Psychologist Warns Against Overloading on Ukrainian War Footage

Social media sites have brought the battle to our fingertips.

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The war in Ukraine may be unfolding more than 5,000 miles away, but the battlefield has never felt so close. With thousands of videos on social media depicting the fight, users may be getting overloaded.

"Now the exposure is in their private domains, their rooms, bathroom, bed, classroom, so the impact is going to be tremendous," Dr. Khalid Afzal with the University of Chicago said.

Afzal compares the battlefield playing out on your smartphone to the PTSD much of the country felt after 9/11. Images of a war-torn Ukraine have become accessible through various social media platforms and are giving users of all ages a behind-the-scenes view of the horrors of war.

"Now we have a visceral fear that we didn't have in the past because the images were relatively filtered. It has a more visceral feeling which definitely is linked with a more traumatic effect," Afzal said.

While staying up to date with the war is important, so is knowing when it's time to put down the phone. Experts believe parents should closely monitor their children's phones now more than ever and open a dialogue about what is happening in Ukraine.

"We have to find a way to limit exposure that is true for grown ups, for adults, and it is very important for us to monitor our kids," Afzal said.

Monitoring your children and others battling through the angst of war is a good way to make sure everyone is doing OK. Experts believe the best thing you can do for someone going through anxiety is to let them know it is OK to have those feelings.

"It is OK to be anxious. This is a very important feeling that we have, and we need to acknowledge that. … It is also important that, when we are exposed, to allow our kids to talk about what we have seen, because the more we keep it to ourselves the more it furthers our anxiety and fear. When we start to talk about it, we start to manage it," Afzal said.

For more resources available to deal with anxiety follow this link.

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