Media saturation can lead to anxiety - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Media saturation can lead to anxiety

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Like horror movies come to life shootings, bombings and mother nature's fury all play out on a big screen.  While you may wish it was fiction, the "live coverage" stamp assures it is very real.

"When you bombard yourself with watching constant coverage of not just the same event, but event after event, it cultivates this idea that the world is just a dangerous awful place," said family and marriage therapist Dr. Roger Butner.

The complete devastation in Oklahoma is the latest in a string of disastrous events felt nationwide. Thanks to smart phones, television and internet we're alerted each and every time tragedy strikes.  All that over-saturation can cause damage all its own.

"Keeping up with every update, it just makes us feel helpless and nervous and scared. It's just debilitating after a while," said Butner.

Butner says it is easy to become lost in tragedy, which can lead to anxiety and irrational fear.  He says when bad things happen - and they will - to look for the good.

"We don't have to go through this alone. We take care of each other; we look out for each other. That's important to emphasize," said Butner.

With kids it is especially important to keep their exposure limited.  However, don't hide what has happened from them.

"Parents often say, I can tell that this could be an upsetting event for my child, or maybe it has been an upsetting event, so let's just avoid it and not talk about," said Butner. "Actually the opposite is more helpful."

Butner suggests asking kids how they feel about an event or what they have heard.  Then reassure them and answer any questions in an honest, age appropriate way. 

More resources for dealing with tragedy and over saturation can be found here.

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