Act for Kids is urging parents and caregivers to monitor what their children are watching online and in the news as the Israel-Hamas war escalates.
We should be hypervigilant of children’s exposure to the coverage amid an influx of terrifying images circulating across social and traditional media.
Act for Kids CEO Dr Katrina Lines said it is important for parents to monitor this because children are especially sensitive to media coverage of disasters.
“They might worry the same sort of thing will happen to them and their family, and fail to understand where or how it’s happening,” Dr Lines said.
“It’s important to remind children, particularly younger ones, that this conflict isn’t happening in Australia.
“Reiterate to your children there’s no place for violence and hatred, and it’s never the answer in trying to resolve an argument.”
While parents may believe their children will ask questions when they see or hear something about the conflict, Act for Kids encourages a proactive approach.
Top tips for parents and caregivers:
- Don’t wait for your kids to come to you – keep the lines of communication open.
- Offer them the following advice: “If you do see anything that makes you upset or is really scary, turn your phone off and come and talk to me”.
- For younger children, show them a map of the world so they can understand the conflict is far away from Australia.
- For children in high school, engage them in a deeper conversation by asking what they know and how they feel about what’s happening.
- Remind your kids of the good and wonderful things happening every day that don’t make the news.
- Banning social media altogether might backfire – trying to hide things can make them seem more terrifying and can leave kids feeling like they can’t discuss issues openly.
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