'Mum, you might even die': Girl's heartbreaking text
PANIC buying of toilet paper and excessive coronavirus chatter is fuelling fears in kids that their parents and grandparents are going to die, with parents told to "turn it off".
One 11-year-old messaged her mother saying: "We are all probably getting the coronavirus and people have already bought all the toilet paper possible. And I'm worried if nanny and grandad get it they will die as they are old and health problems. You might even die as you have health problems."
The daughter's mother said her "heart broke" when she got the message, particularly as her elderly parents had just visited.
"I was devastated to think she was this anxious. My heart broke because I thought I had shielded her from this," she said "It's a scary time for children right now, and not just young ones. As a daughter with two parents in their 70s with serious health concerns, I'm worried.
"Older people are those most at risk and the ones we should be focusing on.
"They are the ones that should have enough supplies for two weeks. I have a genuine fear for my parents' health.
"And I'm also furious that uneducated people are selfishly buying up toilet paper and spreading panic that my children are picking up on."
"As parents with young children, it's our responsibility to remain calm, especially when the coronavirus is really not much of a threat at the moment."
Bond University psychologist Dr Peta Stapleton has warned parents off exposing their children to too much coronavirus news, instead explaining the situation in an age-appropriate manner.
She said children absorbed everything they saw and heard but unfortunately didn't have the ability to understand it or process it as rationally.
"My advice really is to turn it off when kids are in earshot, not just the TV but the news in car and on the kitchen radio," she said.
"Don't assume they aren't absorbing everything around them. The messages we are telling our kids are sticking, so be very careful what you expose them to and what you say."
Advice for parents.
- Turn off the rolling coverage
- Be truthful and calm
- Ask them about their feelings
- Monitor their use of social media