AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Violence in Israel and Gaza is making its way to our social media pages through photos and videos.
While this is hard for anyone to see, it could be especially distressing for children on these platforms.
Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok all have community guidelines that remove or sensor extremely graphic content.
But, sometimes this may be too late, as posts can get thousands of views within minutes.
Local psychiatrists and counselors told NewsChannel 6 that violent and graphic media content depicting war can trigger stress receptors in the brain, increasing anxiety and fear.
“Now, kids can have direct access to that through social media, and you can’t un-see that stuff,” said Dr. Dale Peeples, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia at AU.
They think the best way to prevent this content from affecting children is to address the issue first.
“Parents must be very, very proactive in creating a safe and a transparent place for children to come to them and talk about it,” said Dr. Tonjanika Jackson, a licensed professional counselor at Jackson Counseling Services.
They have tips on how to bring up the conversation.
“So, we know that there’s a conflict in Israel in the Gaza Strip, I was wondering if you had any concerns about that? So, we’re trying to kind of move the conversation over to child’s side, get them to bring up their thoughts and concerns, not place our fears onto the child,” Dr. Peeples said.
“Find out what they know, tell me what you know about, are you hearing any bad things in the world today? Be very direct. In an age-appropriate manner they can understand,” Dr. Jackson said.
Different approaches are suggested for different ages.
“With younger kids, honestly it’s best that parents take to just try and insulate kids from it,” Dr. Peeples said. “When you’re talking about teenagers, obviously that becomes a lot more challenging. Their parents are really gonna wanna try to maintain a dialogue, seeing what news kids are consuming, seeing what worries they have, and trying to help establish perspective with all this.”
They also suggest monitoring your child’s social media feeds and access to the platforms.
“Limit it as much as you can. You’re being proactive with that because their brains aren’t equipped at this age to process that,” Dr. Jackson said.
And if you see a post depicting gruesome and explicit acts, be sure to report it.