To better protect and heal children from trauma and its emotional impact

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PROTECT YOUR FAMILY’S MENTAL HEALTH: Turn off Media Coverage of Trauma

Monday, November 20th, 2017

We have seen so many images of traumatic events recently and, sadly, will likely see more. It is important for people to understand how the repeated exposure to these violent and disturbing events can affect mental health, security, and well being for children and adults.

Here is what we know:

  • For young children, repeated exposure is frightening because they do not always understand that it is the same thing being played over and over; thus, they think attacks are happening over and over
  •  For all older children and adults, repeated media exposure to trauma coverage is associated with PTSD and depression symptoms

Here’s what you can do to protect your children and yourself from traumatic stress as a result of media exposure:

  1. Limit exposure to all media coverage of trauma
  2. Do not keep news programs running during family time
  3. Monitor your children’s screen time and content
  4. Be the source of information for your children:
  • Ask what they know
  • Tell them what happened in the simplest language appropriate for their developmental level
  • Answer only the questions they ask—children ask questions in the format of the language they understand

If you want to learn more about talking to young children about difficult topics, check out the Child HELP Partnership prevention program at: http://www.childhelppartnership.org/information-and-support/what-is-keys/