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Talking To Your Kids About What They
See and Hear About Hurricane Katrina


ALERT September 7, 2005

Children and What They Hear in the Media

Hurricane Katrina is the single worst natural disaster ever to hit the U.S., and the massive hardships it has created for hundreds of thousands of children and their families is unspeakable.

As with all disasters and tragedies, the media carries images that can upset children and create anxiety.

The following are some guidelines for managing the media in your home:

Always reassure your children that they are safe. Teach kids that hurricanes are part of nature and can sometimes be unpredictable. For older kids, this can be a good opportunity to help them turn a passive viewing experience into one where they funnel the emotions from some disturbing media images into positive action. This can be done by helping to raise money through local organizations.

Don't let kids under seven watch the news. Turn off the TV and radio news. Read the newspaper out of range so that kids can't be frightened by the pictures. Children othis young don’t need to see or hear about something that will only scare them. Should you choose to discuss the tragedy with your kids, try to anticipate their questions and come up with honest but age- appropriate answers.

For kids 8-10, make sure you know what images they are seeing on the Internet. Many kidsin this age group are online. Some of the pictures are just too alarming and horrific. Reassure the more anxious kids that they are perfectly safe where they are. Some kids in this age range will experience a desire to help out those in need. You might want to call some local organization to see if there are ways they recommend for kids to raise relief money.

For 11-13 year olds, Put the devastation in social context. For some, this may bethe first time kids are exposed to graphic images of the widespread poverty that afflicts so many in this country. You might explain many people didn’t leave their homes because because they couldn’t afford to, not because they didn’t want to.

 

 

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