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You Tube - Traumatised our 8yr old - Help

(22 Posts)
Pesman Tue 08-Jan-13 14:36:56

Hi - My 8 yr old step-daughter has been badly traumatised by watching a stupid prank video on you tube called 'follow the red dot'. She was shown it by a visiting 'friend' and was totally traumatised by the picture of the girl from the Exorcist that pops up at the end. Since then (2 months now) she rarely sleeps through the night and will not spend time on her own either in the house or out and about. She keeps climbing into our bed and rarely goes back to her own. She continues to talk about the video and it has clearly upset her very badly.
We had no control over her seeing the video as she and the friend were playing in her bedroom when the friend showed it to her on an iPad. You tube seems full of videos like this and even more pathetically videos of children being scared silly watching them.
We have now asked the school nurse to get involved as we have run out of ideas to try and reduce her fear. I can't believe we are alone in this but can find no advice on-line on stragegies to help. I would welcome any thoughts on how she can be helped.
So far we have:
- explained that it is just a silly 'joke' and meant to make you jump
- That the girl in the picture is not real and is an actress made up like halloween - I have even shown her pictures of the actress who played her but not risked looking at the image with her again
- got her to talk through what happened and how she felt - but she just gets too upset
We are obviosuly upset and angry with the girl who showed her the video and she has not seen her since.
Any thoughts or advice would be welcome.

HDee Tue 08-Jan-13 14:38:11

Not letting her see the girl since is slightly extreme isn't it?

notactuallyme Tue 08-Jan-13 14:43:00

Did you go loopy over her watching it? So part of it is that she did something 'wrong'? Or is she just terrified by the image? Could she try something really simple like saying 'stop' when it comes into her head? Or could she try using facepaint on herself or you? Sounds quite extreme tho - prob good idea to try the nurse.

NatashaBee Tue 08-Jan-13 14:56:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CherriesOnTop Tue 08-Jan-13 15:49:01

Just wanted to reply as I remember a similar incident from my own childhood (I saw Flatliners when I was 9 at a friend's house and spent the next few months convinced that my own Dad was a heroin addict!!!)
In time, she will forget about this, but for now perhaps spend more time telling her that it's normal to be scared by things like that and that someone made it so that people would be scared... but there's nothing to be frightened of in real life. I couldn't get the images in the film out of my head either, but the thing that really scared me was how i projected it into my own life and I think kids tend to do that. She's probably imagining that the exorcist girl could appear any moment so just keep saying that no one who looks like that exists anywhere in the world except for on that film. Probably pathetically obvious advice!

Pesman Tue 08-Jan-13 16:24:50

Hi All and thanks for the immediate feedback. Will have a look for the parental lock controls on You Tube - didn't know they existed. It has been her choice not to see the friend as it has really wrattled her. The iPad time is normally supervised - unfortunately they disappeared upstairs to her room with it whilst we were chatting to the friend's Mum - it was only when she came screaming down the stairs that we realised they had taken it.
We have tried explaining that the girl is fiction and does not exist but luke Cherries says, she keeps saying she can see her.
She does have a night light and goes to sleep to a winnie the Pooh audiobook so hopefully that is helping.
Lets hope the nurse can help - maybe hearing it from a 'neutral' adult will make a difference.
We certainly never told her off about it.
Thanks Again

BlameItOnTheBogey Tue 08-Jan-13 16:51:04

I don't know about 8 year olds (mine are much younger) but I do remember being deeply traumatized by a film I watched with a friend around the same age. What helped me was my parents adopting a similar approach that you would to a baby with separation anxiety. I didn't like to be on my own, so they tolerated me tagging along after them for months. I woke up at night and was really scared, so they put a mattress on their floor for me to go and sleep on if I needed to in the night. Little things like that gave me back the control. And I stopped being scared of being scared because I knew I could do something about it (go and sleep in their room, hang out with them). I got over it eventually.

Not sure that this helps at all but my suggestion therefore would be comfort her and allow her to cling to you for as long as she needs to.

sparklekitty Tue 08-Jan-13 19:41:02

ok this might sound odd but stick with it. My DB was terrified of a dragon that lived upstairs when he was this age, he wouldn't sleep on his own and one of us had to take him up to the toilet etc. Nothing my DM and DF did would work.

One day our elderly neighbour came over for tea and happened to mention that she had a similar problem with dragons years ago and was given a special power to sprinkle around to get rid of them, she took him upstairs and he sprinkled the special powder (talc!) around. She also gave him some extra to sprinkle ahad of him when he was on his own. It worked in under a week.

Now this only worked because he TRUELY believed in the dragons, even after we all reasoned with him.

This exact thing wouldn't work with you dd but could you create some 'placebo' to help her with the fear?

Notquite Tue 08-Jan-13 19:50:38

I agree with BlameIt, DD2 at 9 was terrified when a 10 yo regaled her with horror movie plots on a coach journey. I couldn't get her upstairs on her own at all for a couple of weeks and she didn't sleep in her own room for several more weeks. We talked her through it as best we could, but just went along with her need to be with us until she was ready to move on.

ihatethecold Tue 08-Jan-13 20:09:33

How do I do the settings on an iPad for the YouTube app.
My dd goes on YouTube to watch X factor stuff and dress up videos.
I have had a look at the app but I can't see anything to set the app so no inappropriate content is seen.

