Marion Bilich, PhD, on Graphic News Footage

Help her make sense out of the graphic images she's seen.


My little girl walked into the room while we were watching some very grisly news footage. She caught us totally by surprise, and was visibly upset about what she saw. I feel guilty that this happened, but my husband and I need to

stay informed about events that are going on. How can I comfort her?


You shouldn't feel guilty about what happened. It's inevitable that your child will eventually see pictures or videos of the attacks. While you have some control over what she sees in your home, you cannot control everything that she will see. In the weeks and months ahead there are likely to be more disturbing events.

What is important is that you help your child make sense out of what she has seen. If she's upset, encourage her to express her feelings. Ask her open-ended questions that encourage her to share her feelings and confusion. One example: "Could you tell me a little about the pictures/videos you saw?" You might encourage her to make a drawing of what she saw and then talk about the drawing


While you feel the need to stay informed about what's happening, you might consider limiting your own television viewing. Watching footage of traumatic events for hours on end probably isn't good for any of us. Perhaps you can cut down on television viewing and turn to other media -- radio, newspapers, and Internet sites.

  • Click here to read more about Dr. Bilich

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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