For many of us–parents and teens–when we log onto Facebook, Twitter, or even check the news, it seems like it’s on a constant cycle of negativity. Parents may think it’s only their newsfeeds that look like this, but it’s everyone’s. Another mass shooting, another bombing in Europe, another terrorist plot foiled–what is this constant stream of violence doing to us? The New York Times recently published an article discussing this issue and how it may be manifesting as symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults.
Violent news could lead to symptoms of PTSD in teens
According to the article, the amount of violence and the immediacy of it can lead to symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults. Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychologist, says, “With the frequency of shooting and terror attacks there is a sense of anxiety that’s building in people, a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness.” Even if the facts are that you’re not really in any danger, the frequency and the amount of violence we see on social media and on the news increases anxiety and fear.
Tips for fighting the effects of violent news
It’s normal–especially for an adult–to want to be tuned into what’s happening in the world. According to studies and professionals, though, issues (symptoms of PTSD in teens, for example) can arise with too much exposure too often. The article provided some advice for controlling and managing the fear and anxiety that comes with a constant stream of violence.
Limit your exposure time.
You don’t need to be plugged into the outside world at all times. We know bad things happen everyday, but if you’re exposed to them constantly, it can be a damper on your attitude and even lead to issues like symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults (anxiety, paranoia, etc.). Decide on a time to check in with the world, whether that’s during your lunch or before bed–just limit the time.
Think of facts over fear.
This can be very difficult, especially for a parent. Thinking about all the school shootings while putting your child on the bus to school, for example, can create a large amount of fear. In these moments, try to consider the actual statistics. A plane or a school or a train all have very high chances of being completely safe. Thinking about this can help you destress.
Check in with your kids.
If something negative is happening all over the news–the Paris Attack, for example–your child can be affected by it, too, especially if you’re discussing it frequently around them. Ask them what they think about the recent events and if they’re feeling okay about it. Symptoms of PTSD in teens can pop up when they’re being exposed to this violence so often.
Go through life normally.
The goal of these domestic and international terrorist attacks is to put fear into the daily lives of citizens. But going out of your way to avoid fun or common places, like church or mass transit, just freaks your children out and creates unnecessary anxiety.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD in teens, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls develop healthy habits for teens and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.
For more information about how Solstice East treats PTSD in teens, please call 828-484-9946.