It may be very difficult for us to understand what possessed a man to shoot and kill 50 people in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques, but due to his abhorrent use of a livestream on social media, many New Zealanders and others around the world were exposed to this atrocious act in a way that we may never, ever forget.
If children or young people have been exposed to the footage, they can be upset or confused about what they may have seen. Netsafe offer some helpful information for parents on helping young people who have been exposed to upsetting content.
Will my child be in trouble if they saw the footage?
Your child may have accidentally come across footage of the attack online, or it might have been shared with them by someone they know – they may even have sought the footage out through curiousity.
Footage of the attacks as well as the gunman’s manifesto have been deemed objectionable under New Zealand law. Therefore, it is an offence to have possession of the content or to distribute it. While several people have been reportedly charged with offences relating to the content, if your child has accidentally viewed the footage they are unlikely to be charged with an offence. However, they must not share it with others, nor save it on their device. It is important that they are able to come forward and talk about what they have seen and their feelings surrounding that without fear of prosecution, for their own wellbeing.
If you, or someone you know, has viewed the footage and needs to talk to someone, please contact, Need to Talk, or text 1737.
Netsafe advise that:
If you find footage of the attacks or links to the terrorist’s document online you should report it to Netsafe via our online report form but you should not keep copies or share it. Please ensure you include a URL link as part of your report so we can act to get the content removed. If you see content that you believe indicates that you or another person is in danger or a crime is being committed, call the Police on 111 immediately.
What should I do if my child has seen the footage?
As with any distressing content online, if your child wishes to talk about something they have seen online, Netsafe offer these tips:
- Avoid blame about how they came across the content
- Reassure them that it isn’t their fault
- Don’t trivialise it by saying that it may be fake
- Provide comfort and assurance
- Acknowledge their feelings, ie ‘It’s normal to be scared’
- Taking away the technology may mean that they are less likely to come to you if something else happens
- Tell them you are glad that they came to you about it
- Seek professional help for your child if intense feelings or behaviours persist
Has your child seen something online that upset them?
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”