As almost everyone knows, we recently had a terrible tragedy happen in Isla Vista, a town very near U.C.S.B. and near Santa Barbara. A young man, with a mind tortured by mental illness and rage, went on a rampage of violence last Friday evening. Six innocent people were killed, and many others were injured. The violence ended when the gunman turned the gun on himself, with a fatal shot.
The media quickly descended on this college town, to cover what had happened. I understand that it’s important for all of us to know what’s going on in the world, particularly what’s going on so close to home. There comes a point, though, when the story has been thoroughly covered. When it continues and continues, it begins to create its own traumatizing effect.
As caring people, we’re all heartsick about this senseless violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who were harmed, and all who lost loved ones. The continual news coverage just keeps grinding this sadness deeper and deeper into our souls, though.
The impact on adults is hard enough, but what about our children? When children are exposed over and over to the graphic scenes and sounds of violence, it seeps into their own individual sense of safety. Adults need to understand the damage they’re doing by not protecting their children from this pervasive coverage.
Our 9 year old granddaughter has been staying with us this last week, and we have been very cautious to not expose her to this tragedy. We don’t talk about it around her, and we don’t have the television news turned on. There’s nothing she can do to improve mental health resources, or keep guns out of the hands of people who should never have them. What purpose would there be of bringing this trauma into her world?
Give some careful thought to how much of this type of news you need to watch also. Once you know the facts, it’s a good idea to limit the coverage that you are exposed to. There’s so much we need to do as a civilization to begin stopping this violence, but continuing to watch it repeatedly unfold on your television screen, down to the smallest details, does nothing to change it. Please give this some thought.
Until next time,
It’s really a fine line, isn’t it? How much information is too much information, what age is appropriate, etc. Thank you for your guidance on this. It helps.
I’m glad that you found this article helpful, Amy. It can sometimes be a fine line. In this article, I was mostly focused on the traumatizing effect of a pervasive coverage of the sights and sounds of a major tragedy. Children often wind up afraid for their own, and their family’s safety. That’s too big a burden to place on them, when it isn’t necessary.
I agree with you, children shouldn’t be exposed to such things. There will come a day in which they should be about such tragedies, but that time shouldn’t be during such fragile stages in their lives.
Thank you for your comment, Lynn. I appreciate knowing that you agree that children should be protected from the horrific tragedies that occur all too often.
Thank you for writing this, Linda. What a tragedy for this to happen in our own community. My heart goes out to all those affected by the young man’s actions. It is smart that you avoided exposing this kind of news to your young granddaughter. I know that the news were in IV for days following, trying to hound students for an interview. It’s a shame, and they needed that time to recover, not be harassed.
You’re so welcome, Lisa. I wanted all of us to be aware of the damage that pervasive news coverage of a traumatic event can be to young children. No one needs to have this kind of tragedy pounded into their awareness — particularly not our innocent children. I felt very sad to hear of the “hounding” that students were subjected to, at such a difficult time. They did need the time and space to honor their own process of healing.