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9/11 a Life-Defining Day for the Young
Date:9/8/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Mallory Ham had just arrived at her first-grade class when the hijacked planes with their terrified passengers ripped into the World Trade Center. Though her recollections of that day are incomplete, they're burned into her memory just the same.

She recalls teachers crying, being sent home, seeing her mother glued to the TV, watching the Twin Towers collapse.

"I didn't really understand what it was -- I only remember being scared," said Ham, now a 16-year-old junior at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, Conn., a suburb of New York City.

Part of the Millennial Generation, and dubbed by some the 9/11 Generation, Ham and other young Americans under 18 years old have carried the weight of that day for much of their lives.

And with the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaching, American children -- including those not yet born a decade ago -- will have to come to grips with one of the most terrifying events in recent American history, as media reports replay the assaults on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Psychologists say there's nothing to be gained by allowing children of any age to watch disturbing footage of buildings bursting into flames or people plummeting to their deaths. And parents, beware. It's not just TV news that you need to be concerned with: Ground Zero videos are easy to find on YouTube.

"It's very clear to me that the repeated exposure to images of 9/11 serves no purpose for adults or children, and I would discourage parents from allowing their children to be exposed to graphic images," said Roxane Cohen Silver, a University of California, Irvine professor of psychology and social behavior who has done extensive research on the psychological impact of 9/11 on children.

It's a parent's job to keep tabs on what their children -- especially younger ones -- are being told about the a
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