The Growing Parent: Trauma in the Media (Part 6)

The Growing Parent: Trauma in the Media (Part 6)
photo: Jarrod Trainque, Creative Commons
photo: Jarrod Trainque, Creative Commons

“With all the violence and natural disasters in the media today my children are constantly afraid. What can I do to help them not be so scared all the time?”

There are few places we can go in today’s society and not be exposed to the news in some form or fashion. Media is all around us. We hear the news everywhere we go – at work, at school, on the local transit, our smart phones, television, radios, computers, newspapers, etc.

And to make sure we don’t miss out on anything, the top stories are repeated constantly throughout the day.

Take for instance all the recent school shootings or the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado. These stories aired constantly to make sure everyone was aware of them.

Or how about 9/11?  You couldn’t go more than a few minutes without seeing another clip of the Boeing 767 fly into the Twin Towers or hearing about it on the radio.

Of course it’s important for these stories to air so we are all aware of what’s going on around us.  What we need to keep in mind, however, is the impact these types of exposures can have on us, as well as our children.

Exposure in and of itself can often be traumatic.

But constant re-exposure can be both triggering and even debilitating, ultimately increasing the trauma.

It is in our children’s best interest to protect them from “too much” exposure. Turn off the news broadcast, or change the radio station.

For some news stories, hearing it even once may be too much for a child. Be conscious of what you allow your children to be exposed to and how often they’re exposed to it, because they are like little sponges and soak up everything around them.


Nick Hersey, LAMFT, LAPC


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