Parental Communication About Kidnapping Stories in the US News

Nicole Martins, Barbara J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted a random telephone survey of 182 parents to assess how they communicate with their children about kidnapping stories featured in the news. Three different strategies emerged. Some parents warned their children, signaling to them that kidnappings are likely to occur. Other parents reassured their children, suggesting that such threats rarely take place. Several parents cautioned their children, offering specific strategies to encourage vigilance. Logistic regression analyses revealed several predictors of these different communication strategies. The findings are discussed in terms of parental mediation and the cultivation of fear by the media.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-146
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • cultivation
  • fear
  • kidnapping
  • mediation
  • parent-child communication
  • television news

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