child.
3. It must provide a holistic understanding of a news topic.
Since most child-friendly news topics are interdisciplinary, exploring a theme's connections with other disciples becomes necessary. Furthermore, establishing national or international linkages also helps provide a broad-based perspective.
4. It must give them both sides of the story.
Most issues have negative and positive sides to them. While writing child-friendly news, one should try to address both sides. The tone of the article must be objective and neutral. One should also attempt to write more hopeful and promising conclusions.
5. It should be easy to retain.
Reading child-friendly news is one thing, and retaining the concepts and facts is another. Children must be able to go back to the news articles for revision from time to time. Instead of wasting time making short notes or physically storing newspapers, accessing child-friendly news online seems much more convenient.
Newsahoot has ticked all the boxes when it comes to writing child-friendly news:
We live in a highly competitive world. Today, a child’s success depends less on the marks they score at the school/university level and more on the number of skills they possess. Supplementing school education with child-friendly news reading is the best way to hone essential skills, such as critical thinking, sound decision-making, strong communication skills, etc.
Child-friendly news reading will also improve your child’s performance at school. It will provide them with real-world examples of topics they discuss as part of their syllabus. These linkages will enhance their conceptual understanding and reduce the amount of time they spend on rote memorization. The parallel improvement in their language skills will make it easier for them to answer questions in school examinations.