What can we do to help children feel hopeful in a constantly changing world? Be aware of what you’re doing at the initial stage of the process. In learning to regulate emotions, kids need to understand when the media pushes emotional buttons. It is vital even more so in these times of turmoil.
The 24-hour news cycle and sensational headlines are designed to entice us. The use of psychology in the media and social media is used to “press our emotional buttons.” Anxiety, depression, and increased screen time are all possible outcomes.
Being optimistic in an ever-changing and uncertain environment
Children need to know when the media is triggering their emotions to learn how to control their behavior and emotions. When things are unknown, it’s even more critical.
What impact bad news coverage can have on children?
The dissemination of knowledge relies heavily on the media. When youngsters begin to learn about the world around them, it’s fine for them to do so. As a result, exposing children to too much unpleasant news can be distressing and confusing. The following are examples of what I mean:
- Since it has a direct effect (e.g., children can start to worry or feel anxious or sad in everyday life).
- As a result of the ripple effect (e.g., they hear parents talking to one other in worried or angry tones, or a parent is stressed and irritable and speaks to the child differently).
- Because of the influence of peers (hearing other kids talking about news and possibly passing around misinformation).
When Bad News Becomes Unhealthy
When a crisis occurs, we are often prompted to look at the most recent news. Good information can aid our decision-making (e.g., hearing the weather report prompts you to seek shelter if a strong storm is imminent). In this way, it makes sense. This allows us to stay protected.
However, it’s easy to get sucked in by the nonstop stream of headlines. Images and phrases are repeated in a hypnotic manner. It can feel like the only way to be safe is to continually check for new information. Cycles can form. After a brief respite, when the next headline is unveiled, the worry returns. We can become “doom-scrolling” if we’re constantly checking for the newest negative news.
A similar loop can now be created by social media influencers. It is possible for messages to be tailored to make readers or viewers feel enraged and superior to anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint. Through the use of new and/or recycled anxieties, the speaker instills new ones in the audience.
Furthermore, these platforms are designed to keep us connected at all times. It’s not simply about setting a good example for your kids. Children and teenagers may also be watching and reading and becoming sucked into the same negative loops that adults are.
You can’t just ignore the problem.
While this is true, it does not imply that we should never pay attention to terrible news or eliminate social media altogether. To keep our children safe, we must maintain a clear head. Facts from a reliable source are essential, as are prudent safety procedures.
The only thing we can do for our children is to educate them on how to carefully analyze what they read and see. It’s also our responsibility as adults to set a good example for our children.
As part of the process, you’ll learn to ask questions such as, “Who made this, and how can I tell?” “Is it trying to make me feel terrified or angry, or some other unpleasant emotion?” is the most critical question. Is it possible that I’m being duped? “Do I feel uncomfortable if I switch off for a while?” is an important question to ask yourself. “Are you sucked in?”
There are many pleasant, intriguing, and great things happening in the world, and we can assist children and teenagers realize this.
Meaningful articles you might like: Helping Children Develop Emotional Intelligence in Small Steps, Toys with Intelligence for Children of all Ages, How to Teach Social-Emotional Learning for Child Development