“And now, the weather”

When my ex-wife takes the children home from playgroup she puts on the news. The children like it. The local news is full of stuff about trains, farming and traffic and roads and so they see… erm, trains, tractors and cars. Lots of cars. Different modes of transport and, as you know, kids love that stuff.

They also like the weather. I put the TV on last night and caught the best bit of the local news. The weather forecast. It’s the best bit as the weather person on Look East is a total, cast iron, 100% fitty. I’ve posted a picture above lest you not believe me. Plus I couldn’t find an image I wanted to put with this post that would be appropriate.

So last night we had the end of the news on and I was distracted from lusting over the sight of Alex in her tight red dress as T was pointing to the map and saying ‘Look Daddy! This is where we live! And it’s going to be a lovely day! Seventeen. Fifteen. Look. The sun!’

This is good isn’t it? The news is educational. This is good.

But.

I’ve just sent an email to my ex-wife asking her to not put on the TV tonight. I’m probably being silly but today is September 11th and a day which will always be known for a horrific act of violence. A moment when the world changed. And not in a good way.

I can only think to myself how I feel when I see the footage again. Sick. Shocked, again. As shocked as I was the first time I saw it. As I was when all this news came out and tore apart my headbox and all that sat nicely in it.  This moment which caused the death of so many people immediately, and many more in the years to come.

I can imagine, to a 3 year old, seeing this footage by accident might be exciting. A plane flying fast into a building. Quick Cut. Another plane flying into another building. Explosions. Quick cut. Building falling down. Fire engines moving at speed. Sirens wailing. WOO WOO WOO!

WOW! To a 3 year old? WOW!

Then the cut to the people screaming. The rubble. The dust and people running. The fear. The utter fear on everyone’s faces. The shrieks, the screams. The utter horror of it all.

Look East, might not have a piece about this. But you never know. If a Belgian man found a frozen Mammoth in Siberia, Look East would probably try to cover it from a local angle, and find some tenuous connection to make it newsworthy.

“A Belgian man who once spent four hours in STEVENAGE has recently unearthed a frozen Mammoth in…”

You get the picture. It’s local news.

And so, today, I can’t be sure that Look East wouldn’t find a story about someone local who died in this tragic event. Or someone who knew someone who did. Or someone who was on holiday who tells their recollection of what they were doing at this time. And then they show the footage. The footage that no-one wants to see again but news producers seem to have a bizarre fascination with.

My children have enough time in their lives to learn of the horrors of this world. The world is a scary place at times and, they travel on planes quite frequently. Soon their mummy will be flying to the US for work. I don’t want them seeing this, and hearing that, and suddenly having nightmares.

I don’t want them seeing it full stop. Not now.

Am I being over protective? All comments and views would be very welcome.

 

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12 responses to ““And now, the weather”

  1. I always think issues about children hearing and seeing scary things are really difficult. I think ultimately it’s one of those things that just requires that all important parent judgement call as to what is right for your particular children in your particular family.
    I used to teach 4 and 5 years olds and the issue would come up every year as to how Rememberance would be dealt with. My head teacher felt very strongly that it shouldn’t be covered in the early years class as it would upset the children. I disagree. The neighbouring town to the one that I taught in has a huge army barracks, Rememberance would be a big deal for those families and I can’t imagine for a second it would be deemed too scary for the early years class. The world IS scary, that is the reality, and for military families they deal with that reality on a day to day basis.
    Which is why I say it completely depends on the family, and the children. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be showing my little boy 9/11 footage until he was old enough to begin to understand it. Although as an adult I still can’t get my head around it, so I do wonder how I would ever begin to explain.
    It’s not overprotective of you, it’s parental of you. And natural.

    Oh and I have to agree, the Look East weather lady is a bit of a fitty! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, and for your insight. I hadn’t thought about Rememberance. I was trying to explain the concept of fighting = bad to T the other day when he got two soft toys and he made them fight each other, and somehow we ended up talking about war. Dunno how. Based on my explanation he told me ‘war is silly Daddy’ and I immediately felt this was not the conversation to have, but somehow we ended up there.

  2. No, I don’t think you are being over-protective. Your children are still very young and as you say, have enough time to learn how evil this world can be. There will come an age when it will be more appropriate but it my opinion, that isn’t when they are at primary school, never mind pre-schoolers.