NatashaBee Tue 08-Jan-13 20:54:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ihatethecold Tue 08-Jan-13 21:49:47

Thanks. I have done that previously. I wasn't sure if I could do anything on the app for YouTube aswell.

BettySuarez Tue 08-Jan-13 21:52:55

Our DS went through a similar experience at that age with a movie clip that he caught site of (Shaun of the Dead).

It played on his mind for a long time with tears and sleepless nights.

We did a lot of the things that you did by trying to desensitise him to the movie and to allow him to talk it through but nothing really seemed to help.

In the end we decided that the best way to help him move on was to 'change the subject' if that makes sense. We obviously offered him lots of comfort as/when he needed it but we changed our approach slightly to a more 'casual' one (whereas before we were very upset that he was upset IYSWIM).

Not sure if this makes sense but maybe she just needs time to put it behind her now smile

Pesman Tue 08-Jan-13 22:32:37

Thanks again everyone. I am sure this is going to become more and more common unfortunately. Will update on progress but patience and comfort sounds like the main approach. X

ExitPursuedByABear Tue 08-Jan-13 22:40:21

My DD watched something about ghosts on Youtube at about age 9. At school when a sixth former was in charge before the school day started. The laptop was meant to have locks on it but did not. I was bloody furious as you can imagine.

DD slept with me for the next 10 months.

We tried after a few nights making her sleep in her own bed, but she would lie there sobbing and was clearly scared out of her wits. I remember being petrified at age 13 and the relief I felt when my father swapped beds with me, as the fear drained out of me, has stayed with me always.

This too will pass. Just give it time.

Notquite Wed 09-Jan-13 17:10:47

Pablo the dog/drugs mule in the Frank campaign advert freaked DD1 out at school in year 6. DD2 was very scared of the Wererabbit, in spite of being a diehard Dr Who fan from an early age. It's not always easy to predict what will set them off, however careful you are.

I was also a scaredy-cat sensitive as a child, but was never indulged - own bed, lights off, door closed, don't be silly. It didn't help me get over my fears any quicker, I promise.

flossyfloo Wed 09-Jan-13 17:19:18

I just watched the you tube clip you are talking about. Seeing as though I pretty much knew what was coming at the end and I'm an adult, it still made me jump so I can imagine it would have petrified an 8 year old hmm

adoptmama Wed 09-Jan-13 17:48:05

I agree with the folk who say time and patience are your friends on this one. I'd also second the idea of allowing her a mattress/inflatable on your bedroom floor so she knows she is welcome to come to you when in need.

It may help her to keep a diary and write down her fears and feelings (or draw it out as cartoon figures) as this can give a sense of control to a child as well as perhaps helping you see what is going on in her head. It may be that, at the moment, she cannot name what she is frightened by, which means she is going to have the whole trauma stuck in her head because she cannot process it out.

With children, underlying their multitude of fears and, generally the thing that can't be articulated, is the 'worst thing that could happen' i.e. death. The fear of this - either her own or of someone she cares about - may be at the bottom of this, especially if she has recently become aware of death, had a death in the family etc. An excellent approach for children who have fears that they cannot name/articulate is to adopt a play therapy approach; use puppets or such, give her very clear permission to play with them however she wants, reflect back her comments to validate them and allow her to work through her fears without pushing (ie don't say 'lets play the scary youtube thing').

Best of luck with it all.

Harrysmummysarah1 Wed 09-Jan-13 19:36:56

I have just watched the clip and even though I knew that was coming it scared me and I'm an adult!
When I was a kid I was convinced the witch from Snow White was in my bedroom every night and would not sleep in my own bed I did grow out of it but can't remember what my parents did about it

flossyfloo Wed 09-Jan-13 20:40:33

Sorry, just realised it was meant to be a sad smilie not a sceptical one on my post a few posts up smile

<must remember to preview>

Clare57 Fri 11-Jan-13 00:49:03

This happened to me at 12. With time the traumatisation passed. Things that helped were cuddles with mum and reading books from earlier childhood that made me feel safe. Hope this passes for her quickly. There is only so much you can do to protect children sadly. This happened to me when there was no Internet, only videos and mum was downstairs while I was with a friend upstairs.

KnitFastDieWarm Fri 11-Jan-13 23:48:37

Poor girl sad I was shown the first five minutes of jurrasic park when I was her age - the bit where someone is eaten by a raptor. I couldn't watch the film in full until I was 16! (I love it now though, and am a die-hard exorcist fan, so she may come to enjoy a bit of a scare when she's an adult) I was a sensitive girl too, and I agree with previous posters that accepting and helping in processing her fears, while reassuring her that they are fictional, is helpful. Sensitive kids tend to live rich emotional and imaginary lives, so it'll be hard for her to shake that image and feeling. Counselling might be helpful if she's really finding it tricky - there are some great cbt techniques involving thought-stopping that might help he to feel more in control.

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