Survey reveals 41% of parents think their children are anxious about terrorism.

By agency reporter
January 24, 2018

A survey of parents with children aged five to 18 has revealed that 41 per cent of parents think their children are anxious about the threat of terrorism.

The YouGov survey of over 1,800 parents was commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation to uncover the impact world events could be having on children, and equip parents to respond.

Almost a quarter of parents (23 per cent) indicated their children were anxious about the threat of nuclear war. A third of parents (33 per cent) thought their children were anxious about Donald Trump’s presidency. A third of parents (32 per cent) also thought their children were anxious about global warming and climate change.

In terms of signs parents are noticing, of those whose children were anxious, six in 10 (61 per cent) have noticed their children starting to ask a lot more questions, a quarter (24 per cent) had noticed their children seeking reassurance, and 13 per cent reported that their children have gone as far as asking to avoid activities such using public transport or going to busy public places. A further eight per cent reported their children having nightmares.

It found that overall almost four in 10 parents (39 per cent) were concerned that their children are becoming more anxious about world and national events.

Child psychology expert, Dr Camilla Rosan of the Mental Health Foundation said, "We often forget that distressing world events can have a significant impact on the mental health of our children. This is especially true in the digital age where it’s no longer possible to shield our children from worrying or scary news.

"Our poll indicates widespread anxiety among children – especially about the threat of terrorism. But the good news is there is a lot we can do to help children cope with scary events.

"It’s important for example to let children know the facts of any given event but also to put things into perspective and let them know they are safe. Anxiety about scary news events is normal, but not something children have to deal with alone.

"Parents can really help tackle problems early and support good mental health for their children by talking about these issues in an open and honest way. This lets them know that it’s okay to talk about scary or tricky subjects, and hopefully, will give them the confidence to talk about things that might be playing on their mind at other times too."

The Mental Health Foundation has produced a guide, Talking to your children about scary world news. Read it here 

* Mental Health Foundation


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