Virginia Tech Tragedy: Media Coping Tips

gun3.jpgAs details unfold of the horrific shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, there’s no doubt media hemorrhaging will bleed onto all ages, in all schools, fast.

Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental health Association) has posted the following guidelines to help educators, students and parents cope with the trauma.

As “Carnage on Campus” graphics swirl across screens in bold, brash headlines from TV to internet, mobile and PDA, there’s no question kids will be impacted, even anxiety ridden if feeling vulnerable and unsafe.

I just left a session with Rebecca Randall, Common Sense Media’s Director of Outreach, who said they’ve posted tip sheets for discussing school shootings on an age-appropriate level, and reinforced that information gets skewed from peer to peer, so parents should ask “what did you hear” in the media FIRST.

Common Sense Media cautions children from viewing violent newsreel footage (particularly under age 14) and suggests initiating a dialogue BEFORE kids stumble across explicit visuals themselves…

From memorial vigils in virtual worlds like Teen Second Life to Facebook social media mourning and blog outpouring that scrutinizes angry writings, youth will grieve using media itself to come to terms with the contents of the media coverage.

The YALSA blog (Young Adult Library Services Association) has an excellent piece on how teens are an integral part of this conversation, and teen librarians can encourage kids to vent some of their own thoughts and analysis using media as a conduit for outreach and emotional support.

Our most profound sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims, in a tragedy that is no doubt Shaping Youth on a global scale right this very minute.



  1. Bless you for such a succinct, level-headed, unbiased commentary on this Saddest of Sad occasions. So many other voices are using this event to promote their own agenda or to
    lay the blame.-Your posting lends me a sense of sanity and solemnity; –not the gawdawful Sensationalism being hawked elsewhere.

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