Early Adolescents' Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Gender Representations in Video Games
This study investigated adolescents’ perception and attitudes towards gender representation in video game covers, and the degree to which these depictions may influence their notions on gender and identification. Seventeen participants ranging from ages 12 and 13 from an independent boarding and day school in Ontario participated in semi-structured interviews to explore this topic. Data were analyzed using a qualitative approach. The study’s conceptual framework encompassed social cognitive theory, gender schema theory, and cultivation theory. Findings suggest that gender representation in video games does influence the majority of participants’ notions of gender; however, there are differences between how males and females approach, interpret, and respond to this type of media. Findings also showcased that evidence of implicit bias was detected in both male and female participants, demonstrated through inconsistencies in their responses. Finally, the findings revealed a significant lack of identification from the majority of participants with video game characters, as many participants were able to clearly distinguish between simulated and real-life experiences. Through this investigation, the present study aimed to precipitate awareness and to provide better understanding about gender and identity in relation to video game playing.