To not want my daughter looking at image of concentration camps

(268 Posts)
Coffeeessential Wed 02-Oct-13 11:33:19

My daughter has just started Yr 5, and is studying World War 2 this year. She was already having difficulty coping with the subject as she is so sensitive, but I saw nothing wrong with her being given the basic facts as long as there was not too much detail - She's only nine after all.
When she came home very quiet yesterday afternoon, she told me that the class had been looking at online images of 'Jews in concentration camps', and I am furious. While I understand that we cannot protect children from the world forever, surely nine is too young to even begin comprehending such terrible images?
I would appreciate other people's opinions, before I go crashing into the Headmaster's office!

MollyHooper Wed 02-Oct-13 12:10:32

If you feel they were left to Google on their own without proper supervision then do chat to the teacher about it.

However IMO, it is more likely that the teacher had given certain instructions. What to search and where etc...

steppemum Wed 02-Oct-13 12:10:44

There is a big difference between learning about something and seeing the images of the concentration camp.

We saw those when we did GCSE history, aged 15 and there were some very distressed girls in the class even then. The images are very strong and distressing and it really should be something shown at an age appropriate time.

Most of the things suggested on here - dressing up, role play, Diary of Anne Frank, discussion, selected photos, information, description are all fine. We shouldn't Molly coddle and we should teach history, but the actual film footage is something that should be saved for later.

claraschu Wed 02-Oct-13 12:12:35

My 17 year old son was crying at the Imperial War Museum on a school trip and trying to hide from the rest of the class. I don't think a 6 year old is the right age to see that exhibit.

somewherewest Wed 02-Oct-13 12:12:38

I'm afraid I'm of the school of thought that it's a luxury of the Western world to be 'too sensitive' to images, given the atrocities and horror that many children the world over are living, day in, day out

Yep. We in the west are (mercifully for us) incredibly sheltered by historical/global standards.

boschy Wed 02-Oct-13 12:14:23

I dont really understand, because some children are exposed to the most appalling atrocities and horror, and actually living - or dying as a result - that ALL children should be exposed to them?

Why?

MollyHooper Wed 02-Oct-13 12:14:47

But isn't that the point steppemum? Even at 15 it is distressing.

I'm 25 and it's distressing, it is at any age.

valiumredhead Wed 02-Oct-13 12:14:53

I also think those images are necessary as you can't possibly imagine how awful it was without seeing them.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 02-Oct-13 12:16:30

The fact that the pictures are distressing is exactly why they should be shown.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 02-Oct-13 12:17:08

At 9 she won't fully comprehend the horror, but she should be upset. It was horrific and upsetting and should never be forgotten.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 02-Oct-13 12:17:50

I can't watch certain things, not because I can't bear reality, but because I feel it very deeply, it affects my mental health (had PTSD in the past) and I become unable to function normally and fulfil my normal familial obligations. I honestly become a terrible mother because I cannot have fun or love my kids properly if I am too upset.

I work in a field which actively tries to improve the horrors of the world and managing my emotions around this is really important so I am very interested to know how people handle this with children. Too much sheltering is not good, but it must be possible to actually harm impressionable young minds by overexposure to the awfulness of the world, surely.

For instance, just talking about the fact that we are very lucky and some people don't have enough money to eat made my son incredibly anxious about money for a long time.

moldingsunbeams Wed 02-Oct-13 12:17:50

Hmm I am a bit torn, dd was not allowed in the exhibition bit of the imperial war museum in London because they were saying no children under 10/12 (I cant remember exact age)

I think it depends what they saw really. I have told dd about it, I think its important but like someone else said it depends on if the pictures were bodies/abuse or the camp.

HesterShaw Wed 02-Oct-13 12:18:17

I thought that the teaching of WWII in KS2 concentrated on the Home Front, specifically the Blitz, rationing and evacuation? Is that no longer the case?

That's by the by - there is a way to teach about the concentration camps without the need to show emaciated corpses in pits. I think that they should be taught about the Nazi attitudes to the Jews without seeing some of the more nightmarish images.

midgeymum2 Wed 02-Oct-13 12:18:22

I don't want my daughter to be grateful for not being a victim of horrible atrocities.I will not be exposing her to age inappropriate images to bring home to her the horror of war (or any other type of suffering). She is not responsible for the life she was born into and does not need to feel guilty about it. If these images were on film they would be rated and for very good reason.

Of course she should be aware that there are many others less fortunate than her and she will no doubt feel deep emotions about this as she becomes more aware. But I think she should be old enough to deal with these deep feelings.

