gender roles of children in mass media

My thesis concern is about the impact of social advertising on children and their gender stereotypes.’ I chose this topic because I wanted to know how all of the ads that kids see every day, both on the internet and on television, affect them. Every year in the United States, children may see more than 40,000 advertisements, and there is a possibility that these messages influence the children’s views and thinking patterns in any way (Bakir & Palan, 2010). Gender-related advertising can affect children’s behaviors, but more research has focused on the impact of these advertisements on young adults and adults. Therefore, thousands of dollars have been used in an effort to advertise to reach more children. There is a need to find out how the gender-related content is salient and how it affects children’s attitudes when interpreted.

I would use the symbolic interactionist theory to understand this question better, and the effects commercials have on the attitudes of children. The symbolic interactionism theory is a micro-level theory that will look at the relationship between the people in a society. This theory was founded on the explanation of how people interact with the things in their environment based on their meaning ascribed to these things. These meanings are derived from our interactions with society and with others. Symbolic interactions are used in advertisements that target children. A great example is how children are tempted into asking parents for toys and other devices because of the symbols they represent.

However, at the end of the advertisement, children to not understand other words written on the screen in small print. Young kids between the ages of two and five spend about twenty-seven hours a week watching television. These symbols tend to attract the attention of children because they are vulnerable and oblivious to the fact that there are other issues involved in the objects being advertised (Bakir & Palan, 2010). Symbolic interaction starts with kids at a very young age. As people grow older, they learn to interact through language. These commercials target children through the use of symbols and toys to express opinions. This is an excellent method used to sell toys and their accessories as well. For years, the government and other organizations have been concerned with the advertisements that target children since they can easily be misled. It is difficult for them to understand the difference between commercials and programs. I would also describe the commercials and gender-roles as feminists. There is always an unequal power relationship between men and women, where women are oppressed and disadvantaged. In most cases, women are not seen performing specific tasks, like playing football and other sports. They are mostly used in commercials where there is cooking or cleaning.

Some research on advertising and child psychology shows that the simple stimulus is also due to anti-social and undesirable behavior. There is a wide range of factors that affect the attitude of the children, which include peer-groups, families, and parents. A great example of how advertisements affect children and teenagers is looking at alcohol or other drug advertisements. Because children are easily impressionable, those who watch these types of products are likely prone to start drug use in their future because these advertisements made them happy (Bakir & Palan, 2010). The ads are aimed at increasing customer loyalty for the products that the companies are selling. In most cases, drinks and snacks are likely to increase sales by as much as 80% because the symbols used will be relatable to the children.

For the study, the researchers tested stimulus material to evaluate the responses of the children towards the different products used. This pretest was to assist with the identification of the product category that children are most interested in and to the gender of children for specific product categories. The appearance of the products used also tested the response of the children. When wristwatches were used, girls were pulled toward the floral designs than the masculine and plain designs. From the study, it was clear that the gender of the children does influence their purchase behavior due to the different things that girls and boys are attracted to. The researchers show that there is little error margin that is involved when advertisers are targeting the genders with different products. The context, color, brand name, and words speak to different genders at different levels.

In conclusion, sociology is an excellent discipline as it helps us understand the world by examining the different stages of societal functions allowing people to challenge given elements. It helps us understand the differences in people. This is why it is a discipline used by law enforcement to understand criminal behavior. It analyzes the complexities of the interactions with others, allowing us to be aware of our social processes. It assumes that human behavior has a pattern, but people still have room to make their own choices. It adequately identifies how children are affected by mass media at different age sets.


Bakir, A., & Palan, K. (2010). How are Children’s Attitudes Toward Ads and Brands Affected by Gender-Related Content in Advertising?. Journal Of Advertising, 39(1), 35-48.

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