Toy Guns for Children: Does It Matter What Your Children Play With?

by Nadine Staaf

in Society

I had a conversation with my husband, today, and it got me to wondering about what other people think on the matter of toy gun play in young children.

What We’re Teaching Our Son

My husband and I are raising our 6-year old to not play toy guns. We both see gun play as less of an innocent childhood game, and more as a replication of an extremely violent act that causes death worldwide. Sure, some authorities use guns to protect people, but do our children need to start learning how to protect with guns at 5 and 6 years old?

Until kindergarten, our son had never spoken the word “gun”, and he potentially had never heard the word. When he finally learned what other kids had seemingly known forever, he called it a “gum.” For the first few weeks of kindergarten, everything was a gun: a stick, a rock, a long piece of grass. It didn’t even need to look like a gun- in his mind, and in the minds of the other kindergarten boys, guns were just fun to play.

Do Children Know The Difference?

There is an argument that “children don’t know what any of it means, and it’s all in good fun.” The argument is not solid, though- there is always at least one child in the schoolyard who really means what he says. He tends to be more violent with his toy gun, and he uses the words “kill” and “dead.” From what I have seen, and heard from the teacher, he is the same boy who watches violent movies at his own will, and plays shooting video games before school so that he’s primed for gun play in the school yard.

Toy Guns for Children

My thought around the subject is that children who play with toy guns are more likely to want to have real guns when they are able to acquire them. Although, I have a brother who played gun video games throughout his teenage years and he doesn’t have a gun, nor does he seem to even want one.

Does a Healthy Society Include Toy Guns?

There is so much of me that believes that companies would not sell toy guns if they truly believed in the well being of our children and our future societies. Are we raising children to want to play with guns, or are we raising children who want to be peaceful with one another?

I have a number of friends who choose not to allow gun play in their homes; my understanding of their choice is that they feel similar to the way that I feel. Is it necessary to promote the excessive violence that comes along with firearms, or can we just stop producing toy guns?

What Do You Think?

What do you think about all this? Do you see gun play as a fun game kids play, or do you see it as an expression of violence that could turn into worse expressions of violence over time? Or both?

Toy Guns for Children: Does It Matter What Your Children Play With?

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Nadine Staaf is a Nikken Wellness Consultant serving USA and Canada with Nikken Products and a business opportunity in total wellness. See Nadine's full story Nadine Staaf's Nikken Story

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay June 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I grew up in a household that actually had real guns that were used regularly during hunting season and a beebee gun that was used the rest of the year. I remember going out hunting partridge with my dad and brother and some of these memories have been my favorite in my life. When became a teenager I was given the opportunity to learn to shoot the 10 gauge shotgun (which I thoroughly enjoyed). I was taught under the premise that because we owned and hiked over 100 acres of forested property that was also home to wolves and bears, it was wise for this small scrawny girl to know how to operate a gun safely and responsibly if an emergency situation ever called for it.

My brother and I had a bee-bee gun during our childhood and would often take it to the field to shoot tins & cans. Because of the thorough safety training from the parents we actually used it very responsibly and had a lot of fun fine tuning our shooting skills. I remember thinking it was like an exploration or adventure (opposed to using the gun for violence to ‘shoot to hurt’)

I was taught from the time I was a wee girl the power and force a gun had, and how there are very very strict rules to be followed if a live gun was in my presence. Always walk behind the gun carrier, never touch a gun without parent’s permission, ensure safety is always on if handling it… etc etc.

As I grew older I morphed out of my ‘tomboy’ times and into other interests and haven’t even had the slightest urge to pick up a gun for any rhyme or reason. The force of them actually scare me now. My brother who was ‘a hunter’ growing up hasn’t touched a gun in 15 years and grew up to be an accountant who sits at a desk. My dad now can’t stand to even hurt another being or an animal, so guns are no more for him either.

Guess what I’m trying to say is that despite our childhood usage of real guns, we have all matured into responsible, non violent adults.
None of us support violence of any nature and have never ever had any issues otherwise.

I think every child is different and should be treated this way by the parents. I think situations are different for families as well (ie, me growing up in a forested area where hunting is very common amongst our townspeople). If parents do allow toy gun play by their children, then there should be some monitoring of aggressive tendencies and behaviors and these should be acted upon accordingly.

Great thought to ponder Nadine and I appreciate this article. Something to ponder as I emerge into motherhood within the next few years :)

Reply

Nadine June 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Thank you so much, Lindsay, for sharing your story, and a truly rounded perspective on the matter. Your response is precisely what I was looking for: a full experience, from childhood to adulthood, with an outlook from many angles. I like how you incorporated the piece about your father’s experience, and about how your brother lives now, as well. Love your comment! Thank you!!

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Francis June 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

We agree to the point that we’ve started a toy gun buy back initiative to have children exchange their toy guns for non-violence promoting toys.. Please check us out at http://www.toygunbuyback.org or “like” our facebook page (toy gun buy back initiative)

Thanks!

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