9/11 anniversary may traumatise kids: Expert

Parents should be wary that anniversary news coverage of the September 11 terrorists attacks could traumatise young children, a grief expert warns.

ANU professor Beverley Raphael said repeated images of bodies falling from the collapsing twin towers in America could be harmful to young children.

She said exposure to the anniversary footage could also trigger fears and anxiety about more recent devastating events such as natural disasters in Queensland, New Zealand and Japan.

"We've had a stream of horrific images this year," she said.

Prof Raphael advised parents to check their kids weren't watching traumatic footage for prolonged periods.

She said switching off the news could be a good idea if parents notice changes in their childrens' behaviour.

She said younger children sometimes get "more aggressive or clingy."

"It's bravado often amongst boys, to try to deal with fears and uncertainty," she said.

Prof Raphael urged parents to give comforting and simple explanations if children ask questions about the terrorist attacks.

"Something like 'Bad things sometimes happen but we're all working hard to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

She said they should avoid too much detail about Osama Bin Laden.


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