I get to see a lot as one of the Community Managers for Momio. But seeing kids talk about terror always hits me a bit harder, and makes me stop what I’m doing and just pause for a moment. Every time.
I see how the kids talk about terror and everything that is happening in today’s society. They think terrorism is wrong. They get sad about it and they are frustrated. You can read about what kids should be allowed to discuss when terror strikes in a previous blog post.
I completely understand their feelings, because terror is frustrating and scary, not just for kids.
I was traveling a few days back and was about to board an airplane. The speakers delivered a message regarding the rule about only having one item hand luggage. Not complying with the rule would result in not being allowed to board the flight. A bit harsh, but fair enough. I get it.
The boy sitting next to me, around 10 years old, made a comment to his parents: “It’s probably higher security because of what happened in Manchester you know, after the Ariana Grande concert.” Smart kid. Curious kid. But I am pretty sure this had nothing to do with terror, simply just about lack of space in the overhead compartments.
It made me think long and hard about how kids experience these uncertain times.
Terror mixed up with everything else, like normal teenage confusion. What is what? Is something happening because of terror, or simply because of full overhead compartments? The parents did not answer him. They did no explaining, and it made me frustrated too. It was clear that he needed to talk about his concerns. But I also understand that his concerns are difficult to respond to, and perhaps not an appropriate topic to discuss just when about to board an airplane.
I can see on Momio that posts about terror topics are actually written in a very grown-up way. Taken from the internet, or overheard by someone at home.
This is difficult.
Perhaps grown-up words are needed. Maybe it would be weird to obscure terror for kids. They’re online, they know exactly what is going on. Perhaps without completely understanding what it really is or what it actually means. I don’t know what the right approach is, but our kids are growing up in a world where terror is a real worry and becomes a more heavily discussed topic. Children need to have these conversations and get responses they can understand and which make sense to them – no matter how difficult it is to make sense out of something as horrible as terror.