Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Impact of scary TV 'overstated'

Published 31/05/2015

Experts said that children are fairly resistant to scary items on television
Experts said that children are fairly resistant to scary items on television

The impact of scary television on children's well-being has been overstated, according to psychologists at a British university.

Researchers found that while a small minority of children can exhibit extreme reactions to a frightening programme or film, most show very little sign of increased fear, sadness, anxiety or sleep problems.

University of Sussex research student, Laura Pearce, and Andy Field, Professor of child psychopathology at the university, reviewed all research into the topic carried out over the past 25 years.

Their findings, published in the journal Human Communication Research, suggest that children are fairly resilient to scary items they see on television generally.

Prof Field said: "Across studies, scary TV had an impact on children's well-being but it was fairly small on average, suggesting that most children are not affected very much at all."

The researchers also noted that TV guidelines focussed on violent content at the expense of non-violent but frightening content, such as worrying news reports or content depicting psychological stress or phobias.

Prof Field added: "Although at the group level the effect of scary TV on children's anxiety is small, it is nevertheless present.

"This finding has implications for policy-makers because TV guidelines focus on violence but, for some children, scariness will matter and TV can be scary without being violent."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph