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My child is worried about events in Ukraine

My child is worried about events in Ukraine

Along with the many positive things which young people may see or experience online, they may also encounter things which may worry or upset them.

With world events surrounding the Ukraine and Russian conflict, young people may be hearing words like ‘bombing’, ‘invasion’ and ‘World War Three’ in posts on BBC Newsround, Instagram, TikTok and other sites. Young people may be seeing a range of posts; some factual, some scaremongering, and may be worried or confused about what is happening and the impact this may have on them.


Ensure that you are aware of which sites they are accessing and whether the material is age appropriate.

Talk about the events happening in an age-appropriate way

Before starting a conversation about the Ukraine Crisis, it’s a good idea to start with what they already know, see what their base level of knowledge is and see what questions or concerns they have.

Whatever age your child is, it is important to talk about what is happening in an age appropriate way, and to show content and information that is suitable for your child.

Newsround have created a roundup for young people about the situation in Ukraine, which can be a good way to start conversation with your child if they are seeing content online.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/60417806


Help them to find the balance

Whilst scrolling social media young people can sometimes feel under pressure to keep abreast of all the information, or to share news with others. If your child feels like they are constantly being given information and opinions, they may feel overwhelmed or anxious whilst scrolling.

Talk to your child about where they get their information from and talk about how they can strike a balance in their own news consumption.

This could be by setting time each day as a family to research and discuss the situation, by only looking at verified news sources,. It is also important to remind you child that they do not have to watch, read, or share any content online that they do not want to, or which makes them feel uncomfortable.


Talk about worrying content more generally

There are several ways that young people could find worrying content - they may stumble upon it by following links, download unknown files, misspell website addresses or even knowingly look for it. This could be anything from a scary picture or hateful comment to something, which is intended for an adult audience.  However, if they come across this content it could leave them feeling worried, confused or upset.

Parental controls can be a helpful way to reduce the chances of your child seeing harmful content but they should never replace having open conversations about what your child is doing online. 

Encourage your child to remove themselves immediately if they feel overwhelmed or worried, they could do this by closing a laptop lid, turning over a tablet or phone, or turning the monitor off on a PC, and coming to talk to you. 


Know who your child can go to for help

There are lots of ways your child can get support if they see something upsetting online and it’s important to make them aware of the different avenues of support. In addition to family and school support, children can contact helplines for advice:

  • Childline – Childline is a confidential service offering support to children under the age of 19 with any issue they are concerned about either online or by the phone 0800 1111.
  • The Mix – The Mix offer advice and support for anyone under the age of 25 either online or by the phone 0808 808 4994.