'I am afraid we are going to be bombed'

War on Terrorism: Children
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The Independent US

One child wrote: "If the terrorists could get the famous twin towers, they could get in a regular building like mine." Another wrote: "I am afraid we are going to be bombed again and that it will be World War III. I hate technology."

These were just some of the responses of American children aged six to 11 who were asked to draw or explain their fears, as part of a study into the effect of the attacks of 11 September. The study was by the Sesame Workshop, creators of the television series Sesame Street. The compositions were written by children all across the country in shopping malls.

The study forms part of an exhibition, opening in Washington on Monday, designed to show how the attitudes of the young have been transformed by the attacks in New York and Washington.

Susan Royer, a vice-president with the workshop, said the question put to the children was intentionally general and did not mention terrorism. However, Ms Royer said: "We saw many gravestones. There was a real feeling of 'It could happen to me, no matter where I live'."

One of the children attached a totally black photograph to her composition. The girl wrote underneath: "This is a picture of nothing, because the President said we might have a nuclear war and the world will look like this." Another child wrote: "My worries is that terrist [sic] will harm my family and I will be left with no family like the kids in New York."

The exhibition also reveals that children's heroes have changed since the 11 September attacks. Last May they listed pop stars and athletes, such as Britney Spears and Michael Jordan. The newer idols are policemen and firefighters. In that sense these children are no different to many American adults.

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