• Deirdre Brandner

Creepy Creatures and Challenges Frightening Our Children

From Huggy Wuggy to Momo to Slenderman, there is always going to be content that is a hoax, aiming to simply scare the viewer. It is important that as parents we let our children know in a calm but practical manner that these images and hoaxes are not real. For young children who find it hard to differentiate between fact and fiction, this might require repeated reminders that are provided with reassurance.

What can we do:

Be Vigilant:

As hard as it is to manage all the devices and all the controls for different aged children in your family, we need to be up to date with what they are being exposed to.

Parental controls on devices are crucial. Even with these device settings and parental control, children’s video clips can still be hacked.

Ask Questions:

It’s important that we ask our children about what games they are playing. Ask if any weird or scary pop-ups are happening. By talking with your child regularly and monitoring what they are watching we can gain their trust and develop insights into what’s happening.

Remember they need to know that you are not going to BAN them from screens and devices if they let you know that they have been exposed to frightening content. We need them to learn how to navigate these situations.

Understand the Peer Pressure:

As parents, we can become very alarmed if we hear about these challenges or characters being accessed by our child or their friends. We need to remind them that it is important for them to be looking after themselves and those around them. By letting you know what is happening they are not getting into trouble. Our children need to trust that we can calmly help them with tools to manage these situations.

Reassure & Hug:

When children are frightened or overwhelmed they need us to be their anchor. Some children will be traumatised by what they have seen or heard, others will be similarly impacted but won't necessarily share their fears. They may shut down. They may be worried you won't let them go to their mate’s house or will judge their friends. We have to show unconditional support and love. A cuddle, hug, or arm on the shoulder is the most powerful thing we can provide. Now is not the time for “I told you so” or “Screens are not safe". The message is that most things on the internet are fine but there are some times when inappropriate content will present. We need our children to come to us knowing we can provide comfort, reassurance and help to deal with this.

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