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COVID-19: Helping Children Cope – Part 2

Building off of our earlier post on how to help children cope with the current situation with COVID-19, we want to provide parents/caregivers some further guidance on TV and social media consumption during this time of “safer at home” and “stay at home” directives when everyone is cooped up with electronic devices all around.


Monitor viewing– this is a good reminder not only for parents and caregivers for the children and adolescents who are now in the home 24/7, but also for the parents and caregivers themselves. If you or your children are continually watching the news, a news channel, or on social media following the COVID-19 updates, there is a high likelihood that everyone’s fears and anxieties are going to be significantly increased. Even passively having the TV on a news channel during this time can inadvertently lead to children consuming news that isn’t developmentally appropriate. Kids are sponges and attend to things on screens more readily than most parents care to think. We, as adults, can often block information out that kids are actively attending to on the TV. Social media is also a fear and anxiety provoking culprit if you or your kids are continually monitoring the latest updates on FaceBook or Twitter. This is a good time for everyone in the house to take a social media break.

Dispel rumors and inaccurate information– unfortunately, there is an inordinate amount of information posted on social media that would be considered a rumor, gossip, or that’s just plain wrong. Misinformation and disinformation can cause unneeded worry, stress, and anxiety. It’s important to get factual information from reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and local departments of public health, rather than some guy or girl who posted something on social media that they “heard”, and many, if not most, social media opinions may not be helpful. Accurate information is key in situations like this – really…accurate information is key in all situations – again, maybe take a social media break.

Provide alternatives– one way to keep yourself and your kids off of the news channels and social media is to provide alternative activities. If you want to use the TV, then maybe view a movie that everyone can enjoy. This might be a great time to break out an old boardgame, or maybe start a new family friendly hobby. It’s really difficult to tell kids to not do something without providing an alternative activity.

If you have questions or concerns, or your child is having difficulties during this time, please contact us at klass@utk.eduor 865-974-6177 to schedule a telehealth appointment.

*Adapted from the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses.COVID