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Video games tied to sexism in teenagers, says study

A new study published by French and US researchers might give you one more reason to cut down the time your kid spends playing video games.

Sarah Tew

The more time your teen-age boy spends playing video games the more likely he'll be to develop sexist attitudes and gender stereotypes, according to a study released Friday.

French and US researchers who conducted the study surveyed 13,520 French youth between 11 and 19. Participants answered questions related to the amount of time spent on video game play and their attitudes toward women and gender stereotypes.

Results from the study, published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal, showed a positive correlation between game play and attitudes toward women, with levels of sexism higher in males.

Women are generally "underrepresented" in video games, according to the study. When women are included, they are frequently depicted as "characters needing help or holding passive or instrumental role," if not as "sex objects to win."

Researchers did acknowledge several limitations to their research model in identifying the actual causes behind sexist attitudes in teenage video game players, among which includes the possibility that "individuals with sexist orientations spend more time playing video games."

A similar study was published two years ago but generally showed no correlation between long-term gaming and sexist attitudes. In an interview with Kotaku, the researchers suggested that other factors such as family and peer influences contribute more to sexist attitudes than gaming does.

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