sealPurdue News

July 1999

Be aware of kids' Y2K concerns, Purdue expert advises

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Parents making preparations for possible problems surrounding year 2000 computer bugs had better take time to talk with their children about the issue, says a Purdue University Extension specialist.

Children who watch their parents store up extra food and make copies of financial documents may have questions and concerns. "A child's foundation is its family," says Aadron Rausch, Cooperative Extension Service specialist and assistant director for outreach with the Purdue Center for Families. "If parents are stressed about the issue, then their children will probably be stressed too.

"It is OK for parents to acknowledge that they don't know for sure what is going to happen as a result of the Y2K issue and that not knowing can be scary. The Y2K issue provides a good opportunity for families to re-evaluate their preparedness for any emergency situation."

Rausch offers the following suggestions for explaining the Y2K issue to children and helping them deal with their concerns.

• Find out what they already know. "Parents should ask their children, 'What have you heard about the Y2K issue and what do you think?'" Rausch says. She also stresses that parents should try to find out what children have learned about the issue at school. She says that when possible, children need to hear consistent messages.

• Make sure you understand the issues and concerns. "Try to learn as much about the Y2K issue as you can," Rausch says. "Even if parents are not very knowledgeable about computers and the Y2K issue, they can seek out information, and better yet, involve their children in the learning process."

• Put children at ease by letting them know that you are prepared for any problems. "It is important to let them know that the Y2K issue will not harm them and that the family has made every preparation to cope with whatever happens," she says. Parents might even want to involve their children in the planning as a way to teach valuable problem-solving skills, Rausch suggests.

CONTACT: Rausch (765) 494-9516;

Compiled by Beth Forbes, (765) 494-9723; (765) 497-7102;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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