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News for children and teenagers

3 minutes reading time
6-13 years
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A bad event, such as the start of the war in Ukraine, usually dominates media coverage or street conversations for days. Children get to hear what adults are preoccupied with and are thus confronted with frightening, current events. It is hardly possible and makes little sense to keep children and young people completely away from the news. In this article, we explain how young people can be accompanied on the subject of news and what age-appropriate offers there are.

Introduce children to news

Many parents rightly wonder how to explain such events to children without frightening them. Adult news overwhelms children due to its complexity and the depictions of e.g. catastrophes, terror and violence. Especially pictures or videos are often still unsuitable for them, as they are difficult to classify and process. In times of fake news and many news sources that are difficult to assess, children and young people should be strengthened in their ability to understand, analyze and evaluate news in an age-appropriate way.

Child-friendly offers in video format

A variety of safe news services suitable for children are available for this purpose. They offer a wide range of topics and cover children’s interests. Your child will find news here conveyed in an age-appropriate way, in understandable language, with simple and clear sentences. In addition, dramatic and frightening images and videos are avoided. Sometimes children even become reporters themselves and report on events from their own perspective.

Examples of messages for children and young people on the Internet are

  • logo! from ZDF – the news program for children is broadcast daily on KIKA
  • kindersache.de from the German Children’s Fund – on the join-in page, current news texts are prepared in a way that is suitable for children, and the comments from the community are moderated.
  • duda.news of the Kölner Stadtanzeiger – here the children’s editorial office of the newspaper writes

The children’s search engines blinde-kuh.de and fragfinn.de help to check news from different sites in a quick run. Here, articles from various child-friendly offers are displayed at a glance.

News podcasts

Podcasts have also long since arrived in the children’s room. In short audio files, children can get an overview of what is happening in the world right now. News in audio format comes entirely without frightening images, creating an inclusive opportunity for all children who cannot read or see.

Interesting examples of podcasts are:

  • Daily Toggo from SUPER RTL – the news portal creates a positive view of events through understandable everyday comparisons. Recommended actions for parents will help navigate difficult issues.
  • Nine and a half is the name of the children’s news from WDR’s Maus editorial team – the focus is always on a topic that has currently attracted attention.
  • Children’s news from NDR Info – every Saturday news for children as podcast
  • Podcast logo! – To go from ZDF – The logo! news programs from television to listen to

News for teenagers

Young people inform themselves less via linear television and more via social media platforms such as
. Social networks and messengers are not only home to serious news offerings, but it is precisely there that young people are confronted with disinformation and opinion mongering, for example on extremist positions. The following formats from public broadcasters and other providers are recommended:

  • funk from ARD and ZDF – The content network is active on various social media channels and targets teenagers and young adults aged 14 and over with a mix of information, orientation and entertainment.
  • LeNews on YouTube – German web video producer LeFloid offers young people a mix of news and entertainment, marked by irony and satire.
  • tagesschau by ARD – The Tagesschau short clips on YouTube are hosted by young people and depict daily events in just a few minutes.
  • mitmischen.de – the website of the German Bundestag for young people is designed by young reporters directly from the Bundestag.
  • nicetoknow from WDR – The news channel on TikTok prepares news for young people between 14 and 16 years. Five young hosts write their own texts, produce clips with professional support and answer comments from the community. The selection of topics takes place in cooperation with a 10th grade class.

Do not leave children and young people alone with news

The following also applies to messages suitable for children: Depending on the child’s individual stage of development, you should watch or listen to messages specifically for the respective age group together with your child. Younger children in particular absorb news unfiltered and have difficulty assessing the extent to which the content affects them and influences their lives. Especially with bad events it is important to classify them well. Take your child’s fears seriously, talk to him about them, and comfort him. This will help your child understand the message and process it well.

For young people, it is important to continuously strengthen their information literacy. Give your child access to youth-friendly news portals. Stay in touch about what is happening on a daily basis and also talk critically about sources. Educate your child about phenomena like fake news, conspiracy myths, and propaganda, and set a good example by getting news only from reputable sources.

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