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Journal Article


Basch CH, Guerra LA, Reeves R, Basch CE. Health Promot. Perspect. 2015; 5(3): 191-197.


Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


(Copyright © 2015, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences)








BACKGROUND: Violence is a pervasive problem in the United States. Toys, far from trivial playthings, are a reflection of society, including its beliefs and values. The purpose of this study was to describe the extent to which violent toys are marketed in online weekly flyers of popular retailers, how the violence is manifested, and whether violent toys are marketed differentially to boys and girls.

METHODS: For this cross-sectional observational study, online circulars from 5 major retailers were downloaded and examined each week for 14 weeks during the fall of 2014. For each retailer, the total number of toys, as well as the total number of violent and non-violent toys, was recorded. In addition, each violent toy was categorized into one of five groups: picturing a figure with a weapon, a figure with intent to strike (with fists drawn or an angry face), a toy with a violent name, a toy that was a weapon itself, or a set of toys that included two or more of these criteria.

RESULTS: A total number of 3,459 toys were observed, of which 1,053 (30%) were deemed violent. Of the violent toys, 95% were marketed to boys (n=1,003) versus 5% to girls (n=50). The most prevalent violent category was a figure with a weapon such as a sword, knife or gun (29%), followed by figures with fists out and aggressive faces (26%).

CONCLUSION: Parents should be mindful of toy retailer‟s marketing of violent toys, especially toward boys, and the potential for those toys to de-sensitize their children to violence.

Language: en


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