With the Summer Olympics, the presidential election season, and a new school year, 2012 is a year full of news and media. Massive news coverage on our country's political issues and coverage on foreign events may be a great opportunity for children to learn all that's going on in the world, but everything from violent images to inappropriate commercials cause parents to take pause.

We've rounded up resources and tips on kids, media, and how to decide whether or not they should be allowed to watch the evening news.

  • How to Evaluate Age Appropriate Media from Momtastic has a great list of questions for parents to ask themselves when it comes to discerning what media they allow children to view. Moral message, advertising, and how well your child can comprehend the content are included as important considerations for moms and dads.
     
  • The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence has links to relevant websites and resources for families who are concerned about children's exposure to media violence. Resources include a link to Kids & the Media from the American Psychological Association, which includes recent research on the effects of television and media on children of all ages.
     
  • Last year, the Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning published Quality Matters: Defining Developmentally Appropriate Media Use for Young Children. Whether it's news or just an entertaining television program, children still spend lots of hours in front of a television set — with additional hours on a hand-held mobile device.
     
  • CNN Student News is a website geared toward students with current news video and article. Parents and teachers can use the education resources and guides to help students explore geography, politics, and explanations of current events in the news.
     
  • Connecting Kids to News from Lifetime Television's The Balancing Act features eLearn Assignments, a "web application that uses online news articles to improve students' reading, writing, and thinking skills."

News Programs and Children: Tips for Moms and Dads

  1. Set a limit on television watching and time spent on hand-held devices. Make sure you are being the example.
     
  2. Select news articles from the newspaper or online news that you feel are appropriate for your child to read. Read through them together and discuss the issues.
     
  3. Don't forget about the time of day. Commercials during prime time (and sometimes during the day) are often not appropriate for young children.
     
  4. Screen first. It's hard to preview current news, but not impossible. Internet news coverage makes it easy to select videos for your children by you watching them first.

More resources on families, children, and media: