Functions of the Jeugdjournaal App: A tool for children to cope with positive and negative news?

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Children can be strongly emotionally affected by news, and these emotions may hinder or stimulate children’s (future) news consumption. More insight in how children can cope with these emotions elicited by news is, therefore, warranted. The NOS Jeugdjournaal app could be a promising tool to improve coping with positive and negative news via the interactive functions of the app. This research project aimed to investigate this. In Study 1, we explored the uses of online commenting on the NOS Jeugdjournaal app with an automated content analysis of 336,342 online comments. Results showed an average of 707 comments per news message with an average length of 44 tokens. Moreover, 22% of the children used the app to express emotions in their comments. In Study 2, an experiment was conducted among children (8-13 y/o, N = 319) focusing on the effects of two coping strategies (reading comments of peers in the app and posting own comments) after consuming a positive or negative news message on children’s emotional feelings. Findings did not show a difference between reading comments or writing a comment on emotional feelings. However, a post-hoc analysis revealed that length of the comments may play a role here: children who wrote a longer comment had a smaller decrease in positive emotions after watching negative news. Since children use the app to express emotions and preliminary findings indicate that the app might serve as a tool for coping, this research project establishes a good basis for future research of online news applications for children. Keywords: children, news, online commenting, mobile applications, emotions
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen