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What Parents Need to Know As Graphic War Images Spread Across Social Media

Photo from Adrian Swancar via Unsplash

What Parents Need to Know As Graphic War Images Spread Across Social Media

By Movieguide® Contributor

As vicious fighting in Israel ignites, parents should be aware that their children could be seeing graphic images of war on social media.

On October 7, Palestinian military group Hamas launched a missile attack on Israel. Since then, intense fighting has occurred between the two sides as a full-on war has broken out. In five days of fighting, over 2,000 people have been killed, many of which were civilians.

As this fighting occurs, pictures and videos of deadly attacks, bombings and kidnappings have begun circulating across the internet. They are readily available across social media sites, whether one wants to see them or not.

This is a concern for parents who may not want their children exposed to the graphic realities of war.

“You can’t unsee these things,” Dr. Robert Trestman, the Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Carilion Clinic, warned. “Seeing these things repetitively brings significant emotional distress. So I would really encourage parents to work to limit exposure.”

Parenting educator Laura Linn Knight and neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez gave TODAY.com tips on how parents can remain aware of the content their children are seeing and how to have conversations about hard topics like war.

“As the parent, you have to take into account what you are comfortable having them see at a particular age that jibes with your core values,” Dr. Hafeez said. “Parents need to think about what could trigger their child emotionally.”

Movieguide® emphasizes that “Not only do children see the media differently at each stage of development, but also different children are susceptible to different stimuli.” What they see on social media could affect each child differently. 

“It gives parents an opportunity to loop back in with their own family values. When something big is happening in the world, how can we help create meaningful change? What can we do in our family to help?” added Knight.

One of the most important focuses on these sorts of topics is determining what is real and what is misinformation. This is especially important for war as misinformation and propaganda are some of the largest engines in wartime.

“Explain to your child the meaning of ‘gossip’ and how people or entities benefit from it,” Dr. Hafeez said.

She also suggests asking your children where they typically receive their information and helping them determine if their news source is generally reliable.

As for parents who deem their children too young for the topic of war, Knight suggests parents engage with technology alongside their kids, rather than allowing them access alone, as well as asking them “curiosity questions” to begin conversations.

“Keep it broad at first, like ‘What are you hearing at school?’ (or) ‘What images do you see on social media,” Knight explains.

“For my kids, I like to check in and say, ‘When you saw that, how did that make you feel? Are you having any concerns? What feelings are coming up for you? So letting the child lead the way,” Knight continued.

Dr. Hafeez adds that parents should ask their children to show them the things that they are seeing on social media, particularly the things that are scary or disturbing to them.

While current events can be a tricky part of parenting, Movieguide® encourages parents to have age-appropriate conversations about important topics, such as war. Addressing these realities in a safe environment rather than allowing them to be discovered for the first time through avenues like social media is important.

Movieguide® previously reported:

Israeli actress Gal Gadot stands with her country as it faces war with Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group.

“At least 250 Israeli have been murdered and dozens of women children and elders held as hostages in Gaza, by Palestinian military group Hamas,” Gadot wrote on Instagram two days ago. 

“Starting early morning more than 3,000 rockets were fired. Hamas is holding hostages, controlling bases and settlements in Israel. There have been more than 1,500 injured and heavy fighting is still ongoing.”

“My heart is aching,” she added. “Praying for those in pain.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.