Helping kids through mass traumatic events
Trauma and Mass Media
October 3, 2017
How can you protect your child, or teen from being overly exposed to traumatic events depicted by mass media? Setting boundaries and open communication can be effective ways to reduce negative thoughts, and feelings such as anxiety, fear and stress especially when being exposed to images, and information that is repetitive and graphic (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2009). Try to limit your child or teen’s exposure by structuring the home environment that enhances feelings of safety, and relaxation by making pleasurable activities easily accessible such as setting up a craft table, playing relaxing music or having a basket of enjoyable movies, or books that are age appropriate (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2009). Practice communicating with your child, and teen in a simple and non-graphic manner by sticking to the facts while allowing space for them to comfortably express how they have experienced the traumatic event whether it be through verbal discussion, drawing a picture or journalling (Maker, 2017). By validating and reassuring their concerns, it can send the message that you are available to them with an open heart, and mind and are willing to help them see hope even in the midst of tragedy.
Justine Nowosiadly B.A., M.A.
Justine is a child, youth and family therapist who currently works at Family Kinnections’ private practice office in Oakville and Hamilton Ontario. She specializes in ADHD, anxiety, anger management, loss and grief, self-esteem and social skills development among others.
Maker, A., H. (2017). Support Kids Who Lost A Loved One In The Vegas Mass Shooting. Helping Kids Cope. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/helping-kids-cope/201710/support-kids-who-lost-loved-one-in-the-vegas-mass-shooting?collection=1107230
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2009). Arson Fires: Tips for Parents on Media Coverage. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/Arson_Fires_Media_Tips_for_Parents_0.pdf