ERG SES D 06, Parallel Session D 06
Fear is normal developmental process of the growth and important for human beings to preserve self (Robinson et al., 2004). During centuries, researchers are attracted especially by fears of children and adolescences. In 1897, Hall searched on fear and claimed that fear is necessary for motivating learning and protect self from danger.
Normally, individuals have some fears; however, whether fear is proper for developmental level or age, whether it affects life negatively, the condition in which and how long the fear is felt are some criteria differ normal fear from clinical fear.
In childhood years, fears are often associated with emotion of anxiety. When faced with fear, especially escape or avoidance responses occur to cope with it. If coping is not successed because the situation is out of control, fear turns to anxiety (Epstein,1972 as cited in Öhman, 2000).
According to Rachman’s three-pathways-to fear research-model, children acquire fears in three ways; conditioning (experiencing any bad situation related with the fear), modeling (observing someone; mother, father, siblings etc.in the environment has this fear) and exposure to negative information (hearing anything bad about the fear stimuli from television or from others) (Rachman, 1977). Ollendick and King (1991) claimed in their study that the children acquired their fears mostly by negative information (88.8%).
According to Muris, Merckelbach, Ollendick, King, and Bogie (2001) children learn what to fear through the negative information in the primary source; mass media. Results of research studies show that 77.5% of children get night fears because of negative information on television. Children don’t consciously choose to watch television news, however; while parents are watching news or looking for proper channel or program, children watch television news more than parents suppose (Walma van der Molen, 2004). While younger children negatively affected by the news have visual content such as natural events and accidents, 8-12 year olds more fear from violence, and injuring screens on television (Smith, & Wilson, 2002).
In light of the study results, it can be said that television news has an effect on children’s fears, however; the number of studies about this topic is limited. Thus, the present study intends to contribute to the literature and media sector, also to help counselors for coping with children’s fears and informing parents about being conscious audiences by exploring children’s fears related with television news. This study explores these questions:
1. What types of news make children fearful/upset?
2. What are the threatful parts of news for children?
Hall, G.S. (1897). A study of fears. The American Journal of Psychology,8, 147-249. Muris, P., Merckelbach, H., Ollendick, T.H., King, N.J., Bogie, N.(2001). Children’s nighttime fears: Parent-child ratings of frequency, content, origins, coping behaviors and severity. Behavior Research and Therapy, 39(1), 13-28. Ollendick, T. H. & King, N. J. (1991). Origins of childhood fears: An evaluation of Rachman's theory of fear acquisition. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 29, 117-123. Öhman, A. (2000). Fear and anxiety: evolutionary, cognitive, and clinical perspectives. In Lewis, M. & Jones, J. M. H. (Ed.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 573-593). London: The Guilford Press. Rachman, S. (1977). The conditioning theory of fear acquisition: A critical examination. Behavior Research and Therapy,15(5), 375-387. Robinson, E. H., Rotter, J. C., Robinson, S. L., Fey, M. A., Vogel, J. E. (2004). Helping children cope with : fears, stress and trauma. USA: CAPS. Smith, S.L., Moyer-Guse, E. (2006). Children and the war on Iraq: Developmental differences in fear responses to television news coverage. Media Psychology, 8(3), 213-237. Smith, S.L., Wilson, B. J.(2002). Children’s comprehension of and fear reactions to television news. Media Psychology, 4(1), 1-26. Valkenburg, P.M. (2004). Children’s responses to the screen. NJ: Erlbaum Associates. Valkenburg, P.M., Cantor, J., Peeters, A.L.(2000). Fright reactions to television. Communication Research, 27(1), 82-99. Walma van der Molen, J.H.(2004). Violence and suffering in television news: Toward a broader conception of harmful television content for children. Pediatrics, 113(6), 1771-1775. Walma van der Molen, J.H., Valkenbeurg, P.M., Peeters, A.L. (2002). Television news and fear: A child survey. Communications, 27(3), 303-317.
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