Friday, May 22, 2009

THE EFFECT OF VIOLENT TOYS ON CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOUR

Young children have difficulty separating facts from fantasy. Children learn through play, and they learn by example. It is through imaginative play that the child begins to learn some of the roles and behaviours of society. Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and play by the rules are all important skills learned through play. The skill learning process through play and games is applied in Montessori kindergartens which have turned out to successful method of teaching all around the world.

But kindergartens are not always careful about their teaching schemes. They are not cautious on how ‘g’ for ‘goat’ and ‘g’ for ‘gun’ can aid on destruct the child’s psychology. However they are just the base for the child to enter into the violence fantasy. Television, videogames, music and film have become increasingly violent. Over 1000 studies attest to a casual connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in children. Most parents are aware about the effects on their children due to the violent television shows but many do not realize that war toys can have similar effects. Most experts say that children should not be allowed to play with guns or other toys that promote violence. There is the potential for many negative effects. These toys send the message that violence is acceptable and conflicts should be resolved by fighting.

In United States the top selling toy for boys was the Daisy air rifle in 1920. In 1950: the air rifle now has twin barrels and continues to be a best-seller. In 1970, the most popular toy on the market was army action figure. In 1980, a full generation later, still the number one toy for boys was realistic water guns. This figure shows that boys are more vulnerable to the behavioral effects due to the excessive use of the war toys. Also because the use of these toys is high by the male children, the toys tend to be of masculine dominance and represent sexiest stereotyping.

To have an understandable view over this issue, let us first discuss about the attributes of violent toys. Violent toys are those which:

teaches that violence is the best way to settle a dispute

propagates that violence is fun and "cool"

encourages hurting and killing

glamorizes war and combat

promotes male dominance and female passivity

provides negative depiction of ethnic groups

promote excessive materialism

fosters aggressive competition

lead to anti-social behavior

It may not be readily apparent, but the toys that a child plays with can have profound effects on them. Providing a child with toys that encourage learning in a healthy way can be a huge asset to a child's development. Toys help children model the world of adults, children who learn at home develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives but our society has been teaching for generations that guns and violence are acceptable behavior.

War toys not only have negative impacts on child’s behaviour but they help in cultivating any negative ideas, even set up some beliefs on their minds that may not be suitable for them. Some experts argue that war toys are also used as a propaganda tool that portray one group as right and powerful whereas the enemies to be less powerful and wrong. It is parents’ guidance that is necessary to keep their children away from such toys that propagate violent sadistic behaviours in them as well as help them escape from the propaganda cavity.

Attitudes about violence as ‘entertainment’ have to be changed over time. As discussed earlier, boys show violent oriented behaviors in quite early age. They have seen to be greeting strangers with pointing two fingers as they were shooting the person. It is even seen that boys are more ahead in forming gangs and they readily have enemies to oppose them and engross themselves in violent activities.

Children should be provided with the toys that stimulate creativity and imaginative play, encourage sharing and cooperation, encourage children to build and create rather than to destroy, are free of racist and sexist stereotypes, nurture non-violent, conflict-resolving skills, promote learning of new skills and help children develop their own talents, are open-ended - look for toys with no predetermined 'right' or 'wrong', challenge children to think for themselves and to use their imagination.

Works Cited

1.Copperwiki. Violent Toys. Retrieved from http://www.copperwiki.org/index.php/Violent_Toys
2.New Brunswick Advisory Council of Women. Violent toys send violent messages.
Retrieved from http://www.acswcccf.nb.ca/english/toys.asp
3.Toy Reviews and News. Violent toys and their effects.
Retrieved from http://www.toy-tma.com/toy-news/toy-recalls-and-safety/violent-toys-and-their-effects/
4.Vineyar Designs. Effect of toys on children.
Retrieved from http://www.vineyardesigns.com/moms/educational_toys/effects_toys_children.shtml

6 comments:

Ang said...

Thank you for broaching this subject. I believe it is more important than is generally believed. The serious influence of war toys is so well hidden underneath the benevolent themes of "fun" and "toys" that it is protected from being taken seriously. You've done a great job putting the topic in perspective and showing the connections.

Lincoln Jack said...

keeping boys from war toys is no help at all because they will make guns from any natural object the only interference should be when they begin to get aggressive toy guns can teach children weapon safety therefore being a benifit to society

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Ashley Kenyon said...

That's why parental guidance is much needed mostly if they are watching T.V, violent shows or cartoon is not suitable for them much better to give them toys. Lately I found the best toys for 2 year olds for my 24 month old son rather to spend his time for such violent t.v shows.

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