The world has always had difficult times. Thinking about the first half of the 20th century, for instance, we went from WWI to the 1918 flu pandemic to the Great Depression to WWII. That’s a lot.
The 24-hour News Cycle
Although families were obviously affected directly by the tragedies of the past, back then, if you weren’t affected directly, it was possible to compartmentalize them. Limiting your exposure was relatively simple: When you were done reading the newspaper, you were done getting the news. You could listen to the radio in the evening but be free of it the rest of the day. Even when television was ubiquitous starting in the 1960s, the news was for the most part limited to certain hours of the day: you could watch TV all the time, but your exposure to the news was still limited to the news shows. If you didn’t want your kids to be exposed, simply watching the 11PM news, after they went to bed, and not talking about the news in front of them took care of that problem.
Things aren’t so simple today, when we all, through our devices, are bombarded by the news 24/7. We literally can’t get away from it, and that includes our children. Once you give them a device, to a great extent you have given up any control you have over what they see. So they can watch ISIS behead a journalist or a police officer kill a Black man, or do research into how severe global climate change really is. As if that isn’t bad enough, there are all of the talking heads who so often appear on “news” shows and make things sound so much worse. It is easy for kids to get traumatized by these awful things, and there is very little you can do about it, short of taking your child’s phone away.