I probably picked up my first newspaper at the age of seven or eight and haven’t stopped since. It started with reading the comic strips first and then the sports page and that too hasn’t stopped since. Of course, I did catch all the happenings between pages one and last too.
Sadly, what also hasn’t changed is the cliché – there’s no news like bad news. I don’t think a diet of bad news is quite right for children before they hit the right age. Agreed, you cannot keep the bad winds away but just like using parental controls to limit their exposure to the Internet, you can monitor the news they consume too. We have looked at some excellent email apps for kids and we have also taken you through some child-friendly ways to search the web. Now, let’s look at some child-friendly ways to get your children into the habit of reading the news on the web. Who said good parenting was an easy job!
Here There Everywhere
For Ages: 7+
Here There Everywhere attempts to mix the best of news with the interestingness of storytelling. Designed for elementary and older school-aged children, the child-safe news website can be read by children alone or with a guardian. The site is colorful but neat and the news span across topics from health and education to offbeat pieces. Of special interest could be the “You Ask” columns where kids are encouraged to comment and ask questions around the subject of a conversation. It could be a book review or a first-person account from a well-known personality. For all comments on the site, children will have to submit a guardian’s email address if they are under 13.
Time for Kids
For Ages: 8+
We had checked out Times for Kids when we took a look at seven online magazines for kids. It’s always worth a read with its comprehensive coverage on all the recent news children might be interested in. Quite a few of the “journalistic” news pieces are actually written by kid reporters, so that’s something to aspire to if your child is interested in the field. Time for Kids also covers special topics in many mini-sites which are generally around a common theme like this one which is on the Women History Month. Articles are written in a clear, easy to understand voice and illustrated well. There’s a separate Homework Helper section with variety of tools for your grade school child.
The Learning Network
For Ages: 11+ and above
I wanted to put in a mention of this excellent resource right after Times because the standards set by these two esteemed publications is very high. The Learning Network is a New York Times blog that follows the news around the world and packages it for discussion for kids, parents, and teachers. It is an invaluable resource for building not only awareness but also a questioning mind around the recent news happenings in the world. For instance, the Student Opinion question column is a page where children above the age of 13 are invited to comment on questions about issues in the news. Here’s the page from last year which tells you the 12 ways to use the learning network blog for a school year.
CNN Student News
For Ages: 11+ and above
The website is an accompaniment to the TV program for middle-school and high-school students. The TV program is a ten minute ad-free capsule covering the major events in the world. You can watch the streamed version here on the website or download it as a free podcast. The news is produced by educators and journalists. Here you can find a wealth of material like Daily Discussion questions, the Media Literacy Question of the Day, downloadable Maps and additional support materials to help students understand and talk about the news in classrooms. The Schools of Thought blog is also a good platform for all stakeholders who want to talk about education.
For Ages: 11+
Nick News is the online face of the show Nick News with Linda Ellerbee hosted on Nickelodeon since 1992. The original show’s format fosters discussions on world topics and is a very good educational platform for both children and teenagers…not to mention adults too. Nick News on the web takes the stories and features them online along with other current topics of the day. A range of issues are covered and politically sensitive topics (like the recent Zimmerman trial) are not barred. The TV show is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history and has collected 20 Emmy Awards during its run.
For Ages: For all ages
Tween Tribune is a daily news sites for kids, tweens and teens. From K-4 to teachers and parents, everyone can use this site to find relevant content to teach and learn from. The news stories are thoughtfully divided into age groups taking into consideration reading and comprehension levels. The stories are selected by professional journalists. The topics are broad and inform (Are Google Glasses worth $1,500?) and entertain (Eight lose house designed for cats).
Scholastic News Online
For Ages: 5+
Scholastic News Online features selected stories and breaking news events from their print publication. Paid subscribers to the website also have free access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning portal featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more. But if you are not a subscriber, you can enjoy the open for all articles on the website. The site is also especially useful for teachers who want to design classroom activities around current affairs and world news.
For Ages: All ages
Here at the end, let me mention the Headline Spot which could be your go-to place if you a want to have launch pad for some of the good news websites for kids. Headline spot aggregates news sources from across the world, and it has a special section for kids and news they might be interested in. Ignore the filters on top and focus on the page for children’s news sources which include links of some of the news websites we have covered here.
There’s nothing that builds awareness of the world around us more than getting into the habit of reading about news daily. That’s what I have found out from my own experience. Awareness has side-effects which as parents we may not realize. It brings minds divided by cultures closer. It can inspire us with examples like Malala Yousafzai. Most of all, it can be help parents and children keep their eyes on the right kind of news not tainted by the demoralizing shenanigans in the world around us.
What do you think about these eight news websites for kids? Do you have any other recommended websites for news and current affairs particularly suited for children? Let us know about your choices in the comments.
Image Credit: Boys Reading the Newspaper via Shutterstock