Unfortunately, if your daughter surfs the Internet, reads the front page of your newspaper, or sees the first few stories on the TV news, she will be exposed to daily horrific tales and pictures. In the news media the adage, "If it bleeds, it leads" is the order of the day.
When it comes to news stories like this or natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, we need to provide our school age kids with an acknowledgment of their fears, give them enough information to understand the unusual nature of this particular crime or disaster (putting the fears into perspective), assure them that we and others (teachers, police, parents) are going to try to protect them ("Even though bad things happen sometimes, we are going to keep you safe"), and limit our own detailed discussions of these events in front of our kids and their exposure to graphic media accounts of these events.
As much as we would want to, we can't totally shield our children from the frightening aspects of our world. But we can diffuse their levels of fear and anxiety with appropriate information ("Do you know how safe airplane travel really is? What your friend Billy told you about planes crashing all the time isn't true. They're really very safe"), a healthy, truthful, optimistic perspective of life ("It's horrible when bad things happen like this that we really can't explain. Thank goodness they only happen very rarely. We're planning on living a safe, happy life. Count on it").We must offset the distorted world view we are force-fed daily by our popular news media.