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Home > Medical Services > Employee Assistance Program (EAP) > Employee Resources & Support > EAP Educational Articles > How to Talk to Children About Real-Life Violence on Social Media
Children who are exposed to social media will see articles, photos and videos related to violence and may panic about it happening to them. As a parent or guardian, you can’t control what’s on social media, but you can check in with and reassure your child. Below are a few tips on how to talk with your child about real-life violence shared through social media.
Learning about a violent action that could happen to them – like school shootings, an amusement park ride crash/malfunction or natural disasters – makes children start to worry about their safety. Having reassurance from their parents can help children feel protected by knowing you’re there for them. A simple hug, calming voice and knowing you’re there for them can comfort and relax their anxieties.
A kindergartener vs. a high school senior will understand and see the world from a different view. Based on their age and your judgment, explain the situation if they have questions. You want your child to be informed but not escalate their worries. Explaining how low of a probability of that happening to them could comfort them and provide them with a realistic point of view.
As time passes, your child may have more questions or feel distraught. Some children won’t tell their parents when something is bothering them, so make sure to check in with them about how they’re feeling. You can ask simple questions, such as how they slept the night before, what they had for lunch or if anything interesting happened at school that day. If their answers or behavior seems out of the ordinary, you’ll know something is bothering them. It’s important to encourage them to talk to you but don’t force them.
Your child may have been affected by what they viewed, so it’s important to make their personal life as normal as possible. By following their normal routine – going to school, attending extracurriculars and having family dinners – your child will have stability and normalcy, which is what they need after viewing something upsetting.
Having your child talk to a child therapist can encourage them to talk in a safe space. The therapist can provide them with coping mechanisms if needed.