Video games linked to sexism in teenagers: study

March 17, 2017
Credit: Cristie Guevara/public domain

The more time a teenage spends on video gaming, the likelier he or she is to display sexist attitudes and gender stereotypes, a study of thousands of French gaming aficionados has found.

The study carried out by a team of French and US researchers compared the time spent by 13,520 young people playing video games and their attitudes to women and gender roles.

The results published on Friday in the Frontiers in Psychology journal suggest that increased exposure to video games is associated with higher levels of stereotyping and sexism among teenagers.

"Sexist representations saturate advertising, television and cinema. Video games are no exception," Laurent Begue, co-author of the study from Grenoble Alps University, told AFP.

"Content analysis has shown that women are under-represented in popular video games. They have passive roles, they are princesses who need to be saved or secondary, sexualised objects of conquest," he added.

Although women are the main victims of stereotyping, men are also affected, being portrayed as "more active, armed and muscular".

According to the Entertainment Software Association, in 2014 almost half of players were female.

Both boys and girls participated in the study (51 and 49 percent respectively), but results indicated that sexism was higher among males.

Playing time varied from one to 10 hours a day.

Researchers from Savoie Mont Blanc University in France and Iowa State University in the United States also collaborated in the project.

Previous experiments had shown that playing specific video games for a few minutes can reinforce , but the new study is the first large-scale examination of the phenomenon among teenagers.

The survey questioned teens aged between 11 to 19, living in the southeastern cities of Lyon and Grenoble.

Begue cautioned that despite the "statistically significant" link between sexism and video games, the influence of gaming on teenagers' attitudes remains limited.

Religious fervour was a greater determinant of sexism, the researchers noted.

Television, on the other hand, had a smaller impact than video games.

Experts also worry that violent video games could negatively affect its users, triggering aggressive behaviour. The scientific community remains divided over the controversial link between and aggression.

Begue said it would be "unfair" to tar all video games with the brush, saying the main offenders were the bestsellers.

He called on developers to avoid trapping characters into .

"And that is true for men, too!".

Explore further: Sexist video games decrease empathy for female violence victims

Related Stories

Sexist video games decrease empathy for female violence victims

April 13, 2016
Young male gamers who strongly identify with male characters in sexist, violent video games show less empathy than others toward female violence victims, a new study found.

Violent video games found not to affect empathy

March 8, 2017
The link between playing violent video games and antisocial behavior, such as increased aggression and decreased empathy, is hotly debated. Researchers in Germany used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on long-term ...

US women as likely as men to play video games: study

December 15, 2015
Despite widespread belief, women are just about as likely as men to have ever played video games, a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday revealed.

Are violent video games associated with more civic behaviors among youth?

August 11, 2016
Whether violent video games influence the behavior of youth has been a debate that has split the academic community for years. Scholars and clinicians remain divided in opinion about whether violent games are harmful. In ...

'Parents know best about effects of video games on children'

April 12, 2016
A study has found that parents who reported playing video games with their children are about three times more likely to have a handle on the effects gaming have on young people as compared with adults who are not parents ...

How long should children play video games?

September 9, 2016
A new study indicates that playing video games for a limited amount of time each week may provide benefits to children, but too much can be detrimental. The findings are published in the Annals of Neurology.

Recommended for you

Study provides hope that schizophrenia isn't as deep-rooted in affected individuals as previously believed

December 8, 2017
A schizophrenia patient's own perceptions of their experiences—and confidence in their judgments—may be factors that can help them overcome challenges to get the life they wish, suggests a new paper published in Clinical ...

The evolutionary advantage of the teenage brain

December 7, 2017
The mood swings, the fiery emotions, the delusions of immortality, all the things that make a teenager a teenager might just seem like a phase we all have to put up with. However, research increasingly shows that the behaviors ...

Study reveals gap in life expectancy for people with mental illness

December 7, 2017
New research from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that men who are diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime can expect to live 10.2 years less than those who aren't, and women 7.3 years.

Reading on electronic devices may interfere with science reading comprehension

December 6, 2017
People who often read on electronic devices may have a difficult time understanding scientific concepts, according to a team of researchers. They suggest that this finding, among others in the study, could also offer insights ...

Study suggests giving kids too many toys stifles their creativity

December 6, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at the University of Toledo in the U.S. has found that children are more creative when they have fewer toys to play with at one time. In their paper published in the journal Infant ...

Psychosis incidence highly variable internationally

December 6, 2017
Rates of psychosis can be close to eight times higher in some regions compared to others, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL, King's College London and the University of Cambridge.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

supercat765
not rated yet Mar 22, 2017
I have just watched an analysis of the study this article is based on.
The study only used one question to determine sexism with only 4 possible responses.

TL;DR - The Pseudoscience of Sexist Teenage Gamers
https://www.youtu..._BDJwlJ8

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.