Smith, S. L., & Wilson, Barbara, J. (2000). Children’s reactions to a television news story: The impact of video footage and proximity of the crime. Communication Research, 27 (5), 641-673.

Abstract: Assessed children’s reactions to particular features of TV news. Children from 2 age groups (6-7 yr olds vs 10-11 yr olds) viewed 1 of 4 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). The authors discussed the findings in terms of developmental differences in children’s processing of TV news. 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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)