There’s no question that we are living through some of the most challenging and complicated times in recent history. Between the pandemic and the social upheaval, it can be hard for adults to process what’s going on. So the confusion and concern can be even more daunting for children.
How we adults can help children during this time is at the center of our core purpose here at KidNuz. Our mission is clear: To engage the next generation with news that will inform without fear and educate without opinion. But there’s a fine line between offering too much information to children and not enough. We’re moms and journalists and we work very hard to find the right balance and we thought it might be helpful to explain how we try to do that.
First and foremost is a keen understanding of our audience, which spans both grammar and middle school. We never want to talk down to our KidNuz kids so we talk to them, but only with information that is appropriate for young ears. There are many, many news stories every day that are wholly unsuitable to cover, so we simply don’t. But then there are sensitive topics that are too big or too important to ignore; like the recent pandemic, which impacted children directly, and the calls for racial justice that graced every headline in America and beyond. Our goal is to find age-appropriate angles and wording that help our listeners understand what’s going on, without unnerving them.
Our strategy is to be partners with the adults who make KidNuz part of their family’s day. By lightly touching on some tough topics, we strive to offer a door that could lead to more information. If the adults feel the children who are listening to the podcast with them are ready for a deeper discussion, they can go down that path. And conversely, if the adults don’t feel the children listening are ready for more than the broad strokes we provide, they can leave that door closed.
Adults put a HUGE amount of trust in KidNuz to NOT bring up details that would scare kids and we are very careful to keep that trust. It’s important that we don’t force the issue, because there is no rewind button.
Case in point: We heard from a friend whose daughter was riding in the car with her dad when they flipped on NPR. Within one minute, the broadcast turned to George Floyd and how he “called out for his mama" as he was dying. Dad turned off the radio immediately, but mom had to spend two hours trying to console her child without much success. “She can never unhear that. And it is not OK. With everything else going on in the world, this was the last thing she (and I) needed.”
We are doing our very best to honor our mission to inform and educate the next generation without unnecessarily frightening them. We have a website where we are providing a growing list of resources for adults to use to discuss racism, inequality and other tough issues. And we want to be seen as partners with the adults in children’s lives to feed their curiosity into what’s happening in our world. But we realize that some listeners may feel that we miss the mark occasionally so we welcome any and all feedback on how we’re doing. We are deeply grateful to all our loyal listeners and will continue to do our very best to meet our mission every day.