Social media posts about earthquakes can have a negative impact on children’s lives

The earthquake, which hit 10 provinces in Kahramanmaraş, shook the whole country with its magnitude and devastating effect, both materially and morally. After the earthquake, which hit 10 provinces and had a devastating effect, social media shares grew like an avalanche. The moment-by-moment sharing of what happened in the earthquake zone on social media generated a large number of views around the world and in our country. While the sharing of images of the people under the rubble and devastated places caused grief and fear in the country, experts also commented on how and in what way they would affect human life. Specialist psychiatrist/psychotherapist. Dr. Gülnur Şen explained with important details

“We should not force people who experienced the earthquake to give their personal details”

Expressing that children’s faces should be frozen while sharing about children, Uzm. Dr Gülnur Şen said, “Trauma affects not only those who are alive, but also those who witness it. These traumas are more common in such a disaster. Therefore, in order not to create secondary trauma, we should pay attention to the messages on social media platforms. Especially when sharing about children, children’s faces should be blurred. We should also do this so as not to adversely affect children’s future lives. As a country, we embraced each other very well, we tried to heal our wounds, we loved each other, but we generally tried to meet their needs for shelter, clothing, and food.After completing these, psychological first aid should come into play.We should not force people who experienced the earthquake to share their experiences and personal details. We shouldn’t make sentences like “Everything will be fine, at least you’re still alive” because at that moment the person may feel guilty for being alive or giving blame themselves for the loss of a loved one. It is helpful not to use such phrases, as they can reinforce guilt rather than comfort it.

“Let us not forget that in order to be useful to others, we must first protect our own health”

Talking about how we should psychologically approach children exposed to earthquakes, Uzm. Dr. Gülnur Şen said, “First of all, of course, both the children who experienced the earthquake during the earthquake and the children who watched that process on the screens were very affected by this process, even though they were not exposed to the earthquake. What we have to do with children is to listen to them first, regardless of their age. We need to understand how they feel. Apart from that, they can be influenced by the social media shares. We need to curb social media. This restriction may be a little more difficult for adolescents, but we should definitely supervise younger children. Two different reactions can occur in children in this process, both of which are very healthy reactions. Some children respond by screaming, crying and some children by continuing their lives as if nothing happened. When we see a child going on with his life, we shouldn’t approach him with statements like ‘How emotionless this child is, he didn’t react at all’. Such children may also respond to trauma in the same way. There is no rule that every person or child will have the same reaction. Some comments may appear later. If the child’s reactions last longer than a month, it is helpful to consult a child psychiatrist. Likewise, if our physical and mental symptoms last longer than a month, we should definitely consult a mental health professional. Let’s not forget that in order to be useful to others, we must first protect our own health. As we do this, we need to think about what else we can do for the people of that region without risking information pollution. Everyone is doing their best in one way or another. We have tried to do our best, both on behalf of our hospital and ourselves.”

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