Research shows that continual media coverage of community or health crises overexposes kids and teens to negative information, which can lead them to feel confused, overwhelmed and worried.
Excessive use of media is associated with negative psychological and physical consequences, including depression and obesity.
Set limits for daily use
Encourage active interpersonal exchanges, such as video chats with same-age peers, and steer children away from using electronics solely for passive activities like scrolling or watching videos.
Be sure that your child is also spending time away from electronic devices, engaging in physical activity and enjoying other social and educational activities.
Model appropriate consumption of media and reactions to news reports
Talk with your kids about what they’re seeing about the news on social media. Often, social media shows sensational sound bites and only parts of a full story. This can be anxiety-provoking due to how it’s presented. Chat with them about what’s happening and use this as a time to provide some accurate information and reassurance.
Obtain critical updates from reliable sources once or twice a day; avoid sensationalism or repeated coverage of the same information.
Check-in with yourself
Are you feeling distressed or agitated? If so, turn off the news and pursue other activities. Although some level of worry, confusion or sadness is to be expected, if your child senses you are feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, they will be more likely to become emotionally dysregulated as well. React calmly and provide reassurance so that your child will follow suit.
If your child expresses thoughts of wanting to harm themselves or others, call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency department.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:
Text any message to 9-8-8
Chat online at 988lifeline.org/chat
Crisis Text Line:
Text “HOME” to 741741
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American Psychological Association
Promoting healthy technology use for children
Child Mind Institute
Media Guidelines for Kids of All Ages
Family media plan and media time calculator
Dangerous internet challenges
The New York Times
How to use TikTok’s parental controls
Parent resources for YouTube
Safety resources for parents
Parental guide for teens on Instagram