(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus outbreak around the world has inspired viral videos on TikTok which has prompted new questions for parents when it comes to talking to kids about the public health emergency.
Teens and children with access to the video-sharing platform are creating and absorbing the rapidly disseminated content, which lately has been filled with news about COVID-19.
One Vietnamese dancer and choreographer from Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Đăng, shared a catchy handwashing video that racked up nearly three million views on TikTok and inspired a new viral PSA and dance challenge.
Đăng also shared the video on Instagram where he invited others to take part in the simple and effective disease prevention method and dubbed it the “ghencvoychallenge.”
As more and more users across the globe continue to create their own spin on coronavirus dance videos, the World Health Organization even jumped in on the trend, creating its first video last week.
Some videos are more daunting than educational — like glimpses of cruise ship passengers under quarantine — which could potentially be scary for younger viewers.
“I know my kids have heard a lot about the virus and they just yesterday confided in me that they are worried that their schools are going to close and they’re nervous their grandparents are going to get sick,” ABC News technology contributor Becky Worley said.
Expert Advice for Parents Navigating Coronavirus on Social Media
Dr. Janet Taylor told ABC News’ Good Morning America that it’s important to keep an open conversation with kids as they continue to explore the topic online.
“As parents we’ll take any port of entry to talk to them, so check in with them — you can explore and get information together,” the psychiatrist said. “We can get their reaction and ask them to tell us how they feel, explain how the virus is spread and teach them how to wash their hands.”
“Encourage them to greet people — without touching adults and other children,” she added.
Taylor also emphasized the importance of creating a sense of normalcy, especially in the case of schools being closed.
“Schools are still safe places — if your child is in a school that’s closed, it’s not play time you still want them to study. Again, it’s a time to explain how the virus is spread and what symptoms may be like,” Taylor said.
“If they need to go to the doctor they can, but sometimes staying home may be safer for everyone,” she added.
Taylor also suggested how to quell any kids’ fears if their parent is sick.
“The reality is we all get sick, so it’s an opportunity to talk about what their symptoms are like,” she said.
Parents can also remind their children of healthy habits like keeping hands away from their faces, washing hands constantly and “reestablish what those boundaries are, what you do when you don’t feel well and the fact that they are safe,” she noted.
Top Takeaways for Parents
Know what your kids are watching and listening to, check in and stay in front of this.
Let them know what’s being done to keep them safe and healthy.
Keep information honest and simple for kids.
Validate their concerns and be available to answer any questions.
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