A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this topical news show is geared for 13- to 16-year-olds. Topics cover a wide range -- from hard-hitting facts about the Iraq war and life after Sept. 11 to ways to tell whether a boy or girl is right for you -- and are usually specifically tailored toward the teen audience: What if there's a draft? How has the SAT changed? How can you look your best when visiting colleges? The show is anchored and reported completely by teens (both boys and girls) from a range of diverse backgrounds. Some topics may be difficult for sensitive younger teens, and some mature teens may find the format corny -- but for most, this series presents a peer-oriented opportunity for them to learn about real happenings in their world.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The producers of TEEN KIDS NEWS are well aware of the key to success with the teen market: Teens relate best to other teens. So even though there are likely some experienced adults behind the camera, for the show's teen viewers, it's all about anchors/reporters Mwanzaa, Haley, Cody, Lily, Felipe, and Madeline. The show features crisp topical reporting by these sharp teens (one of them, Haley Cohen, is Paula Zahn's daughter). Each half-hour episode covers news, issues, sports, social action, and entertainment -- catering to its audience's ability to multitask, the show's segments jump from topic to topic. In just one installment, for example, everything from global warming, political election pressures, and new smoking studies to Tyra Banks, belly fat, and South African golfers was covered.
Is it any good?
Parents may be left bleary-eyed, but teens love the fast pace -- and it keeps their attention. Parents of sensitive or younger teens may need to keep an eye peeled for content that could be too much for them, but otherwise this is a lively show that gives teens something substantial to chew on. It's a great fit for kids who have outgrown Nick News but aren't quite ready for The Daily Show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the specific stories that are covered in each episode. Teens interested in a particular topic may want to dig up more information on the Internet or via a trip to the library. Mostly, parents need to be aware of potentially sensitive topics and make sure that kids who are exposed to these stories understand what's going on -- and have a chance to ask their own questions.
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