East Texas psychologists offer tips for talking to your children about war, social media
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on in the Middle East, social media makes it easier to see first-hand the uncensored tragedies unfolding. With graphic content making its way through the accounts of children, the reality of war often taps away for children.
Nelida Medina Perez is a children’s therapist and owner of Purple Crayon Counseling in Tyler, she said compared to adults this kind of content can have deep effects on children.
“As a child who doesn’t have the coping skills and doesn’t have the concept of reality, it’s really hard for them.”
According to USA Today, the app Bright Canary reports, in the first weeks of the conflict YouTube searches for Israel and the war increased over 1,000 percent among kids 9 to 13 years old. Licensed professional counselor at Sense of Self Counseling, Ana Barnson, describes the mental effects constant exposure to this content can have on kids.
“Yes, there are going to be emotional concerns, will be anxiety, distress, concerns about their safety”
Concerns that, Perez says, can even affect physical health,
“They’re having headaches. They’re having stomach aches. They’re having the pressure on their chest. "
According to Barnson, when dealing with young children, breaking down the concept of war starts with creating a distance from it.
“Clarifying a context of safety in the community, where they at right now and probably give them more context on where the things are happening, how distant it is.”
And for teenagers, she said maintaining informative conversations is key.
“Look at their whatever that news is and watching and process together, talk about it, clarify questions, explain what really is happening”
But most importantly, experts advise parents to pay close attention to their child’s social media feeds and draw boundaries. They say reaching out to school counselors can be a good starting point to get your children additional help.
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