New Site Helps Kids Cope with Bad News

Behind the News, a weekly ABC News broadcast, has launched a new web page designed to support students who are exposed to upsetting news. Instead of ignoring stories that may seem difficult for children, the program aims to cover the news in a more balanced, child-friendly way.

“Adult news doesn’t always have this balance,” said series producer and host Nathan Bazley to Back Story. “So it can seem to kids, who don’t fully understand that the news isn’t reporting everything that is going on, that nothing good is happening in the world.” 

When possible, the team tries to impart a positive takeaway from an otherwise discouraging story, such as the importance of free speech in light of the imprisonment and trial of Australian journalist Peter Greste. 

BBC Newsround’s target audience is also children. Similar to Behind the News, uplifting stories balance the more difficult ones. It also focus on explaining major international issues, such as the ongoing war in Syria.

At the end of many articles that include unsettling content, users are directed to advice for those upset by the news. Both Newsround and Behind the News provide additional resources for their readers, incuding a helpline for distressed children. 

The Dart Center has compiled a host of resources and tips for journalists working with children:

Quick tips for interviewing children.

Dart's comprehensive guide, "Covering Children and Trauma."

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network's resources on responding to a school crisissuggestions for educators, suggestions for talking to children, tips for youth talking to journalists, parent guidelines for helping youthage-related reactions to a traumatic event, and psychological impacts to consider following a recent shooting.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Tips for Talking to Children and Youth After Traumatic Events.

American Psychological Association's guide to help children manage their distress following a school shooting.

A fact sheet on the effects of trauma-related news media on children.

An overview of current research on the impacts of media coverage of tragedy on children.

Oklahoma University's Terrorism & Disaster Center.