Television news and fear: A child survey

Juliette H.Walma Van Der Molen, Patti M. Valkenburg, Allerd L. Peeters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Using telephone interviews among a random sample of 537 Dutch children aged 7-12 years old, we investigated (a) the prevalence of fear reactions to television news among younger and older children and among boys and girls, (b) what types of news items children in different age and gender groups refer to as frightening, and (c) whether children's fear reactions to regular adult television news differed from their fear reactions to a special children's news program. Overall, 48.2% of the children who reported watching the adult or children's news programs, reported fear reactions to adult news, while 32.6% reported fear of children's news content. For both types of news programs, younger children and girls more often reported fear than older children and boys did. The most prevalent fear-inducing news content categories were (a) interpersonal violence, (b) fires, accidents, and disasters, and (c) visual depictions of the consequences of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


  • Children
  • Children's news
  • Fear
  • Fright reactions
  • Media
  • TV news


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