At this age, the difference between a child who was not exposed to TV programs and certainly not to fiction programs like cartoons and other movies shows clearly.
Children who did not watch fiction but did eventually watch other age appropriated videos like documentaries, show quick interest in non-fiction programs. In a second grade class for example, one would quickly noticed who are the children over-exposed to television and to fiction in particular. Those children have a hard time watching documentaries. And it is too bad, as there is some really good one out there, starting with the DK series. Those are a great resource for teachers who can illustrate many subjects with documentaries.
News could be fun and interesting to watch for those children starting second grade, depending of which news!
As a French person, I do not watch American news. First of all, I cannot stand the multiple commercial cuts and I would never expose my children to this constant brainwashing. So, I am indeed watching French news which are never, ever, interrupted by commercials. Because I am watching the news via the internet, I can select which subjects are appropriate to my children. And there is a few each time. Like the discovery of bones of a new species of human or the eruption of a volcano or the importance of eating vegetables…
At 7 years old, children really start to show interested about the world around them; they have so many questions in their head and are hungry for knowledge. Television as well as the internet can be a great tool if parents do select closely which programs their children are watching and take the time to speak about those programs with them during or after watching them.
This media education should be natural in every home as much as teaching our children good eating habits. Both of those take time, energy and commitment, and it is worth it.