Television content related fears : preschoolers and their parents’ perceptions
Richard, Christina S. W.
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The primary aim of the present study was to determine what the television content related fears of a sample of preschool children are and their parents’ perceptions thereof. The secondary aim was to establish whether there are differences between the television content related fears with regard to the different age groups and gender groups used in the present study. The sample of 67 participants consisted of 11 four year olds, 29 five year olds and 27 six year olds. Data were obtained by conducting child-friendly semi-structured individual interviews, using a questionnaire as guideline, with a sample of preschool children. The parents or legal guardian of the participants completed similar questionnaires, in which the perceptions of the parents about the television content related fears of their children were obtained. The questions focused on the programmes the participants preferred watching and the contents of the programmes that elicit fear in them. The sample size used in the study was small and the researcher was very careful not to make generalisations regarding the findings. The results, presented in a descriptive manner, nevertheless indicated that the participants were experiencing television content related fears. Although the four-year-old group reported more age appropriate fears, it seemed that the older the participants are, the more television related their fears become. Boys in general reported more television related fears than the girls. Parents seem to be aware of the contents of the fears of their children. Limitations in the present study were mentioned and recommendations for further studies regarding television content related childhood fears were made.