Sydney: Parents should be aware that news coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks could traumatize young children, an expert has warned. Beverley Raphael, Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, said repeated telecast of images of bodies falling from the collapsing twin towers in New York City could be harmful to young children.

Asking parents to avoid too much detail about Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, she said exposure to such video footage could also trigger fears and anxiety about more recent devastating events such as natural disasters as the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.

“We've had a stream of horrific images this year,” she said.

Raphael advised parents to check that their kids were not watching traumatic footage for prolonged periods.

She said switching off the news 'could be a good idea' if parents notice changes in their childrens' behavior.

Raphael urged parents to give comforting and simple explanations if children ask questions about the terror attacks.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001 when Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.