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Amid pandemic and shelter in place, how much news should kids consume?


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Judy Woodruff: Many families, we're learning, are finding it a challenge in deciding how much coronavirus news is too much when it comes to their children and teenagers.

With the televisions in many households on around the clock, it's tough to shield kids from the constant stream of reporting.

At the same time, many teens may not be taking the pandemic as seriously as they should.

Tonight, author Kelly Corrigan shares her Humble Opinion on how to keep children safe.

Kelly Corrigan: If you're a parent of a teenager, shelter-in-place is a strange and serious gift.

By now, we have all seen the images of the hard-headed spring breakers shoulder to shoulder in Florida. And friends across the country tell me that they're still going toe to toe with their kids over every conceivable outing.

At my house, quarantine began with my teenager suggesting a darty, which is a daytime party. She thought it'd be so fun. They could serve Coronas and quarantinis.

No chance, I said.

There were tears. Apparently, we were the only parents who were psycho about this new virus.

"Anyway, kids don't even get sick," she said, relying on information that's been proven to be outdated.

Then came shelter in place, and our Bay Area town was sequestered. At that point, our teenagers' pleas became much smaller. "Can I go to dinner for one hour with one friend? Can I watch TV all afternoon? Can we please not talk about coronavirus after 5:00 p.m.?"

The theme of all their requests was the same: escape. Can we, they seemed to be asking, turn our back on the world map blowing up with hot spots?

We can. We can play rummy 500 and read books and rewatch "The Office" from the beginning. We can paint each other's toenails and make up dance routines and learn to draw.

As far as kids go, even kids old enough to dream up quarantinis, my husband and I decided that a steady stream of information may be less of a comfort and more of a high-speed on-ramp to unmanageable stress. It's our job to stay up to date, not theirs.

So, while they deal another hand, we check quickly the CDC Web site or read the notes from the latest press conference.

Some future day, we can talk like the adults they damn near are about what happened to the world in the spring of 2020. We can look carefully about how it might have been handled better and who the heroes of the moment were.

But, for now, in our family bunker, I say, bring on the distractions and let the daily escape begin.

Judy Woodruff: Author and parent Kelly Corrigan.

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