The horrors of war are no longer limited to grainy newsreel footage and archival photos. Today, violence plays out in real-time on social media with video and images that can spread rapidly and traumatize millions in just a matter of hours.
As the Israel-Hamas war rages on, at least two Jewish schools in Los Angeles have issued warnings to families about this threat.
“In Israel, a strong recommendation has been sent to parents urging them to delete their children’s social media (TikTok, Instagram, even YouTube if unmonitored) in the wake of recent events,” Kadima Day School in West Hills said in a letter to parents on Tuesday. “We are deeply concerned about the emotional well-being of our students. As such, we are recommending the same as soon as possible.”
School administrators point out that social media platforms work on algorithms that follow the behavior of their users. If a student watches a graphic video from the war, they are likely to be served more.
“Every parent of course will decide what is appropriate information to share with their children. With that, it can be deeply damaging for children to see such visual images that they cannot unsee,” the school’s letter read.
Milken Day School in Brentwood shared a similar warning with its families on Tuesday.
“As you may have heard, Hamas said they will publicly post videos of the barbaric acts of torture and execution of the hostages,” school officials said. “We all join together and pray for the safety of all of the hostages. If Hamas posts these videos, we emphatically ask that you do not share these videos with or permit your child(ren) to watch them.”
The day school also offered guidelines and resources for how parents can discuss the war with their kids.
Child psychologists agree – that the risk of exposing children to traumatic imagery right now is too great.
“I 100% encourage parents to – for now – delete the apps and explain to them why, because there are very disturbing images,” Dr. Natasha Beck from drorganicmommy.com told KTLA. “Once they see them, they cannot get them out of their mind.”
Jonah Platt, whose son attends an L.A. Jewish day school, says that while children need to be protected, it’s equally important to provide them with comfort and stability during this difficult time.
“It’s important for our kids to see that we are going to live our lives as we have been,” he said. “There are terrible things going on, but thank God we live in America.”