COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the Israel-Hamas war continues, concerns could come up when it comes to children finding out what is happening in the Middle East.
Dr. Ariana Hoet, executive clinical director with On Our Sleeves at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said the topic can be difficult for children to understand and is recommending parents bring up the conversation with kids.
“We used to live in a world where we could really limit kids and what they were being exposed to in terms of the news,” Hoet said. “Now with phones, we really don’t know what kids may be talking about in school or seeing on their social media, and so we recommend parents proactively create the space to have conversations.”
When using social media, each child is different and could be on different platforms where they could find out information on the war. Hoet said to check in with children to see what they are seeing and what they have heard about the war.
“Talk to your child, mentioning what your concern is and then monitor,” Hoet said. “Any changes in mood or behavior in a child can indicate that they may be exposed to images that they are having a hard time with.”
If a parent or caregiver is worried about their child’s behavior from what they have seen online, Hoet recommends parents should try limiting their kids’ exposure to social media.
Some warning signs parents can look for in a child’s behavior include changes in sleep, difficulty focusing in school, irritability, sadness, withdrawal, and if those changes last a long time.
If those symptoms last for a long period of time, Hoet said it could be something like PTSD and should involve a mental health professional.
For additional resources for parents and how they can talk to their children, click here. They are free and can help guide parents to talk to their children about current events.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Hoet in the video player below.