Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

The Boston Tragedy: One Simple Suggestion for Our Kids

We have a chance to prevent unnecessary harm by reducing exposure to media.

This post is in response to
Helping Children Cope After the Boston Maraton Bombing

With news of the explosions during today’s Boston Marathon, there will be much to learn in the coming days (and weeks and months) about this unspeakably horrible tragedy. Our capable media will undoubtedly cover this news and will bring additional insights as well as images into the public sphere. There are already vivid pictures that have tweeted their ways into our various devices. Surely there is much to be learned and discussed.

There is something we know for certain when it comes to excessive media exposure to disasters and other traumatic events: it isn’t good for our kids. As the cable news channels continue to show ever-more-vivid clips of the explosions, we need to tune in to our children (more than the television) and make sure such exposure doesn’t increase their anxiety. Preschool-age children, in particular, often lack the capacity to put violent images in perspective and may be unnecessarily alarmed by images that they see. This may lead to fears about their own safety and such youngsters may be clingy and fear separation from caregivers. When repeated clips of terror are shown, we can be drawn into believing that such incidents occur more frequently than they do. Abstract thinking adults can reasonably conclude that this is false; children cannot.

Time will tell whether anything might have prevented the tragedy in Boston today. We have an opportunity to prevent additional harm by limiting screen violence with young children. For some additional ideas on helping children cope with the Boston tragedy, see Professor Eugene Beresin's informative post.

© 2013, Bruce C. Poulsen, All Rights Reserved.

advertisement