Russia-Ukraine war: Experts fear impact of unfiltered social media clips of war on kids, teens

Social media feeds have been flooded with raw footage of war ever since Russia invaded Ukraine over two weeks ago. Experts wonder what kind of impact this kind of unfiltered and often times unsolicited footage is having on social media's most impressionable users. 

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Biden Administration hosted 30 of the top social media influencers to brief them on the situation in Ukraine. A large chunk of America's youth is tethered in some way to social media outlets where these individuals have garnered a large following. 

Social feeds offer a conduit to war-torn carnage unlike never before and experts fear some youths might have trouble processing such disturbing images. 

"When they see something like that, there’s no place to put it," explained Child and Adolescent Therapist Darby Fox. "How do you understand the bombs going off? The bodies strewn about with blood, it’s a very scary impact."

TikTok, one of the most popular video-based social media apps available, yields thousands of clips from the battlefield with a simple keyword search of "Ukraine War Footage." Joyce Jennell-Streeter, a Philadelphia middle school student, has seen videos of devastation and finds it "shocking."

"It’s on TikTok mostly. It’s scary to know that stuff like this is happening, people are dying, scared and it’s like the stuff you see in history books that you didn’t think was gonna happen again," Jennell-Streeter said. 

Her best advice to her peers who feel overwhelmed by the traumatic footage? "Put the phone down." 

Experts likely agree. Fox said her clients who struggle with anxiety have found it difficult to understand violent scenes of death and destruction. 

"They reached out immediately because it was very scary. There’s no precedence for this so if you struggle with any kind of anxiety you’re not sure what to do because everything we teach you is based on steps," Fox said. 

Experts say that parents should be cognizant of what their children are watching on their phones and have honest discussions about the continued conflict in Ukraine. 




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