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Blog, In the News

Use care when discussing Las Vegas violence with children

October 4, 2017

Mental health professionals say children remain the most vulnerable when it comes to media coverage of the Las Vegas massacre.

Many children and teens have access to graphic video posted on social media platforms. Mental health professionals warned parents must take control.

“The main thing is that when you go to talk to your kids about it. Check your own emotions. Make sure you’re in a moderate place. That you’re calm when you talk with your kids about it. Make sure they know that the world for the most part is a safe place,” said Micki Grimland.

Grimland is a licensed clinical social worker at Southwest Psychotherapy Associates. Grimland said parents should focus on the positive and talk about how strangers helped each in a time of need. Experts say parents should focus on how many good people exist in the world rather than who might want to harm others.

“The serious consequence is that you can traumatize yourself by watching too much of it like when the kids are seeing the imagery of the latest shooting with the Las Vegas murderer,” said Grimland. “They see the crowd. They see the faces. They see the real life moment of terror.”

Matthew Gallagher is a psychology professor at the University of Houston. Gallagher said it’s understandable that people are curious about the deadly attack. He said it’s important to remember repeated exposure to such imagery can be a source of stress. He says using relaxation methods such as deep breathing can be helpful.

“People generally are quite empathetic in thinking about the impact on the people who’ve experienced such a terrible tragedy. People can be understandably somewhat distressed by seeing the news and the images coming out of Las Vegas,” said Gallagher.

The Red Cross has set up a Disaster Distress Helpline for free 24/7 counseling. It can be reached by phone at 800-985-5990 or you can text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.