Children's perceptions of aggressive and gender-specific content in toy commercials.

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Lori J. Klinger
James A. Hamilton
Peggy J. Cantrell
Cite this article:  Klinger, L., Hamilton, J., & Cantrell, P. (2001). Children's perceptions of aggressive and gender-specific content in toy commercials.. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(1), 11-20.


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In this study, 103 elementary school children rated videotapes of toy commercials or slides of toys on perceived aggressiveness, stereotypic sex-role behavior, gender-based appropriateness, and imagined play with the toys depicted. The results suggest that boys are particular targets of aggressive content in marketing and are more desensitized to aggressive content than are girls. Though girls perceived more aggressiveness than did boys, the aggressive toys remained highly desirable. Thus, aggressive content in toy commercials appears attractive, particularly to boys, but also to girls. Since children’s programming is saturated with toy commercials, young viewers are at best reinforced by stereotypic sex-role behavior, and at worst, inundated with violent content.

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