World News For Kids

World News Resources For Kids Main

Turning on the evening news some nights can lead to a stream of violent or upsetting images which are not appropriate for younger kids. As a consequence we have chosen not to have the news on at our house when the younger kids are around. But I do want my kids to have an understanding of what is happening in the world around them. I feel it is important for them to obtain an understanding of the relatively privileged life we have here in Australia. Only through knowing how others live and the issues they face can they develop empathy and a willingness to want to help.

To find a balance between keeping the kids informed and filtering the information that they see, I have sought alternative news sources. There are many great resources that you can use to keep kids up to date with world news, that have been specifically designed for kids. They explain complex terms in simplified language so kids can understand the core meaning of the story. Here are a few of our favourites:

Behind The News

The Behind The News (BTN) program is almost an Australian icon. I remember watching this as a child at school. Unfortunately neither my 9 or 11 year old are watching it at school, so I record it each week for them to watch. BTN describes it self as “a high-energy, fun way for upper primary and secondary students to learn about current issues and events in their world.”

It screens weekly during school terms Tuesdays, on ABC1 at 10am and Wednesdays on ABC1 at 10.30am. If you are not in Australia you can watch full episodes online via the videos section. Each episode has a Teacher’s Resource, which can be freely accessed by parents. Resources each week include activities for specific stories, discussion questions and a transcript of the featured stories.

The questions provided are excellent and help extend cricitical and analytical thinking of kids. Here are the questions from a story earlier this year on Blood Diamonds:

1. Discuss the main issues raised in the Blood diamonds story.
2. What do diamonds symbolise in our society? Think about images and references in advertising, movies, songs and magazines.
3. What was the cause of the civil war in some parts of Africa?
4. During the civil war, diamonds were often swapped for _____________.
5. How were kids involved in the conflict?
6. Explain the term `blood diamond’.
7. What happened when the world found out about blood diamonds?
8. How do consumers know that they are purchasing `conflict free’ diamonds?
9. Describe Naomi Campbell’s involvement with blood diamonds.
10. How did this story make you feel?

For those of you on twitter you can follow BTN at BehindTheNews.

Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is an interactive onilne news magazine. It is American based, but it does cover world news in both short news bulletins and more in depth reports as illustrated in these two recent examples:

For those who use an RSS reader you can keep up to date with all the latest news with Scholastic News Online RSS Feed.

What other sources do you use to keep kids up to date with world news?


  1. says

    I loved watching BTN at school! I never forgot it and was happy to see it was still on when we forgot to turn it over to ABC2 one morning. There are lots of great programs for kids on at that time of day on ABC1. I know after all the recent flooding, which Princess had seen on the evening news, there was a program about floods and she was very taken with it.

    Princess watches the news with us, but is generally “involved” with other things, colouring or dancing in front of the tv. She loves Alan Kohler who does the finance report (we watch ABC1) and ADORES Kerry O’Brien (er, yes, she IS an odd child!). Tonight whilst it was on she looked up at one point and said “Oh, it’s Julia Gillet.” LOL, but I am sure that at 4 I would not have known who the Prime Minister was.

    I am not much of a podcaster myself (I try not to do to much to use up our download limit), but I think, once she gets older I would be interested in giving that BBC one a go. Dadda is always raving about their podcasts on so many different fields.

  2. says

    I loved BTN too! We don’t actually watch news, we stopped when the big girl started getting upset and haven’t replaced it – I tend to get my news from Twitter or online newspapers. It’s something I need to start thinking about, big girl is very interested in other countries and places and we often look them up on the net. She’d be very interested in knowing what is happening.

  3. says

    Thanks for the great links. I too used to watch BTN in school. I have seen it on ABC since I’ve had kids and it seems a great resources. I like the idea of introducing some of these resources rather than having children watch the nightly news, which can be unbalanced coverage at times.

  4. says

    My girls usually watch “News On 3 Update” on ABC 3 during their 30 minutes of TV time after school. It is short and child friendly and on at a good time for school kids –

    I try to watch it with the girls so we can talk about anything that comes up.

  5. says

    Arrhhh vivid memories of watching Behind the News at school in the late 80’s! These programs are fantastic for school kids, and start giving them a grounding in current affairs, thanks for reminding me of this area of education.

  6. says

    My eldest watches BTN at school. It’s actually quite useful for me to use what is being shown on BTN as a measure of what she is ready to discuss. I sometimes forget how grown up she is becoming and if the ‘professionals at the ABC’ have seen fit to include something I might not think she is ready for, then perhaps it is my perspective that needs to be updated.

    Fantastic list of resources BTW!