Hardly any research has been conducted regarding coping strategies that children can use in response to negative news, although they are frequently exposed to and emotionally affected by such news. Chat conversations with peers about the news could be a coping strategy for children in this regard. To investigate this, children (N = 307; 46.3% girls; Mage = 10.51; SDage = 0.98; range 8–13 years old) participated in a preregistered experiment in which their emotions were measured before and after exposure to a news video on a smartphone and also after a postexposure activity (i.e., chatting about the news as an experimental condition versus chatting about something else or solving a puzzle as control conditions). The results showed that the decrease in negative emotions and the increase in positive emotions were weaker for children who chatted about the news than for those in the control conditions. Thus, seeking social support in online chat conversations did not have the anticipated effect—and might even have an adverse effect.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
ME participated in the design and coordination, data collection, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; KEB participated in the design of the study, the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript; MB participated in the design of the study, interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript; MK conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The authors received no specific funding for this study. The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
© 2021, The Author(s).