guidelines for viewing the "9/11" program, to be aired
on CBS, Sunday, march 10, 9pm EST
Trauma Studies Program at New York University
A. Gaffney, RN, DNSc, FAAN
have been some concerns as to the possible content/ appropriateness
of viewing the CBS program, " 9/11." It is important
to recognize that not everyone will react the same or share the
same beliefs. People have different reasons for their feelings;
some believe the program pays tribute to the first responders,
others feel it may be too soon, intrusive or upsetting to air
such a program and still others are interested in gaining a better
sense of the tragedy that will live on in all Americans
of how you feel, these are some suggested guidelines that may
be helpful for everyone: families and friends of those who were
lost in the terrorist attacks, those who survived by escaping,
those who witnessed the events from near or far, or through the
media, and especially for children. In short, we all must exercise
caution and be prepared.
more information go to the CBS
website and read more about the program to help you determine
if it is appropriate for you and your family. Both the New
York Times (March 6th) and Time magazine have published reviews
and can provide additional details. The program uses footage filmed
by Jules and Gedeon Naudet with their friend James Hanlon, a New
York City Firefighter. The program follows a probationary firefighter
in his first months with the FDNY, the morning of September 11
and the days that follow.
THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO WATCH THIS PROGRAM.
YOU DO NOT PLAN TO VIEW THE PROGRAM:
you have decided not to view the program
TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT
something else that evening. Be with people and stay away from
YOU ARE UNDECIDED:
If you are not sure about watching the program, have a friend
tape it and wait until you are clearer about what you want to
do. Do something else that evening.
YOU PLAN TO VIEW THE PROGRAM:
those who plan to watch the program, take these simple steps:
not watch the program alone, be with friends, family, people with
whom you feel comfortable.
about the program during and afterwards, share your thoughts and
that many people will return to the feelings they experienced
on September 11th: sadness, tearfulness, shock, disbelief. This
is to be expected and is common when people revisit a painful
considerations: If you are still feeling somewhat upset from the
events of 9/11; i.e. experience difficulty sleeping, have a hard
time concentrating at work or school, or cant seem to get
thoughts and images of September 11th out of your mind, it may
be best for you to wait and see the program at a later time when
you are feeling more "back to normal."
are also some people who have chosen to "move on" very
quickly, even though they may have been in harms way on
September 11th. They tend to avoid any discussion about that day
or quickly change the subject when it comes up in conversation.
They should consider waiting or understand that it is possible
to experience feelings that they did not recall in those first
days. They may even remember things that happened for the first
those who have experienced loss or another crisis since September
11th, viewing the program may bring back feelings from all events
in the past six months; consider waiting to see the program.
Consider some "self care" strategies to soothe, provide
relief and minimize any uncomfortable feelings: Read a favorite
book before bed, have a favorite food or drink, play peaceful
or relaxing music, give/get physical contact, look at calming
images, and depending on your beliefs, pray or meditate.
if, during the program, you find you are having a very difficult
time watching, turn the television off. If you are having any
questions about how you are feeling, concerned about your reactions
or the responses of others around you, call Project Liberty in
NY (1-866-270-9857) and Project Phoenix in NJ (609- 777-0728)
or call your health care provider.
SPECIFICALLY FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS;
Children under the age of 11 should not view the program under
11 AND 13 YEARS:
It is recommended that children between the ages of 11 and 13
should not view this program. However, if adults in the family
have already discussed it in detail and are very clear about their
choice, then older children (12-13) may watch in the company of
their parents. A better option is for adults to tape the program,
preview it and then show it at a later time to children in this
CHILDREN AND TEENS:
Put Them To Bed Before 9 pm! Be mindful that this is a two-hour
program and will end late. This should not be the special occasion
to "let them stay up late." Going to bed immediately
after a program that may be upsetting can result in nightmares
and disrupted sleep.
Now, Watch Later:
Parents may want to first consider taping the program, viewing
it later (the next day or much later) and forming their own opinions
as to how their children will react, as well as how they have
reacted themselves. They may even consider watching the taped
program without the sound. Using the closed captions is another
possibility. Saving the program for when children are older and
better able to understand the events of 9/11 and have more emotional
distance from that day may be a sensible choice.
Watch with Others:
It is strongly recommended that older children/teens of any age
should NOT watch the program alone. They should be with caring
adults, family members, and good friends.
Even if other family members have decided to watch the program,
let older children/teens know that they do not have to watch the
program. However, make sure someone is with the child. If children
decide after a few minutes into the program that they do not want
to continue watching, have a replacement activity ready and a
person to stay with the child and talk.
Talk about the program AND reactions to it. Talk about physical
reactions as well as feelings and thoughts. Observe older children
and teens as they watch the program. Acknowledge that people will
have different feelings after seeing the program.
Consider some "self care" strategies for comfort and
relief: Read/tell a favorite story before bed, offer a favorite
food or drink, play favorite or relaxing music, give/get a hug,
talk and depending on your beliefs, pray or meditate. Check in
the next morning; how did they sleep, were there any dreams, disturbing
Special Considerations For Teachers and Schools:
and teachers should be aware that the program will be aired.
should be available to families before the March 10th, preferably
while school is in session.
Teachers need to know that there my be questions and conversation
about the program in class the next day, especially for high
not to hold discussions if there are students in the group who
did not see the program, although that may be difficult if not
impossible to control.
should be prepared for limited discussion.
that children/teens who have viewed the program may have some
behavioral reactions the next day in school. Staff and administration
should be alert to this possibility and have support systems