In our always-on digital world, technology has made all of us,
including the youngest among us, virtual witnesses to disturbing
scenes and violence that stream live or move through social feeds in
real-time—such as during the recent attack within the U.S. Capitol,
where five people died and members of Congress were in grave
With kids spending more time than ever online right now, thanks to remote schooling, and with disturbing imagery dominating the news, sometimes they stumble upon these visuals before they—or you—know what happened. Because there is worry violence will continue over the coming weeks, extra screen time vigilance, particularly for younger kids, may be in order. Given our ongoing contact with phones, tablets, and TVs, we may again have to reckon with almost instantaneous, graphic accounts of events, including live video or images posted as they occur.
Kids and teens are understandably scared and upset when they see acts of extreme violence—from school shootings to terrorist attacks at concerts or gatherings—especially when other young people are involved. Older girls may try to bury their feelings of fear or sadness, but those feelings will only fester and become larger problems if they're not dealt with. Younger kids who don’t have the context to understand what’s going on will often fill in the blanks with the most frightening and worst-possible scenarios. That’s why it’s so important that parents don’t dismiss their kids' worries by saying, “Don’t worry about that,” or “Oh, that’s nothing.”
We need to have honest, direct conversations with all our children to acknowledge that scary things happen but also to assure them that you and others are working to keep them safe.
Here are a few tips for how you can have these conversations in your own home.
Most of all, take the time to give your daughter some extra love and support. Her feelings are probably complicated and confusing to her right now—but knowing she's got you on her team will help her through this.
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