News Media Needs to Leave Children of Newtown Mass Shooting Alone (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 11

There has been a lot of criticism of the news media interviewing children right after the mass shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. As part of the news media, I don't normally criticize the news media. I know they have a job to do. Cover the news. Interview witnesses. Get ratings! (Hey, that is part of their job.) "A police officer came in and told us to run outside and so we did," one young unidentified girl told NBC News.

But I agree with the criticism. News media should not be interviewing children. And parents shouldn't allow their children to be interviewed right now.

The children in that school are bound to be in shock right now. They haven't even processed what just happened. How the next few weeks shake out will determine a lot about what happens with their thoughts and emotions going forward.

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Studies have shown that talking about a tragedy immediately afterwards -- and talking, and talking, and talking about it -- deepens the neural pathways, making that groove in the brain that much more deep and difficult to ease later on. NOT that children (or adults for that matter) shouldn't talk about a tragedy. In fact, talking about it is one of the main things that facilitates healing.

But children should be allowed to process difficult emotions in their own time. That might mean that the parents bring them home, gently ask them if they'd like to talk, and if the answer is no, asking them what they'd like to do. Maybe they want to watch a cartoon. Maybe they want to go to bed. Maybe play with a pet. Maybe they want to talk about what happened. So you let them talk, and you listen. You let them do whatever they want to do. If they want to sleep with you, let them do it.

You do NOT get them on a national TV show to go over what happened, and to get into detail about the fear they felt and horror they witnessed. Let them do that next week. Or next month. Or never.

If, after a few weeks, the child doesn't want to talk about it at ALL, then you can deal with that then. It may need to be done under professional supervision. In time, it's good to get a child back into a regular routine, but right now he or she is just processing. They may not even show any extreme emotion right now. It may all come out later.

Eventually, it's good to gently point out a few things on that horrible day that may have been positive. Were their teachers leading them to safety? Are their friends okay? Did they notice all of the officers who came to help? For children to feel safe in this world, it's essential for them to know that incidents like this are not the norm, and that most people are essentially good.

Do you think children should speak to the media?

Image via AOL

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nonmember avatar kat

I agree. The last thing these poor kids need right now is to be bombarded with questions and flashing lights and people they don't really know. They need comfort first--talking can come later if/when they are ready for it.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I think we need to be respectful of everyone in that situation, though I do not fault the parents for allowing it. I'm sure that if I were in a similar shocking situation that I might act as I other wise didn't, or might feel it was in my childs best interest. I have no idea what it's like to be in their shoes or to have that decision.


However, I am looking to help these families, these children, these victims. I'm keep a list on my blog of resources to help, and I hope that if anyone finds a way to help them, that they will let me know.

divam... divamomtjcj

i agree let the kids be

linzemae linzemae

Could not agree more!

nonmember avatar annie

I could not agree more. Let the kids talk in their own time. Dont put them in front of a camera and force it out! I pray the children, families, and faculty find peace and comfort in God and that they may come to understand it all in their own time. May God heal the broken hearts, fears, and hate they may have and know that God has a plan for all of them.

Leilani Planesi Wierzbicki

I do not believe the children should be interviewed at anytime.They should not have to relive this tragedy. I think when the children are ready they will talk to their Mommies and Daddies and the media can interview them (the parents) This is a horrific thing that happen today and my heart,prayers and tears go out to all that are affected by this.I can't understand how anyone can turn a gun on a child.This whole thing is just sick.

nonmember avatar Michelle Johnso

I don't think under any circumstances that a child should have been interviewed that was wrong on the news media to even think about it what if it was one of their children that was shot or even led to safety do you think in their right mind would have let their children be interviewed right now now those children need to be held and loved because of this senseless act and my heart goes out to the families that have to live they the tragedy with Christmas right around the corner tears comes to my eyes just to think of what they have to endure in such a tragedy

tuffy... tuffymama

I wouldn't let my kids speak to the media in a situation like this. Without consent, they shouldn't be grilled by ANYONE. In the old days, the media might have backed off and left the children alone. Now, there is no respect. As long as it jibes with their goals, the media will debase themselves and everyone else to expose everything, even to expose innocent children who have just been through life-altering trauma, to further trauma. Look at how crotch shots are publicized, law-abiding gun owners are villainized, and the media has lost all political objectivity. Trash. They're all fucking trash and vultures.



I was unaware Kiri is a member of the news media. Huh. Learn something new evey day. You couldn't pay me to lump myself in with such vile refuse.

butte... butterflyfreak

I don't blame the parents, most of them were probably in so much shock that they didn't even realize what was going on. The media was definitely wrong to interview children, especially so soon afterwards. Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with people that they would swoop in on a child who just witnessed something so awful and all for RATINGS?? SMH Oh, but it's not the media's fault when some psycho gets it in his head that he wants to go out in a blaze of glory and takes out a bunch of innocents with him! Never mind the fact that the media will crow the killer's name and sensationalize them and their actions.

Amy Thorpe Davis

I'm a former reporter and a mother.  Your post inspired mine.  I think the reporters had to do their jobs and the parents have to do their jobs. http://somebodysparents.com/2012/12/defending-my-former-colleagues-december-17-2012/ 

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