No News Is Good News

“Bye! Have fun! I love you!” I shouted at the retreating figure of my 10-year-old as he ran towards the door of my mother’s house for a sleepover.

“Remember … no watching the news!”

My mom loves the news. She watches it a few times a day. She says it helps her know what’s going on in the world.

Do you want to know the last time I turned on the news in our home?


The 11:00 local news came on the television while I sat in the floor watching my baby in the exersaucer and the anchor proceeded to read a scripted account of how a Galveston man had killed his baby by cooking it in the microwave.

That was it for me.

Horrible, gut-wrenching, awful things happen every day, especially in a city as large as ours. To think otherwise would be incredibly naive. But do we, the people who are charged with living in this fallen world really need to be made aware of the details of every murder, every act of cruelty, and every depravity? What purpose does that serve except to hurt our hearts, sadden us, and slowly eat away at hope and love and joy?

And do you know who needs to hear about it even less than us mommies?

Those tiny little bundles of innocence and wide-eyed wonder sitting at our feet.

My children were watching a broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on a local station {so there were commercials} recorded on our DVR. During one of the commercial breaks, there was a teaser for the evening news that involved a description of a familial homicide. During RUDOLPH, folks! And the teaser was played at multiple commercial breaks.

I heard one tiny voice from the beanbag chair question, “Somebody killed his family?”

We are pretty decent at monitoring what our children are exposed to through the various screens to which they have access. The news isn’t the only thing we ban; they aren’t allowed to watch Game of Thrones either. But what we see on the news strikes me as worse than any of the horror they can encounter elsewhere on cable television.

Because it’s real.

Because when there’s a slip-up {or complete and utter irresponsibility, as on the part of the channel mentioned above} I can’t turn around and say, “Oh not really, honey, it’s just pretend. It’s actors on a set, dressed up and telling a story. A very scary story, but it’s not real.”

The news is real, and it’s awful.

It highlights every misdeed, every reflection of evil that happens in our city on a daily basis. Why anyone thinks we need to know all of that, I’m not sure. It gets ratings, I guess.

But you won’t find it in our home.

When we are so careful about what we expose our children to, when we have rating systems that alert us to the appropriate viewing age for each cartoon {yes, cartoon!},  why would we allow a laundry list of the worst humanity has to offer into our kids’ lives three or four times a day, even as background noise?

That’s not to say that current events should not be discussed with our children. Of course they should. Often, those discussions are essential when trying to raise empathetic citizens of the world. But the groundwork must be laid for those discussions, and if the exposure is necessary, it should be on a level that our children are capable of absorbing. But the number of people who got murdered today in our fine city is not the type of event that needs to be shared with children. I’m really not sure it needs to be shared at all.

And the news these days? It’s one scary event after another. Of all the things I never imagined I would need to restrict my kids from watching, the news broadcast on network television is one.

And that recording of Rudolph? Somehow it got deleted by some “glitch” in the DVR. I guess in the future, we will just have to skip the commercials and buy the DVD.


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