Larson, M.S. (2003). Gender, race, and aggression in television commercials that feature children. Sex Roles, 48 (1-2), 67-75.

Abstract:  A study of television commercials in programming aimed at young children included the following hypotheses: Commercials that feature White child characters will contain more aggression than those that feature characters that are Children of Color; and Commercials that feature only boys will contain more aggression than commercials that feature only girls or boys and girls together. A sample of 892 commercials, of which 595 included child characters, were content analyzed. Over one-third of the commercials that featured children contained aggression. More than half of the aggressive incidents occurred in commercials that featured only White children, thus offering them many models for possible imitation or for later use in cognitive scripts. The predominant type of aggression was “fortuitous,” i.e., aggression not caused by a character. These unmotivated acts of aggression may cultivate in children fear of a “scary world.” Further, this level of aggression may desensitize children to aggression in their own lives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)