July 20, 2012 “Some Joker has to ruin it all,” a young ticket holder shaking his head fumed as news of the Batman movie premiere tragedy shot through every media channel from mobile to mainstream.
The macabre pun was suitable, intentional or not.
From CNN videos and sound reels to a CBS special airing in less than 24 hours we’re reminded that media is ambient in surround sound now, making news like this almost unavoidable, altering not just the viewer ‘experience’ but entire lives this opening weekend.
My teen is at the movies right now, (albeit not this one) fully aware of the incident, recognizing the exception not the rule, and continuing to go to the movies without a doubt …I’m more concerned about those who won’t.
It is horrific, tragic, and unbelievably surreal that entire lives have upended in 24 hours, and all of us grieve for the families, helplessly struggling to offer hope and support from afar. BUT…we need to ensure media coverage doesn’t create even more ‘collateral damage’ by placing wee ones in the blast zone with ‘did you hear’ scuttlebutt, gruesome details and scary misinformation leaving kids in a perpetual state of anxiety.
Headline news will no doubt trumpet every angle of the Dark Knight Rises mass shooting from the psychological aspects (a PhD candidate in neuroscience) to the political (gun control laws and firearms reform) and media violence blame game, those of us in the critical thinking sphere are fixating on basic “keep calm, carry on” tactics to quell fears and provide children reassurance with nuanced talking points by age and stage addressing “What do you say to a child” when news upends kids’ feeling of safety.
So without further ado, here’s a list of helpful resources to untangle this dark web and shine a light on the superheroes of media literacy who help parents navigate these surreal times. Use them as your secret weapon and invisible shield to signal to kids that the entire country isn’t bats.
Shaping Youth has covered these topics repeatedly, from natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis to youth trauma and APA tips on school shootings from student incidents like Virginia Tech and Columbine. We keep trying to remind parents and pop culture reporters that it’s essential to unpack the media morass beyond sound bites in an age appropriate manner for kids.
Resources and Talking Tips For Kids Amidst Violent Headline News:
Children Now: Talking With Kids About the News Excellent specific talking tipson terrorism and random mass incidents (complete with role play) and a solid roundup of web link resources on terrorism/tragedies of various kinds
Talking with Kids about Headline News (PBS Parents)
Explaining the News to our Kids (Common Sense Media)
NIMH Helping Children & Adolescents Cope With Violence and Disasters (Nat’l Inst of Mental Health)
Expert Tips on Talking to Kids About the Dark Knight Incident (health blog/Dallas News)
Create Your Own Media Headline (How media is made/interactive)
Teach Kids News (Grades 2-6)
MIT/Reconstructing: A classroom exercise; reflections on humanity and media after tragedy (deconstructing media w/analysis of sound/news footage, etc.)
Talking With Kids About Tough Subjects (Before everyone else does)
American Red Cross/Facing Fear: Free Downloadable Curriculum for K-12
PBS Teachers: Media Literacy Sites & Programs Great list of links, shows, topics, guides and more
Media Literacy Clearinghouse Frank Baker has links out the wazoo on multiple areas of specialization as well as allied orgs (see our blogroll sidebar)
How to Talk to Your Child About the News Simple overview/KidsHealth primer
Media Literacy on Headline News +Tough Topics
by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth
Bin Laden’s Death, Media, and Kids: Teach Your Children Well (comprehensive list of ‘terrorism specific’ convos to quell fears w/kids)
As one with extended family in Aurora, Colorado, and my brother who had his house burned to ashes in the Colorado Springs Mountain Shadows community (Waldo Canyon Fire/Flying W Ranch regions) I’d like to say the “Rocky Mountains” moniker applies to the summer season of tourism there, not to mention the fragile economic impact of ongoing tragedy in this state.
My plea? Please SUPPORT the state by visiting some of the many worthy wonders and landmark attractions, from Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs and Garden of the Gods red rock formations to the Olympic Training Center and national parks that abound, please consider visiting as there are SO many things to do.
Here’s just one of many links to “Colorado Family Attractions for Kids 10 and Under” It should be on a destination short list for family vacations to enjoy the spectacular wilderness landscape and rugged natural beauty…Here’s more via the parenting review site/app Trekaroo from a recent visit to The Springs.
One more addendum: HopeMob.org has added a special feature to their crowd-funding site to help the families and victims of the Aurora, CO shooting last night.
Just 24 hours ago at a midnight show lives were changed forever.
Could you help HopeMob help with funeral expenses, counseling costs and vital community support? As always, coverage is for verified expenses with a track record of exceptional grassroots direct impact. Thanks for your consideration…