sealPurdue News

February 13, 2003

Expert explains how media warnings affect children

A Purdue University child expert says parents need to be aware of how the tips and suggestions regarding preparedness for terrorist attacks affect children.

"Some media has reported that medium-sized towns and apartment buildings could be targeted in a terrorist attack," said Judith Myers-Walls, who has collected data regarding children's reactions, and parents' impressions, to international conflicts. "These warnings may be very disturbing to children."

Myers-Walls recommends that parents look at the suggestions realistically and put them in perspective. They should choose what actions are reasonable and decide whether the costs of preparations are balanced out by the likely benefits.

"Parents also should be aware of the messages that they are sending their children through their own actions, comments and emotions," she said.

Myers-Walls also has a Web site about talking with children about terrorism and war. In 2002 the site received more than 41,000 hits.

CONTACT: Myers-Walls, (765) 494-2959,