The influence of sources in violent news on fright and worry responses of children in the Netherlands
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Children and Media, (2021)
02 juni 2021
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
Journal of Children and Media
SubjectCommunication and Media
Children display fright and worry responses to violent news. Including involved children, non-involved children or experts as sources in children's news is assumed to reduce these negative effects. However, exemplification theory gives reason to question whether particularly the use of involved children indeed has a reassuring effect. To test this, an experiment was conducted among 237 children (8-13 y/o). They were randomly exposed to a news video containing (1) involved children as source, (2) non-involved children, or (3) adult experts. Fright and worry responses were measured both before and after exposure. Results showed that the inclusion of involved children as a source significantly increased worry responses, but did not affect fright responses. Non-involved child sources significantly reduced fright and worry responses. Expert sources reduced children’s fright responses, but did not change feelings of worry. These insights can inform news producers on how to alleviate the effects of covering violent events in news.
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