2013 05 28
From learning toys to miniature cars, toys have always been an influence on children. 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. Young boys and girls have always looked up to their Barbies or grew in excitement when watching their Hot Wheelz fly around the track trying to escape the jaws of a shark. Many of these toys are beginning to develop to be more realistic such as nerf guns or army figures. With advancements in technology, an increasing amount children are beginning to play on their tablet or other digital device rather than playing with physical toys. Violent toys weren't as accessible to children a few years back, and since, children have shown an increase in violence of ages 10 and up. It is important that violent toys are monitored because they are easily accessible, are funded by the army and is becoming increasingly popular in video games but these issues can be easily prevented by parents. Some of the most popular toys lately have been of toy guns or violent figurines which populate the shelves at toy stores. Violent toys are in an abundance and are easily accessible to children. The M2 Research company did a study which showed that 91% of kids between the ages of 8-11 play the popular shoot-them-up war game, “Call of Duty”. This game is made for an older audience and has an ESRB rating of M for Mature. It is rated M because of blood and gore, intense violence, strong language which is not something an 8 year old should be exposed to. Many toy stores now place their violent items on the first shelf in front of the entrance because of their success in the market. Violent toys can be purchased in many stores around a city, including local dollar stores. Games like Call of Duty are even being sold at Toys 'R' Us franchises, despite their “Mature” rating. It is not hard to see that violent toys and video games sell when characters like Master Chief from Microsoft's successful Halo franchise become the face of specific video game consoles, such as the “XBOX”. Children are able to learn about their culture through the toys that they play with. If a child was asked what a gun was, they would be able to identify it from the GI Joe they were playing with. As stated earlier, violent toys are easy to come by and would be a daunting task for a parent to prohibit their child from using them. According to an Article in the New York Times, The U.S. Military and the American Toy industry have a long time history of working together. Both parties benefit from the relationship. 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. The relationship is not a hand off, but in fact a trade. The army does not just fund toy development, but it also develops its weapons and vehicles off toys. For example, the M-16 rifle is actually based of a product of Mattel. Other inspirational items include, SuperSoakers (for quick-loading rifles), model planes (recon drones), and video game controllers (for robotic vehicles). By creating new military advancements off of...
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