Some days back, when I was watching international news on the TV, my 10-year old daughter who had just came back from her school commented very casually…”Mom, why are you watching news? There is nothing but violence and natural disasters in the news – theft, fighting, earthquake and so on”…

I was zapped and taken aback by her so-innocent-and-straight-out-of-the-heart remark. Is this what today’s kids think about the current affairs? They are good as a student but beyond that how much they know about the world around them? Will they be able to make informed decisions without knowing about current affairs? Am I missing something as a parent?

When I asked her again about what she thinks NEWS is all about. She said, “Reporters and Photographers go around the world, capture serious incidents like terrorism etc. – sometimes some funny stuff also they capture and publish it on TV / Radio / Newspapers.” After saying this, she showed no further interest and again got busy with her own thing.

My daughter is an avid reader and she reads loads of books so I was always under the impression that she has fair idea of what’s happening in the world. What I didn’t know was – that she thinks only negative affairs means current affairs and kids as such need not pay much attention to this. These things are only for adults!

Am not an exception actually! As many as 63% parents are under the impression that their kids know about current affairs. In reality, 74% kids rarely or never read news as per the survey conducted by four Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students as part of a news literacy campaign, Join The Current. This survey included a set of 300 upper primary and lower secondary students and 300 parents.

Some of the Key Survey Findings were as below:
 
● 74% of Singaporean teens* rarely or never read, watch or listen to the news
● 1 in 3 of them are not curious about world events
● Reasons include: Lack of interest (80%), No time (13 %), Do not know how to (5%), Others (2%)
● However, 63 % of parents reported otherwise, stating that their children tune in to the news every
one to two days
● Of all the sources teens turned to for news information, the most commonly cited was “family”
● While 75% of parents are interested in incorporating news into their children’s outofclassroom
education, 50% of them have not tried to do so

● Top reasons include: Parents do not know how to, parents have no time 

The term “teens” refer to pre-teens as well. (kids around 10-14 years old)

I can’t agree more with the findings actually! In the digital era of today, there is an Information Explosion and as a parent, we really need to help our kids to filter out the unnecessary and focus on the relevant information. Somehow, due to lack of time, presumptions, we might be missing this aspect.

What is Join the Current?

Join the Current initiative is a News Literacy Campaign that is launched with an objective to engage kids to develop interest and awareness in current affairs. It also hopes to make parents know the importance and relevance of current affairs for their kids.

The campaign’s key messages are:
 
● Children need to recognize their identities as global citizens, beyond their identities as students
● Knowledge in current affairs and information literacy go hand in hand
● An interest in current affairs is essential for children to form informed opinions about the world around them
Through the campaign, the team hopes to create a national conversation around young students developing a curiosity for current affairs, thereby shaping future generations of active citizens and an informed public.
First launched in December 2015, the campaign consists of various outreach activities that will run until March 2016.
 
The moment I learnt about Join the Current, I immediately decided to be a part of it. There are many organizations that have come forward to support Join the Current.
 
 
Behind Join the Current, there is a bright team of four NTU students. While interacting with them, for this blog post, I found them full of commitment, enthusiasm and eager to outreach as many parents and kids. Personally, I give two thumbs-up to Join the Current to identify and address the importance of current affairs for kids.
 
Join the Current has made several efforts to outreach parents and kids. 
 
  • The team has produced a handbook, “The Current Compendium”, designed to introduce current affairs in a fun and palatable manner with heavy use of graphics and colorful design. [we are giving away 10 sets of this]
  • Join the Current has conducted Curiosity Box Experiment, set up booths at Edusave Merit Bursary Award Ceremonies.
  • They have also conducted school campaigns.
  • Join The Current is also cohosting a series of literacy programs titled ‘Reel VS Real’ with the National Library Board for students aged 10-14. These programs are tailored to garner interest in our targeted age group through a movie screening and engaging games. News articles and current affairs topics are incorporated as activity materials to build the students’ information bank. This is a pilot NLB initiative to teach information literacy skills to preteens. If successful, it may be brought into schools island-wide.
  • They have touch based with various newspapers to spread a word about Join the Current and make parents and kids aware. Here is an article on the Straits Times – http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/students-learn-about-news-and-how-to-get-it

 
I am looking forward to Join the Current’s NLB outreach become mainstream. That would be a game changer for parents and kids.
Why I pledge to Join the Current?
 
  • I am a parent of a primary school kid
  • I feel the urgent need to make my kid aware of news, current affairs in the genuine manner and I don’t want her to learn about the world through diluted, twisted gossips / hearsay / rumors
  • I want my kid not to lose curiousity and to ask me questions about current affairs
  • I would like my kid to use the knowledge about the world around her to make informed decisions in the day-to-day life and act wisely
  • I am of the opinion that my kid would use the current affairs knowledge even in school assignments, projects and exams. Example: in English compos.
  • Along with my kid, I myself want to be in touch with the latest happenings in Singapore and world over – technology, politics, sports, entertainment and so on.

I have already started doing a few things to Join the Current.


Find more information about Join the Current here –

and the Giveaway…

So are you a mom / dad? do you have the urge to empower your kid with the knowledge about the world around him / her? not sure how to get started?

Join our giveaway then. As many as 10 lucky parents will be getting this exclusive Join the Current bag packed with loads of goodies for you and your kid – vouchers, badges, stationery items, food n drinks, some other surprises and most importantly plenty of helpful resources to make your kid embark the journey of knowing about current affairs!!

1. LIKE Join the Current page [https://www.facebook.com/JoinTheCurrent]

2. LIKE and SHARE the video The Curiosity Box Experiment

[https://www.facebook.com/JoinTheCurrent/videos/1749780858591186/]

3. Fill up your details here  [http://www.rainbowdiaries.com/contact.html]