Children's reactions to a television news story: The impact of video footage and proximity of the crime

Stacy L. Smith, Barbara J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This experiment assesses children's reactions to particular features of television news. Children from two age groups (6-to 7-year-olds vs. 10-to 11-year-olds) viewed one of four versions of a news story about gang violence. The versions were created by varying the inclusion of video footage of the crime (footage vs. no footage) and proximity of the crime (local vs. nonlocal). Results revealed that proximity of the story had a significant impact on older children's responses but not those of younger children. In particular, older children were more likely to be frightened by and perceive themselves personally vulnerable to a story about local as opposed to a nonlocal crime. In contrast, the video footage unexpectedly decreased fear responses among children in both age groups. The findings are discussed in terms of developmental differences in children's processing of television news.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-673
Number of pages33
JournalCommunication Research
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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