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How do we talk to kids about the Israel-Hamas war?

Scripps News spoke with Jasna Burza, a Bosnian War survivor, about how we should help children process what they're learning.
How do we talk to kids about the Israel-Hamas war?
Posted at 11:18 PM, Oct 10, 2023

Violent scenes and misinformation about the war between Israel and Hamas are spreading, and presenting a new risk for young ones who may encounter that sort of extreme content online.

Israeli schools and some Jewish schools in the U.S. are warning parents to monitor children's social media, and remove TikTok and other apps that may present violent imagery without warning.

How should adults respond, and guide children in understanding what they're learning about? Scripps News spoke with Jasna Burza, a Bosnian War survivor and author of "Healer in Heels," who offered advice on how to help children process what they're seeing.

"It's slowly and very strategically. I think it's really really difficult for all of us to first, comprehend, just as adults, every single day," Burza told Scripps News. "First it was the Ukraine war last year, and children are being really really overwhelmed, and having a hard time processing."

"We owe it to them to explain what is happening,"  Burza said. "It is very very important to also protect them from a lot of the images."

SEE MORE: European regulators warn X over misinformation, violent war content

Burza spoke of what she remembered of the Bosnian War: "The bombing, things being blown up, snipers. People being wounded. Mothers crying for their children who are being hurt. That is something that I still think about to this day, and something that I don't think I will actually ever forget. Those are the kind of things that children are watching right now."

"When things happen, the old grievances reemerge, the old pain reemerges," Burza said. "We recall things from previous conflicts, from all of those traumas. We can transfer that onto the people around us. How important is is, how incredibly important it is, to really take care of ourselves. Children are great at modeling. They're looking to adults for safety. They're looking to us to look for something they can hold onto. So the parents are the ones to hold a steady hand in that respect."

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