Op I think leaving pupils to google any images unsupervised is inappropriate.

squoosh Wed 02-Oct-13 12:19:05

'Most of the things suggested on here - dressing up, role play, Diary of Anne Frank, discussion, selected photos, information, description are all fine. We shouldn't Molly coddle and we should teach history, but the actual film footage is something that should be saved for later.'

I agree. There's a big difference between molly coddling children and teaching them in an age appropriate manner. Educating young children on the atrocities of WWII doesn't have to mean hitting them from the off with some of the more disturbing images. I'd imagine that could be quite counter intuitive.

Merrylegs Wed 02-Oct-13 12:19:33

One thing to talk about images with support. Another to let kids look with no guidance. At this age you can teach the horrors of the holocaust or the treatment of Jews without images actually.

Reading a piece from Anne Frank's diary or Mischling Second Degree or When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit would be a better learning tool. Rather than a shocking picture ('now I'm upset and frightened - what do I do with that information?') I can try and compare my safe life now with that of Anne Frank. Still upsetting, but it's a much better basis for discussion.

Sirzy Wed 02-Oct-13 12:19:44

I think that is old enough to learn about things, and to see appropriate images BUT not to be left to google it alone.

I do think it is something which needs to be dealt with sensitively. Not hidden from children but not made more distressing than it needs to be.

But at primary school kids are comforted, crying is common and teachers are well aware of the delicate nature of some of the children and allowances made. At secondary school your thrown in, expected to suck it up and keep up and teachers are far less sympathetic. Cannot imagine why that would be a better atmosphere to show the kids these things,

FrauMoose Wed 02-Oct-13 12:21:21

To me it's not so important that children are frightened - there are enough films that can do that - what is important is to promote understanding. And I am not sure that young children can understand, if their primary responses are fear and confusion.

So to me it's about trying to tell some sort of story about a society in which discrimination was institutionalised and glorified and to relate that to chidren's own experiences. Does our own society discriminate against particular groups. What happens if that discrimination is not challenged.

Stories of the Kinderstransport, about Anne Frank, and about the children of Terezin may be a way in which children can learn about what young people's lives were like in the Third Reich. (I think its important to learn about life, about individuals - as only then can you really appreciate the tragedy of lives being ended.)

Yorkieaddict Wed 02-Oct-13 12:22:13

My first thought was that it is necessary for children to learn about, and see images of this kind of thing. However I have just tried a Google search, and about 4 clicks of the mouse brought me to a soldier stood over the dead bodies of babies and children. I don't think that is appropriate for a 9 year old, so I would agree that a chat with the school is a good idea. At 9 they still need the images they are seeing vetted by an adult first.

Halfling Wed 02-Oct-13 12:22:37

I think 9 years is not too small an age to see such images. It doesn't get any easier even if you are older. It can actually get worse, especially if you have led a very sheltered life as a child.

I say this as a person from a conflict ridden country myself. I saw and heard about horrible atrocities around me, in the media and in the conversations all around me. We were not overly sheltered.

In my experience, learning about such things at an early age makes you kinder and more empathetic.

What is important here, is that the adults in the child's life should be there to help the child process this information in the correct manner.

TheBigJessie Wed 02-Oct-13 12:22:45

This is difficult. I do not want individual children to be traumatised, but I also do not want our culture to be as blasé about the holocaust as it is, and I think it's only getting worse.

It is supposed to be distressing. We want people to grasp that it was horrific, and nothing similar should ever have happened again on this planet. But it has.

We need the next generation to get it in their masses.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 02-Oct-13 12:22:54

Unsupervised googling of images is never a good move. The filters dont always work.

A most embarrassed year 6 teacher was left having to explain to parents why pupils may have seen rather more than was intended when they googled images of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert!

<attempts to lighten mood>

valiumredhead Wed 02-Oct-13 12:24:04

My ds found learning about Anne Frank far more disturbing tbh and that was age 7iirc, he was upset as it seemed so 'personal.'

squoosh Wed 02-Oct-13 12:24:31

'A most embarrassed year 6 teacher was left having to explain to parents why pupils may have seen rather more than was intended when they googled images of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert!'

Yikes, I can certainly see why that might have led to some awkward questions!

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Wed 02-Oct-13 12:24:42

It's distressing because it's a truly horrific part of human history, not because a child is "too young" to know about it. It doesn't get any easier to digest as we get older. It is a massive luxury for us to bury our heads in the sand and worry more about what's happening on Emmerdale than about children in countries like Syria being tortured and murdered right now, or being precious about historical atrocities.

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