When War News Can Be Too Much for Children

Educator Urges That Information Be Adapted to Their Age

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MADRID, Spain, MARCH 31, 2003 (Zenit.org).- An educator cautions that children’s access to war news should be restricted, especially when the information is graphic.

Mar Sánchez Marchori, a specialist in creative pedagogy and family guidance, warns that an excess of information on the Iraqi war can be harmful to minors.

It is not a question of concealing the truth but of adapting it to children’s age and circumstances, she says.

In Western society, where children spend many hours watching television, “it is unavoidable that events of a social scope will be heard by little ones,” she told ZENIT.

But, she adds, there are “facts that do not have an educational value nor do they fulfill the objective of personal improvement; they simply alarm the child who does not understand what happened, nor does he see any solutions.”

Sánchez Marchori believes that dramatic situations such as war offer an opportunity “to educate in values like solidarity, justice, dialogue, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, self-control and love for others.”

The educator encourages adults to use this type of event “to point out to children the importance of helping people who are in a difficult situation,” in addition to encouraging them to pray for those affected.

In general, Sánchez Marchori advises that it is better “to give little information to children under 10. Those who are older should not be given more answers than they request.”

She also suggests that certain phrases used by adults should be modified. For example, it is better to say, “I see this worries you, can I help?” rather than to say, “Don’t be dramatic.”

Sánchez Marchori also urges parents to:

— restrict the viewing of war scenes on television.

— allow the child to express his feelings in reaction to the news and to do so in games and drawings.

— take advantage of this kind of situation to educate in values.

— adapt the truth of what occurs to the age of the child.

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