The ability of children and young people to process the crisis and their exposure to the news reporting about it varies depending on their age. When the issue is discussed in ECEC, schools and educational institutions, it is important to consider the development level of the children and young people in question. The need to talk about the matter is always individual, and it is not advisable to force conversations about the matter. Staff should be sensitive for situations in which children, pupils and students express their wish to talk about what has happened. If necessary, the issue can also be discussed in connection with teaching.
The younger the children, the more important it is to protect them from detailed reporting and upsetting images in the news. However, discussing the issue with children in ECEC is sometimes appropriate for a justified reason. It is difficult for a child to understand the human suffering, war and violence they see in the news. ECEC centres should ensure that children are not exposed to news dealing with the crisis, for example, by overhearing adults talk about it. Children must be protected from additional recalling of the details and news images. It is important for a small child to feel that they and their family are safe.
School-age children already follow the news in the media independently. They also share news and material related to the war with one other in the social media and have conversations about the issue out of reach of adults. When discussing the issue with children and young people, it is important to ensure that the information given to them and the answers to their questions are based on facts.
Schoolchildren can imagine the threats described in the news happening to themselves, but are not always able to realistically assess the likelihood of the danger. For example, young people may ask how the Ukraine crisis will affect the security situation in Finland in future, whether it is safe to live in Finland or whether Finland will also be drawn into the war at some point. It is extremely important to correct any misunderstandings and rumours in the conversations. Special attention should also be paid to the use of social media services and sharing their content.