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Filtering Tragedy From Our Kids

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“20 hurt in school stabbing spree in Pennsylvania.”
“Shooting at Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas.”
“ ‘Heartbleed’ bug forcing people to change passwords.”
“Kim Kardashian’s bikini butt photo goes viral.”

What do all of these headlines have in common? They represent stories we never want to see.

Kids hurting and killing other kids in schools; soldiers suffering from and acting out due to PTSD; hackers using their powers for evil to steal innocent people’s confidential information; and Kim Kardashian…well, enough said. Just…enough.

Is it Armageddon? The coming apocalypse? The end of days? Some think so, if the stories about the upcoming “Blood Moon” lunar eclipse are any indication. By the way, blood moons happen very often and are part of a series of other full moons that occur monthly.

But that’s how “news” travels.

With all of these stories traveling around the airwaves, how do we keep our kids from being overly inundated with what they hear about and, if they do hear about it, how do we explain the tragedies to them, educating them about the world without freaking them out about it at the same time?

The answer is: it depends. It depends on your child, on her age, on his personality, on how they usually receive news, whether positive or negative. Sometimes, it is best to hide a story from them altogether. Sometimes, it’s good to share some details so they get an idea of what happened but don’t know too much. And sometimes, they can be right next to you on the couch hearing the news stories firsthand.

But, while one child who is seven years old may handle hearing a story about death fairly calmly, another one who is also seven could have bad dreams about it. You know your child better than anybody else. Use that wisdom.

Also remember that sometimes it is best for even us as parents not to hear all of the gory details about shootings or stabbings or massive financial fraud, or any Kardashian at all. It might be better to just turn off the technology for awhile and go really wild. Maybe talk with your child, or read with them, or draw or sing or dance. It just depends on how wild you want to get!

How do you filter information?

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