NEW CALEDONIA’S CHILDREN COULD BE TRAUMATIZED BY TV TERRORIST REPORTS: PSYCHOLOGISTS

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NEW CALEDONIA’S CHILDREN COULD BE TRAUMATIZED BY TV TERRORIST REPORTS: PSYCHOLOGISTS

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (September 18, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---The continuous television reports of last week’s American terrorist tragedy could have a severe impact on children, psychologists have warned.

In an interview with the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, psychologist Bruno Calandreau said the apocalyptic television footage of the plane-stricken and collapsing towers have the potential to traumatize the children.

"This (footage) has a great impact on children. Since last week, those we receive regularly in our counseling center are all talking about this. To make things worse, the children are on school holidays at the moment, so they spend an awful lot of time watching television," said Calandreau, who runs a practice for children.

"Those horrific scenes unfolding in front of them on a TV screen can develop an anxiety and trigger recurring nightmares. And the fact that these attacks involved planes is another factor. When you live on an island like here, normally a plane means holidays or grandparents. Now it can be seen as a potential threat."

Christine Bories, another psychologist who specializes in children, said parents have "a very important role to play."

"They have to let the children talk about it. They must help put all these fears into words, reassure the kids, maybe saying this is an exceptional event, that it could not happen on a small island like ours because it is very far from the United States, that sort of thing.

"And maybe insist on the human values, solidarity, their importance. And definitely, there is no need to add hate by talking about the possible culprits."

Muslim leaders of the 5,000-strong mainly Indonesian community in New Caledonia have also appealed for tolerance and stressed their religious community is practicing Islam, a religion which "above all preaches tolerance."

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