|Updated: 7/20/2012 5:53 pm
||Published: 7/20/2012 3:36 pm
Seeing a violent news story over and over can be very traumatic for young children.
As the story is being played repeatedly a small child thinks the violence just keeps reoccurring. It’s important to remember that children process information so differently than adults, and seeing the same video multiple times can be extremely frightening.
“Around the 9-11 incident, when kids were watching those buildings come down over and over again, they were thinking there were more attacks than their actually were,” says Carrie Little, education and community relations director for Family & Children’s Services.
Images like those are hard to forget, but for a young child trying to process and understand what they are seeing is even harder. Instead of seeing it as one event, children will often view news footage as several events.
Krystal Williams is a mother to three children. Her oldest child understands what a news story is like the recent Colorado shootings.
"My six year old gets it and she's very concerned for other people, especially if it's in Tulsa,” says Williams.
Experts say when traumatic events happen, it’s important to talk with your child. Let the information come from you rather than allowing them to watch it on TV over and over.
"They're very imaginative and it's always better for you to give them some facts, than it is for them to fill in the gaps with their own imagination with what they're seeing on TV,” says Little.
Also, reassure them everything will be okay and that you as a parent will always protect them. It’s also a good idea to keep their routine the same.
"Again, anything that is different around that time period when the tragedy occurred is going to make them imagine the worst in their head,” Little says.
Although it might go against your natural instinct, you don’t want to completely shield your child from the hard facts.