When big news breaks, it’s easy to get caught up social media and the unfolding situation. This can lead to information being more emotive than accurate.

Here’s some advice parents can offer kids and teens as they watch the news.

1. Remember, breaking news is often wrong. 
In the rush to cover stories, reporters make mistakes, officials don’t always have correct information.

2. Know what to use Social Media for. 
Each platform on Social Media has its own culture and focus. People often say that Twitter is a great source of news during an event or for the first few minutes of some breaking news . On the other hand, Facebook can be a great way to connect with friends affected by news and to spread personal news within a more controlled circle.

3. Be skeptical as you read the news. 
Like most things in life if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember to use websites such as Urban Legends Online, and FactCheck. Visit them to find out whether a story is true.

4. Stand back; take a break. 
Sometimes the best move is to take your time, especially when you are engaging with something online. With social media at your fingertips, it’s easy to jump in and fire off a reply or thought.  Taking your time and thinking clearly about the topic is also a wise move.

5. Stick with credible news sources. 
It is often best to find a credible news source and stick with it. For me I am a fan of Radio New Zealand for local news. When looking wider afield I like MSN as it just collates news items from around the world and draws them into one place. BBC is usually clear and accurate,

6. Keep it age-appropriate. 
Young people aren’t always ready to digest big, tragic news. Infact in most cases the news adults consider important don’t even register with young people.

7. Keep news in perspective
The constant repetition of certain types of news can actual get kids into thinking these events are more common than they really are. According to stats you are more likely to die from fireworks than a shark attack but which is more sensationalised in our news.