    I can vividly remember the first time I got upset at watching the news and it was on hearing the torture and murder of Jamie Bulger. I was the same age as his killers and my sister was the same age as Jamie, even now that still makes me cry. Likewise with 9/11.

  3. My eldest was 5 when it happened, and I remember getting in from school with her and finding a message from my best friend on the answer phone simply saying ‘turn on your tv’ . My first thought on seeing it was that someone had dropped a nuclear bomb on new York. The truth wasnt an awful lot better. I watched open mouthed a few minutes before remembering the small person stood next to me. Luckily she could comprehend what had happened even less than I had and I quickly tuned it off and busied her with some toys. I remember panicking that the world was a much scarier place than it has been that morning.

    I try to protect my babies from the grim realities of life where possible. Such a shame they ever have to learn, but babies as young as yours don’t have the ability to comprehend it yet. So I agree with your choice. Then as they get older I want them to learn to stand up for what is right. And hopefully they can make the world a little bit less shit and a little bit more safe for their own babies. Xxxx

  4. I totally agree with you, there will be a time
    In their lives when they will learn what happened and will hopefully be old
    enough to understand a little more but we should definitely shelter our children as long as possible from what they don’t need to know xx

  5. I posted a blog post about kids and TV this morning, and agree, even the news is inappropriate for children to be watching at times. My eldest is 9 years old and when the riots in London were happening we had to turn the news off because it was upsetting him to the extent that he couldn’t sleep.

  6. Oh gosh I think I will be keeping the TV off myself tonight. You are not over protective at all.
    You are showing really good foresight and being very proactive which is admirable.
    Liska x

  7. I don’t think you are being over protective. My son is only 13 months and he still sees the beauty in excitement in everything. I want him to keep that innocence for as long as possible as it never seems to last long enough! I don’t think you should ignore it if it comes up but showing them the footage isn’t necessary in my opinion,

    x

  8. No you’re not being overprotective (or if you are, it’s not a bad thing). 2 days before my wedding we went to the hotel to give them table plans etc and saw on BBC 24 that Gadaffi had been killed. My mum said, “Ooooh look, now we’ll always remember your wedding!” which is a typical thing for my mum to say….! Anyway the next day my sister, 4 year old niece and best friend (bridesmaids) came up and we went to the local shop to get some treats for dinner. All the newspapers had a picture of Gadaffi’s bloodied corpse on the front and my niece was starting to look at them. In the end my sister asked me to take her outside because a 4 year old should not have to see that. She may not have even noticed, but we weren’t taking the risk.

    I also remember when the Hillsborough disaster was all over the papers I was 8 and my Nan and I were out shopping. I remember looking at the picture of people jammed against the fence and being really freaked out. My Nan said “Look at that woman’s lovely long nails!” to try and take my mind off it but to me the lovely long nails were clawing at a fence desperate to get out.

    I think you definitely did the right thing.

  9. (Came across your blog via the blow your own blog horn blog hop)

    I’m increasingly conscious of this at the moment – while I don’t tend to put the TV on much, I am a bit of a Radio4 addict, so the Today programme, PM, or 6 o’clock news tend to be on at some point in the day in our kitchen. The kids never used to pay attention, but every now and then I do wonder how much they are picking up about another story of a family being murdered, human trafficking, rape, etc etc. It’s really quite horrific if you stop and think about it, although as an adult I do think you get a little more immune or distanced.

    It’s so hard because we all want to protect our children from the horrors of life, but we can’t wrap them in cotton wool and leave them oblivious to dangers of road traffic for example.

    Only you can know your child well enough to know how much to tell them, so I’m always in favour of filtering in an age-appropriate fashion.

    • Good point. It is hard to know how much they pick up and understand but I think they can wait this one out for a few years. On my watch at least.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  10. What happens though when ‘Breaking news’ comes on television when your children are watching something innocent and you are in another room? Certainly I agree that a 3 year old shouldn’t be watching news about the demise of the twin towers with all those innocent people but you cannot shield them from everything. All you can do is be there for them and explain that there are some bad people out there, but you are always going to be there for them and protect them.

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