When traumatic events happen oftentimes the newscasters and journalists talk with experts on how the events can be explained to children if the children happen to watch the news to find out about the events. This article will cover some select information on research related to media coverage of traumatic events.
According to studies, parents are more likely these days to prevent their children from finding out about traumatic events by limiting the children’s exposure to newscasts covering these events. Parents have often been advised by the media to do so and according to research they are currently doing just that.
Parents have the ability to affect how their children react to traumatic events and they should be aware that their own reactions to these events affect how their children deal with them. If parents are trained to control their actions to these events then they will be less likely to have a significant role in their children reacting negatively to the event.
When older children see traumatic events happen, according to research they are the most likely to be affected negatively by the traumatic event. The reason for this is that parents may not hide negative reactions to the traumatic event by assuming that older children are able to handle more stress related to their response to the traumatic event then they actually are. The reason why older children are often not able to handle these situations is that their cognitive abilities are not yet developed such that they can compartmentalize their response to the event and put it into perspective in relation to other things going on in their lives.
There is also additional evidence that media coverage of traumatic events can even be harmful to adults. According to the studies, prolonged exposure can affect the overall mental health of adults that consistently watch media coverage. This was proven by monitoring the mental health of adults in the United States that were exposed to media coverage of the Iraq War over a period of three years and it was determined that their stress levels had increased due to watching these events unfold on TV daily.
There are still some open questions regarding this research and they are namely the following:
-How much media coverage is harmful? Are there a threshold beyond which the amount of media coverage becomes harmful?
-What types of media coverage are the most harmful? Would this include videos, images, sounds or discussion about the traumatic even that make it harmful?
– Can media coverage of traumatic events be helpful in anyway? Might knowing more about the events that transpired help people cope with the situation better or prevent them from worrying so much about future situations of this type?
– What impact does new media (i.e. social media) have on the manner in which people deal with the traumatic events? Social media’s impact on the community has not been researched thoroughly since it is so new but it definitely is becoming a source of information on traumatic events.