Violent Toys vs. Nonviolent Toys & Games:
What's the Difference?
Action figures, toy guns, violent video games and war toys are not appropriate forms of childrens entertainment. All young children have difficulty separating fact from fantasy. Children learn through play, and they learn by example. Violent toys and video games send violent messages. With the aggressive marketing of violent toys and games on television and in the stores, it is hard for parents to find toys that dont glorify violence -- toys that, instead, help children use their imagination and creativity.
The toy industry itself, in a publication called Toys and Play published by the Toy Industry of America, states that play is "the way children learn about themselves, their environment, and the people around them . . . Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns, and play by the rules are all important skills learned in early games. It is through imaginative play that the child begins to learn some of the roles and behaviors of society."
What roles and rules do violent toys and video games teach?
Violent toys and video games:
- Promote violence and aggression as the best way to settle disputes.
- Depict violent actions as fun, harmless, and "cool".
- Encourage children to act out aggressive scenarios.
- Foster aggressive competition.
- Depend on "enemies" that need to be "destroyed" by children.
Nonviolent toys and games:
- Encourage children to build and create rather than to destroy.
- Stimulate creativity and imaginative play.
- Promote cooperation and problem-solving among children.
- Are open-ended and encourage children to create their own scenarios, rather than re-enact television, movie or video game plots.