Be Careful when Recycling Newspapers (so X-rated for children)

The picture didn’t bother me at all and my little one is more than used to see a woman naked. But I checked the rest of the newspaper and the truth is that the lingerie was the most naive picture in it. On the other pages, there were police handcuffing a man, dead bodies on the street and a bleeding man taken to an ambulance.

What kind of newspapers are you reading? You might ask. Physical newspapers, none really. I only read online. And to be more honest, I go on a healthy information diet. I read what interests me, I actively seek the information that suits me.

And guess what? This doesn’t prevent me from knowing the breaking news just a few hours after it happened. It’s quite difficult to hide from big news, actually. Apart from that, newspapers are unhygienic!

On the other hand, I do like to get old newspapers and take a peek sometimes. It always amuses me how reading an old newspaper doesn’t look like reading old news. How odd is that? But the best use for old newspapers, in my opinion, is using them for art, painting, and wrapping up presents. If you want to teach to read well to your children, you better stick to top-notch programs like Whooos Reading. Then, you won’t run the risk of your children seeing dubious content.

When we bought our latest present and asked the woman at the store if she had some old newspapers, she thought it was rather strange that I´d use it to wrap the present we just bought. ¨You can buy a beautiful paper in the other store¨, she said. But I said: ¨Yeah, but it makes me feel bad to use it only once…¨ I didn’t expect her to understand. It’s also a great money lesson to teach your child.

The problem with asking anyone for old newspapers is the level of pictures we will find in them. Now I have to censor some pages, so my girl won’t see anything terrible. I’m doing such a good job by not having a TV already, this shouldn’t go to waste with some sensationalist newspaper, right? Sure. online news has its learning obstacles as well and may well be not the best for phonics knowledge development, but still…

Those pictures made me wonder about the images that children all around are exposed to. I read a sort of weekly news-magazine at my dad’s house a while ago, and I was astonished at the pictures inside of it. One occupied almost two pages with decapitated bodies in Mexico, a story about the gangs fighting over drug markets. Others had war images, ugly ones. I’ve been so off of the mainstream media that I forgot how shitty it was.

And I´m so not used to see horrible pictures that when I do, it really affects me. I stare at the picture trying to understand why this is all happening. It breaks my heart for real and I keep seeing the image in my head for a while. I guess something much more intense than this goes on in a child’s mind. See also this post about Phonemic Awareness that will explain more. Its all about learning opportunities, isn’t it?

I´m horrified at the possibility of children facing this type of magazine or newspaper (or the news on TV, the action movies, the soap operas…). What if she saw it? What horrible nightmares could come from that? What distorted perceptions of reality they can produce? Keeping my child away from these ugly images is more or less easy, what’s really bad is knowing that some children are used to see these sort of ugly images. Early childhood teachers understand the importance of this issue. Definitely!