A News Website for Children and Adolescents
A few months ago, I wrote a blog on the negative effects of media on children. A News Website for Children and Adolescents is the need of the day. Before I share some interesting findings with all of you, let’s quickly zoom out and focus on what is news.
Many people claim that ‘news’ is an acronym for all directions – North, East, West and South. Others believe it could stand for notable events, weather, and sports. Both are appropriate! But, in reality, the French word ‘Nouvelles inspires NEWS’.
For many years now, the newspaper – a sheaf of papers that informs or updates us about events and issues has become an indispensable part of our morning routine. But, as time goes by, this hard copy is slowly shifting into a visual and digital form. The proliferation of news sites on the internet has almost ousted the circulation of the newspaper.
Nostalgia for a Bygone Era
My tryst with newspapers started at 5 and I have always had access to two newspapers daily. Ironically or sadly, I stopped reading the newspaper when the pandemic was in full swing.
Do you remember school assignments for which you had to make a collage of the news or even read recent news in the school assembly? These minor projects kept everyone informed about what was going on. The citizens of tomorrow should know what’s happening around them, right?
Reading the news has many advantages for children:
- Bank of general knowledge
- Improves reading and writing skills
- Imparts entertainment and sports news
- Current political shenanigans
- Increases vocabulary
- A stockpile of matter for projects
The Sad U-Turn That the Media Took
Newspaper reading was once touted as a must-have habit. Unfortunately, that has changed today. Recently, the media has become very toxic, and they dramatize the news to keep the reader or viewer glued. Breaking news runs throughout the day and it is usually negative. The logic behind this is-if it bleeds, it leads (TRP or ranking)!
We should not expose kids to such news. When parents watch the news, children also watch it by default. Repetitive and graphic visuals with dramatic audio and adults shouting at each other in TV debates can lead to anxiety and fear in children.
As it is, children are like monkeys or copycats. They repeat or re-enact what they see or hear. Incessant exposure to this lethal cocktail of screaming, violence and hostility can lead to fear and aggression in children.
How Does One Get the Benefits of News Without the Toxicity?
The best way to go about this problem is to subscribe to a special and dedicated news portal for children. A site where the child can read and assimilate news at their own pace. Children need to know about global warming and the havoc it is causing. We should inform them about the floods in the far-away state, but they need to be assured that they will not harm them. They need to know more than we did when we were children to become better adults.
Today’s tech-savvy forward children don’t want to read the factual, stoic text in newspapers. Perhaps the age-old stereotype of only boring adults read newspapers handles this reaction.
A News Website for Children and Adolescents – Newsahoot
I imagined having a dedicated news website for kids that is kid sensitive. That wrote appealing articles, especially keeping children in mind, catchy phrases and vibrant pictures galore! A dash of puzzles, quizzes, sudoku, and comic strips – with posts that have a call-to-action.
These innovative techniques can spark an interest in the news. Once your child gets into the habit, it will last a lifetime! Like adults, children have varied interests. If your child wants to read only the sports news for starters, let them. Steadily, lure them to other sections.
Unfortunately, kids’ news sources for Indian kids are meagre. They’ve missed the target of being attractive to today’s tech-savvy kids. However, I saw a website called Newsahoot that comes close to what I envisioned. I made a trial account and saw that their news is carefully and thoughtfully compiled, keeping in view the sensibilities of kids’ age.
Three difficulty levels, word meanings and WhatsApp notifications are additional features that can be quite helpful for children. Credible and verified content also cuts out the drama and bias, unlike other sources. You can register your child for a free trial at Newsahoot’s website.