With this weekend likely to include much about the 5 year anniversary of 9-11 there are special concerns about the emotional impact of the images upon children. This warning from the West Coast is appreciated.
For anyone watching television five years ago Monday, the images were shocking and deeply disturbing. Seeing them again as the anniversary of Sept. 11 is marked can reawaken those same horrific fears in any viewer.
But what about children, those who then may have been too young to take in the significance of the terrorist attacks, but now may be old enough to begin exploring this history lesson?
Expert opinions vary on what age is appropriate to begin discussion about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, D.C. But most agree that children in elementary school should be sheltered from the most vivid footage of the events.
“I would prefer that preschool and elementary children actually not watch anything (depicting 9/11 ) on TV. It becomes real to everyone and then it’s too hard to handle,” said Charlotte Reznick, an educational psychologist and associate clinical professor at UCLA. “If you want to use it as a history lesson to tell what happened five years ago, I would much prefer talking about it without pictures.”
Much of the TV programming airing through Monday contains graphic images, including the documentary “9/11 ,” by Gedeon and Jules Naudet, with footage of the trade center collapsing from inside the structure, suicide jumpers and seriously injured survivors.