Scary movies cause kids’ nightmares – Survey

Herald Sun (Australia) September 06, 2007
SCARY movies and TV programs are responsible for almost one third of fearful night-time thoughts experienced by young people. Results from a large survey of Australian children has revealed what triggers common bedtime fears and found that film and television is largely responsible. The study, presented at an international sleep conference in Cairns yesterday, showed that 29 per cent of 511 children aged eight to 16 took fright directly because of the media. About 15 per cent linked their fears to a traumatic event, like a grandparent’s death or bullying at school, and 18 per cent appeared to be mimicking fears felt by a parent or sibling.The Monash University researchers also found that for about 35 per cent of children, parents were inadvertently fuelling their fears by reinforcing them when their child got upset. Lead researcher Jocelynne Gordon said night-time fears were very normal, with two-thirds of the sample reporting scary thoughts after bedtime, including about half of 16-year-olds. A fear of intruders was most common, followed by a fear of noises and then bad dreams, according to previous findings. Affected children often resisted going to bed and had restless sleep.,21985,22370380-662,00.html