Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Videogames brand boy and girl roles

Videogames are being designed and directed to only one gender and are creating differential treatment between children.

Bogotá D. C., 30 de octubre de 2015Agencia de Noticias UN-

Videogames classified as masculine have violent content which encourage traditionally masculine activities.

Feminine videogames include activities such as domestic chores and encourage activities such as beauty and care.

The project was carried out with Real Racing 3 and Princess Hair Salon videogames for preschool children.

Videogames are signaling gender stereotypes in early childhood.

As demonstrated by a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Faculty of Psychology master’s project, entitled “Playing with gender in the digital era.”

This project was set in different stages; the first stage began by searching for videogames and applications directed to early childhood and chose 10 videogames in which they discovered dynamics directed separately to girls and boys.

After choosing the videogames they prepared a survey for 294 parents, teachers and UNal and Uniandes students, who rated the games depending to the gender they were apparently directed to and the functional features which could leave any type of lesson. As explained by UNal student and thesis author Jimena Rozo, along with also UNal student Javier Corredor and Carolina Maldonado, Samir Cure and Andrés Caldas, the latter three students of the Universidad de los Andes.

Therefore they discovered that videogames classified as masculine had violent and aggressive content that encouraged traditionally masculine activities such as posing as construction workers or racecar drivers.

“What interests educational psychologists of this indicator is that masculine videogames provide feedback and require quick responses,” said Rozo.

In contrast, the research project also discovered that feminine videogames include domestic activities and encourage personal care and beauty. These videogames, contrary to masculine games have scenes that do not need player intervention.

In terms of psychological development, people learn more when answers are required and provide feedback to movement, which help develop motor, perception and coordination skills.

“Therefore we could say that feminine videogames are similar to watching TV” said Rozo. These discoveries led the project to the following stage where they worked with 14 preschools in Bogotá and 163 children between 3 and 5 years old.

Children were then asked to choose between two stereotyped games (Real Racing 3 and Princess Hair Salon). They saw that children chose the former 52% of the times and 48% the hair salon videogame. Then 92% of the girls chose Princess Hair Salon, while only 8% chose the car videogame.

“This allows us to say that stereotypes are more marked in girls than in boys. When we learned the reasons for their selection process we discovered that girls approached boy-directed games with apprehensiveness and said they did not know how to play and could crash or they did not play that game because it was for boys or even because their parents did not allow them to play these types of games or it was wrong for them to play these kinds of game,” said Rozo.

These results revealed that videogames are socialization agents and are signaling gender stereotypes since early childhood which have direct relationship with development and identity building.

Lastly the student claims that the main purpose of the research project was to create videogame design prototypes that do not mark these gender differences or development or socialization issues in people.

(Por: Fin/VMH/MLA/AV
)
N.° 579

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