Four in Ten Parents Say Children Are Worried About Terrorism, 13 Per Cent Put off Public Transport

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A new study conducted for NGO the Mental Health Foundation has found a large proportion of parents reported their children were anxious and worried about world events, with terrorism representing the greatest concern among the youngest people in Britain.

In the study, conducted by YouGov for the Mental health Foundation, 41 per cent of parents reported that their children were “anxious about the threat of terrorism”.

In changes of attitude which were recognised as indicative of a child becoming more concerned, 61 per cent of parents surveyed said their children had started to ask “a lot more questions” about world events, and 24 per cent of children had sought the reassurance of their parents about events.

Perhaps most tellingly, 13 per cent of parents reported their children had started to ask them to avoid going on public transport and to crowded public spaces — locations associated with mass-casualty terror attacks.

The research on the impacts of events in the news cycle on children comes less than a year after an Islamic radical terrorist targeted an event for children in Manchester, United Kingdom, killing 22 at an Ariana Grande concert. The youngest victim was eight years old, and 10 of the dead were under the age of 20. Over 500 people were injured in the bomb blast detonated by Muslim terrorist Salman Abedi.

The research also suggests the concerns children experience reflect those held by the parents themselves. Some 33 per cent reported their children were anxious about Donald Trump, 32 per cent about climate change, and 23 per cent about nuclear war.

Responding to the findings, child psychologist 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.”

In advice for parents, the foundation said children should be allowed to discuss and ask questions about concerning events but be not oversaturated with the news.

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