As news of the unfolding Mumbai terror attacks spread over, a mixed reaction of shock, horror, sorrow and sympathy resulted. But soon this fellow feeling started to become a TRP bonanza for India’s electronic media. It lasted well over 60-hours. Even before the bloody saga in Mumbai had ended, some of the media were busy telling complete bio-data of the culprits. Nothing official had come out, but the smart media was already reporting on the terrorist's nationality and the weapons they carried. Most parents were watching the drama unfolding of the terror attack live and their children avidly watched it too - picking up new idioms and words. In short, media were actively engaged in amplifying the issue with hundreds of 'exclusives'. But, was there anything like 'exclusive' news, particularly during those 60-hours, except to show off the repeated telecast of the terrifying incidents?
I think media deliberately tried to make the incident sensational to gain TRP ratings. The image of a grenade being thrown from a window, the body of terrorist falling out from a window, commandos sliding down a rope from a chopper as they were dropped on to a terrace - all shown live - made for compulsive watching. The drama kept on unfolding morning though evening, day after day: much longer than an action packed Bollywood movie. Obviously, children get anxious and the "terror trauma” may have a lasting effect on them. Parents should talk to the children and explain the incident carefully. Many children who are vulnerable could have nightmares and find it even difficult to sleep. But, the point is how should we explain these things to them?
Well, I am not a child psychologist to tell you here that how exactly we should explain terrorism to our children. However, I found one good article on this issue which, I would like to share with all of you (click here to read the article). The article emphasizes on the fact that parent should be calm and tolerant while answering to the child's questions. We should refrain from saying things like, 'you do not know anything', 'you will understand nothing', 'do not ask silly questions'. It is good that the child is asking questions rather than making judgments on his own. We should keep in mind the following tips while talking to our child about terrorism:
- We should encourage children to voice their opinions about terrorism. Adolescents should be encouraged to talk about their feelings on terror strikes and violent attacks.
- We should boost the child's confidence by using phrases like 'good question' or 'interesting question'.
- We should listen to the children carefully to understand their psyche.
- We should tell the children how we are feeling about the situation. We should be able to express our feelings in words. For example, 'I am feeling depressing to see how terrorists attacked innocent people'.
- We may ask the children to note down their opinions on terrorism and terrorists in order to get a clear idea of what they understand by terrorism.
- etc. etc..