More than just child’s play?: An experimental investigation of the impact of an appearance-focused internet game on body image and career aspirations of young girls Academic Article uri icon


  • In recent years, elements of the modern environment (such as television, Internet, toys and clothes) have been criticized for having an increasingly sexualized or appearance focus, which has been suggested to be detrimental to girls' development. The current study examined the impact of an appearance-focused Internet game on young girls' body image and career cognitions and aspirations. Eighty British girls aged 8-9 years were randomly assigned to play an appearance-focused or a non-appearance focused game for 10 minutes. Girls in the appearance-focused game condition displayed greater body dissatisfaction compared to the control condition. Type of game did not impact girls' perceived capacity to do various jobs. However, girls who played the appearance-focused game reported a greater preference for feminine careers compared to the control group. This provides preliminary evidence that appearance-focused Internet games may be detrimental to young girls' body image and aspirations. Internet games should be included in our consideration of influential messages for young girls.

publication date

  • 2017