In light of the Aurora movie theater shooting, and the constant violent details featured in the news, new research suggest children who observe these incidents on their television sets may in fact become traumatized.

Lead study author Beverly Raphael AM, Chair of the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma Loss and Grief Network and head of the Psychological and Addiction Medicine Unit, both at the ANU Medical School, believes parents should limit the amount of news, whether it be images and reports, children are exposed to.

“Children are very vulnerable in the face of such violence. They are likely to be fearful, anxious and insecure,” Professor Raphael said. “Simple responses to their questions and reassurance from parents and carers that they are loved and will be looked after are important during times like this.”

According to Raphael, incidents such as the Colorado massacre, where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured, not only affect the victims and families, but also the nation and its communities as a whole.

Raphael believes these types of violence may spark a fantasy world among children, but with the reality of killings. In addition the problems involved with children, these incidents may also be very problematic for parents, igniting their fears and anxieties.

“This is a reminder of the horrendous trauma, loss and grief of the Norwegian massacre in July last year and the 1996 Port Arthur shooting in Tasmania,” she said.

Raphael stresses that violent and traumatic incidents for many individuals may invoke prior experiences with trauma or loss and that it is important to highlight positivity in people's lives, families, communities and society.

"There is much searching for understanding about individuals who take such actions and how we can prevent similar tragedies in the future,” she said. “The important thing now is to focus on protecting, comforting and caring for those exposed to violence of any type.”