“Please carefully monitor your children’s access to their social media to protect them from these pictures and images,” reads a notice sent Tuesday to Solon schools families. “These videos are anticipated to be disturbing and could cause trauma.
“Many of our families are experiencing trauma and fear, and students may be struggling with understanding terrorism and the horror of the situation that has unfolded over the past few days.”
A letter sent Wednesday to Beachwood Schools families suggested parents may even consider deleting their children’s social media accounts — the only “reliable way to avoid being exposed to them.”
“I am angry and heartbroken to have to send you this warning,” wrote Superintendent Robert Hardis. “This is a message that should never need to be sent. Please protect your children by shielding them from these horrific images.”
Parents whose children may need support are urged to reach out to district administrators or counselors. The schools’ letters to parents also includes resources to help parents talk about terrorism or violence in the news with their children.
How to talk to children about terrorism
The National Association of School Psychologists recommends parents “model calm and control” and avoid appearing anxious or frightened when talking about the issue, since children get emotional cues from adults.
Parents should reassure children they are safe and remind them that “trustworthy people are in charge.” They should also be straight with them, and tell them the truth.
“Don’t try to pretend the event has not occurred or that it is not serious. Children are smart. They will be more worried if they think you are too afraid to tell them what is happening,” the guidance reads. “At the same time it will be important to tell children that while the threat of terrorism is real, the chances they will be personally affected is low.”
Solon schools also pointed parents toward advice for explaining violence in the news to children, from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reviews media for age-appropriateness and its impact on kids: