Parents, educators, health practitioners and others who work with kids can help to lessen anxieties arising from the coverage of catastrophic events.
Along with images of natural disasters and violence, one all-too-common news item that can be distressing to kids is reports of hate crimes. Seeing or hearing about hate-motivated assaults and vandalism of homes, cemeteries and places of worship in media, can lead to fear and anxiety in young people, especially if they belong to a vulnerable group. In many cases, the effect will be worse because news isn't the only place Canadian kids see hate and racism: almost half see hateful content online at least once a month, and one in six sees it every day.
The four of us watched the Oscars last night. My youngest went to bed before it ended so the rest of us are feeling rather bleary this morning. I always wonder why they always do it on a Sunday. Don’t they know it’s a school night? Sigh.
Many families have media traditions around the holidays – whether that’s watching A Charlie Brown Christmas together or staging a Mario Kart tournament on New Year’s Day. It’s great to make media a family activity, and it’s also an opportunity to co-view with your kids. In fact, holiday movies practically demand co-viewing: whether your tastes run to It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard or Christmas Vacation, odds that that if you watch with your (appropriately-aged) kids you’ll see something that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a racist stereotype in a cartoon, or a scene that makes stalking and harassment look romantic, or yet another kids’ movie with just one female character. What do you say?
Screen-Free Week is an annual event that traditionally takes place in May. Each year people from around the world make a conscious decision to turn off screens of all kinds for the week.