Many parents are under the misapprehension that disturbing news stories about crime, violence, natural disasters or terrorism will go over the heads of their children. That’s not true, but it does give Mom and Dad permission to watch what they want even when the children are around.
Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council says, “The nine o’clock news, where the motto is generally ‘If it bleeds, it leads,’ is not exactly child-friendly entertainment to begin with, and their innocence would be far more likely to suffer from stories about rapes, kidnappings, murders, etc., than a newscaster talking about whether or not Santa exists.
“It is so important to protect a child’s innocence, but it involves far more than keeping up their illusions about Santa Claus,” she said.
More than 70 percent of America’s children have televisions in their bedrooms, put there by someone (presumably not Santa) who is less worried than is warranted about what children might be watching. The 9 p.m. news is tame compared with the content many children view today.
But mention that Santa isn’t real? Shhhhh.
As for the wee ones who may have heard Ms. Robinson’s indiscreet remark, every parent knows how to respond to that:
“Don’t worry, honey, you can’t believe everything you hear on the news.”