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Kid-Centered News Shows Aim To Help Children Understand COVID-19

Experts, news outlets and even Vice President Pence’s daughter are working to create kid-centered news programs during the pandemic.
Posted at 4:03 PM, Apr 24, 2020

With constantly changing public health guidelines and massive amounts of misinformation, it's hard for anyone to really understand the news around COVID-19. 

For kids, the news cycle can feel even more complex.

Betsy Zorio of Save the Children told Newsy: "Some kids love to have all the information; other kids, the simplest of answers will do."

Experts, news outlets and even Vice President Pence's daughter are working to create kid-centered news programs. 

Charlotte Pence Bond: "I wanted to do something that was going to explain a little bit about what we were hearing in press briefings every day and on the news." 

Charlotte Pence Bond started "Littles News Briefing" as a YouTube series and podcast to teach kids about COVID-19. 

Pence Bond: "We have kids calling in or sending videos from all over the country. So I want to make sure I'm not just telling them what the federal guidelines are and telling them to go to their state websites and figure out what that is."

The series is produced by the conservative media company Ricochet. And while Vice President Pence does make an appearance in the first episode, "Littles News Briefing" is independent from the White House.

"Will From Home": "I gotta tell you, Ava. I don't think you need to worry about the tooth fairy."

New series like Snapchat's "Will From Home" or NBC's "Nightly News: Kids Edition" are also responding to the need to inform younger children about the pandemic. 

Other organizations like the News Literacy Project are bolstering the resources they've been developing for years. 

Peter Adams, News Literacy Project: "In the spring of 2016, we launched something called the 'Checkology Virtual Classroom.' This is the News Literacy Project's e-learning platform, where we now have 13 lessons hosted by different subject matter experts, guiding students through topics in news literacy."

In response to the pandemic, the News Literacy Project dropped its paywall for self-quarantined parents, teachers and students. The organization notes news literacy is especially important now because of the "intense public curiosity" and misinformation about COVID-19.

Beyond news literacy concerns, advocates at Save the Children say that better informing kids can help them cope, too.

Zorio: "Remind your child that this is why we're not going to school. This is why we're washing our hands. ... All of those messages that we've heard ad nauseam at this point are actually really helpful for the child to understand that they have some control over this themselves."