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News of What Happens Far Away Doesn’t Stay Far Away

News of What Happens Far Away Doesn’t Stay Far Away

The website for New York City Insider Guide listing for October 2017 events in New York City included Giants and Jets football, Nets and Knicks basketball, Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, Wine & Food Festival, Halloween, Columbus Day Parade and New York Television Festival, plus concerts by Katy Perry, Guns N’ Roses, Ed Sheeran, Tony Bennett, Bruno Mars, Billy Joel, Imagine Dragons, and Jerry Seinfeld. 

NOT on the list of planned events for the month was a motorist plowing a pickup truck down a crowded bike path along the Hudson River in Manhattan and crashing into a school bus.  That incident on Tuesday, October 31, resulted in several people dying and several others being injured.

Acts of human violence and terrorism tend to create uncertainty, fear and insecurity in people, including children.  Incidents such as what happened in New York City earlier this week can induce several stressors for children:
                - sudden and unexpected confusion associated with such events
                - the potential for altered life routines or mental patterns because of news media coverage
                - increased patterns of stress experienced by their parents or other adults in their lives
                - worry about the possible impact on themselves or others they know

Parents and other adults are critical in helping children deal with the stress of terrorist events. One way to help is by providing a healthy and positive example for children.  Adults should be informed, but not dwell at length on the events.

It is also important for the adults to create a supportive environment by maintaining a sense of security in our own homes and environments.  For example, we want to make every effort to continue our healthy routines at home. We also want to avoid overexposure to TV, radio, and social media news coverage of the events. 

Though children’s maturity varies, a general guide is that children under age 8 should be shielded from media coverage of disturbing news events.  American Academy of Pediatrics CEO Karen Remley, has warned against exposing kids to news reports: "As pediatricians, we know that violence can have lasting effects on children even if they are only learning about it through the media. The AAP urges everyone to take care with the images that children see and hear about."

When children ask questions, they deserve answers that are crafted to be direct and tailored to provide them with information that is appropriate to their age and maturity level. Encouraging them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, and listening to them and their concerns is essential. 

Reliable resources for additional information on this topic, age-specific guidance, and related topics such as the short-term and long-term effects of children being indirectly exposed to violence in news, media, and video games include:

  - Nat’l. Center for Biotech. Information/ National Institutes of Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803729/)
  - American Academy of Pediatrics (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/5/1495)
  - PBS (http://www.pbs.org/parents/talkingwithkids/news/)
  -Talking to Children About Terrorism, NDSU Extension (FS635), https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs635.pdf

Sources:  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs635.pdf, https://www.nycinsiderguide.com/new-york-city-events-october, and websites referenced in the article.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/new-york-nyc-brooklyn-new-york-city-1163826/  (downloaded 11/8/17)                                                                 


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