There are many situations where we are confronted with the news. In a waiting room, in a shopping mall, the giant screens on some buildings, and the large screens in the airport halls, the railway station halls. Then there is the news we access – our phone, our tablet, our computer, the home television. We have been in situations when we become bored with the news endlessly recycling. Tedium, bored, or shocked. The news impacts us all.
Extreme events can glue us to the screen, even when the news-anchor tells, “The following information may be distressing to some viewers”.
As adults watch, so too do children. They may be playing in a room where the TV is tuned to coverage. They hear adults talking. They may not always understand what is being said, but sometimes that confusion can be a source of anxiety and worry. Older children and teens gain much more of their information from the Internet and social media sites. Parents often do not know the extent of their children’s exposure to television.
For parents or caregivers, the question is, “How much is too much?”
Following the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City and again after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, researchers found that those children who spent most or all of their time tuned to coverage reported more symptoms related to trauma. We don’t know if watching more of the coverage makes children more anxious. Or, if those children who are already more anxious are watching more coverage.
What we do know is, it’s important to take a break, to turn away from the coverage. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Sometimes we are looking for good news to come instead. Other times, we are held by the tractor beams of unfolding horror; we cannot let go of the visual horror unfolding before us.
We have to take control of our own minds. We are the soul in a human body having a spiritual experience. The mind, left unchecked, causes all sorts of problems. The mind is like a camera. Where-ever it is pointed, it takes a picture. The mind takes the form of whatever it is absorbing. So we need to check the mind, manage the mind and not let it roam unrestrained. Particularly where news is concerned.
Turning the news off does not mean we feel any less sad for what has happened, but it does mean that we are taking steps to limit our exposure and increase our resilience and the resilience of our children to cope in the face of difficult situations.
A few ways to approach a sensible news consumption
News should be balanced. News is spelled N E W S. These letters stand for North, East, West and South. When we have a balance before us, we can use our discrimination and make good choices. One such choice is to turn off the news that is not good for us, turn off news that is disturbing, turn off the media that upsets us.
If you’re looking to develop a healthier relationship with the news, you could:
- Work out how much time you’re comfortable spending on your devices and consuming news.
- Make it so you seek the news rather than the other way around.
- Be selective with your news sources and the platforms you consume your news.
- Consider boundaries within your home, such as not checking the news in bed.
- Think about setting up times where no news is allowed to be consumed.
Fake News about the Coronavirus
Not all information you find online is true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread misleading news and content. Protect yourself and your friends from false information about coronavirus, vaccines and more. Use the SHARE checklist to help you spot false information to make sure you don’t contribute to the spread of harmful content.
Use the SHARE checklist
Before you like, comment or share content online, use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.
Source: Rely on official sources for medical and safety information. Check the facts about vaccinations and coronavirus from the World Health Organisation and your national and local public health authorities.
Headline: Headlines don’t always tell the full story. Always read to the end before you share articles about coronavirus, including those about vaccines.
Analyse: Analyse the facts. If something sounds unbelievable, it very well might be. Independent fact-checking services are correcting false information about coronavirus and vaccines every day.
Retouched: Watch out for misleading pictures and videos in stories about coronavirus vaccines. They might be edited, or show an unrelated place or event. Check to see who else is using the photo.
Error: Look out for mistakes. Typos and other errors might mean the information is false. Official guidance about coronavirus will always have been carefully checked.
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