RICHARD ORD: When it comes to news, kids today are clowning around

‘I heard some news today,’ our Bradley informed his brother. ‘There’s a scary clown in Tynemouth who hides from stupid people. Have you seen him?’
'You ain't seen me, right?''You ain't seen me, right?'
'You ain't seen me, right?'

Our Isaac looked a little worried. ‘Yeah,’ Bradley pressed. ‘A scary clown that hides from stupid people. He’s around this area by all accounts. Have you seen him?’

‘No,’ said Isaac.

‘Thought that might be the case,’ Bradley laughed.

Not often they get together these days, but it never ceases to produce some mildly amusing banter. Isaac’s not one for news however. He may be 18 but news just isn’t for him.

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His brother pressed him again, this time on current affairs rather than made up jokes. ‘You do know we have a new prime minister, don’t you?’

Isaac wasn’t going to be drawn into a topical debate and tried to shut it down. ‘I don’t even know his name,’ he said.

A friend of mine is equally dismissive of news events. ‘I don’t really have time for that sort of stuff,’ she said. ‘I like to live in my own bubble.’

Which is fine. As long as you live in a relatively stable country, the majority of people can choose not to follow the news.

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You may regret it, however, if you look out of your window one day and see armed police rounding up people and chucking them into back of lorries never to be seen again. Or, as our Bradley suggested: ‘When you phone for an ambulance and they ask for your credit card details.’

‘Why didn't anyone tell me?’ just doesn’t cut it. But the world changes. Newspapers aren’t for the youth of today.

An Ofcom report released a few week ago revealed that Instagram was the most popular news source among teenagers, used by 29% of them in 2022, while 28% used TikTok and YouTube.

Well, at least they are getting their news from somewhere. Our Isaac, currently residing in Liverpool, gets his news from TikTok. He has been sending me posts on a regular basis.

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The last three showed kids winding up McDonald’s staff by shouting their orders at the top of their voices, a monkey trying to load cookies into an oven, and a golfer teeing off and knocking out a turkey.

If that’s what passes as news for our youngsters today, I suspect that scary clown may not be spotted for some time to come...