Devastating bushfires, impending ecological disaster, failing economies, violent crimes and now, a pandemic. With the increasing uptake of smart phones, social media and online news outlets, how can we help kids and teens deal with exposure to negative news?
It is no longer possible to shelter children from troubling world-wide news (the some 100 million posts under the trending TikTok hashtag #coronatime is evidence of this). Research indicates that consistent exposure to negative news cycles can increase stress, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. In fact, this modern phenomenon is becoming so common it's been given a name ... “headline stress”. To support kids and teens in dealing with what seems to be a never-ending stream of dooms day bearing headlines, it's important that we remain open to communicating with them about what they are seeing online, provide them with the support to build understanding, and give them strategies to help deal with feelings of stress or anxiety resulting from online news. Here's how: