Russia's attack on Ukraine has increased the possibility that younger children might see pictures and videos on social media that relate to the crisis. In addition to images in the news, potentially disturbing content connected with war and violence can be shared on social media outlets that are favoured by children and young people. Children encounter war-related images through traditional media as well.
Video material and photographs have been shared on social media showing, for example, soldiers preparing for war, air raid shelters, destruction caused by war, and people fleeing and pleading for help. Amidst authentic pictures and videos there is content that has been enhanced by using frightening sounds, for example. Soothing words and emojis are used as commentary on videos distributed in the crisis area, using the country's own flag to show support for Ukraine. Children and young people comfort each other by sharing thoughts related to the news. Preschool aged children can see such content while in the company of their older siblings or parents, for example.
It is important for early childhood education staff to be familiar with the digital world that the children inhabit and with the digital experiences that they have. It is important for staff to understand a child's ability to process what they see and hear. Not all platforms used by children have reliable content distributed by officials. The truthfulness of content shared on social media channels cannot always be verified. If necessary, it is also possible to restrict or reduce the use of media consumed by, and the safety of sites that children visit can be checked. Most channels on social media have an age limit of 13 years.
The war also raises concern among personnel. If members of staff discuss the situation among themselves, it is best to make sure that children do not overhear the conversation. It is also good to consider that some children do not see the news, and that the situation has not necessarily been discussed in the homes of all the children.