France – the world | Question: How do children talk about the war in Ukraine?

Being vigilant over the displayed images or even to discover the texture of information, there are several important points to properly deal with this topic of concern with children

By La Provence (AFP)

How do we explain war to children? This question has tormented more than one parent since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the abundant media coverage that questions and worries the younger ones.

At the International Press Conference in Tours, young media professionals and a psychotherapist provided answers drawn from their own experiences.

Vigilance over feelings and images

The day after the dispute was announced, we already had over fifty questions and it was flowing, and it was flowingCamille Lawrence, Editor-in-Chief of 1jour1actu, Online Program for CM1, CM2 and 6th Editions (Milan Presse Editions) recalls.

Among the young ones, the question wasn’t even “Will war be in my house?” Because Ukraine don’t even know where it is“And they continued. They thought that,” she continued.The war was on their doorstep‘, they heard, wondering where they would run and whether their father would go to war tomorrow. 1jour1actu sided with”Avoid indulging in passion – the children were already immersed in it – and, on the contrary, give them a bath of understanding little by little“.

At Bayard Presse, publisher of youth magazines for all age groups – Astrapi, Images Doc, Okapi, Phosphore,”We tried to be real vigil on the photos‘,” explains Jean-Yves Dana, editor in chief of Okapi.The images chosen to accompany our reporting or explanatory work have a certain distance with the violence of the facts: we have shown, for example, the devastation in the country but not the wounded or dead.“, he continued.

Information Basics

The way we treat young children is also very different from that of adults. “Before the age of five, they will feel especially anxious around them and should be reassured above all by making it clear that they are irresponsible, since they tend to return everything to themselves.‘,” explains Marie-Noel Clément, director of the Children’s Day Hospital Andre Bouloch.

She adds that when they go to primary school, they’ll bring back great stories from the playground, and it’s important to get an organized word from parents and teachers.

And with teens, who have too much information via social networks and permanently on their smartphones, it is important to teach them to have a critical relationship with sources in order to manage this emotional flow. “againstThis war gives us an opportunity to work harder on the basics of information”, notes Serge Barbet, deputy director of the Center for Media and Information Education (CLIME), which operates in schools, colleges and high schools.

So it is important to be clear: What is the source? How is the information produced? How is it distributed? “Media culture is not innate and due to the influence of social networks and platforms, this work is more fundamental than ever.‘ confirms Serge Barbet.

Regarding the information war in which Russia is involved, 1jour1actu decided to decipher an image, says Camille Lawrence: the image of a Russian TV channel employee who exploded during a pro-Kremlin TV newscast with a banner condemning the attack in Ukraine.

In Fritz Le Mag, a local newspaper for 8-year-olds that uses Turin news to talk about the world, “We turned as quickly as possible to the nearby actors”, says Matthew Bey, one of its founders. Thus the magazine considered the story of a Ukrainian volleyball player from Tours Club or the story of young Ukrainians who were welcomed into the classroom.

Psychologist Marie-Noëlle Clément also recommends encouraging children and teens to engage in concrete actions (such as participating in fundraising, for example) so that they don’t remain mere information-deficient bystanders.

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