Are toy guns bad?

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by iBrian, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Should children be allowed to play with toy guns?

    I've seen people on TV commenting that giving children toy guns is a terrible thing. In fact, this condemnation moves towards general aggression play.

    What I would like to ask is whether you agree that childern playing with toy guns is wrong, or not? And if so, why?

    Before I had children I could totally understand the point. I even at one point thought that I would not allow my children toy guns.

    However, now that I'm a parent I no longer see the argument for disallowing or discouraging such behaviour to be at all relevant.

    children are children - they thrive on using their imagination. Any form of supposedly "aggressive play" is actually a form of essential social interraction, learning to develop a sense of social standing. Whereas blatant aggression, such as hitting, is something I'm not at all encouraging, actual play with guns and pretending to shoot one another is hardly a dangerous act to a child's psychology.

    In fact, I'd argue the reverse - that a parent that stifles their child's social development in such a manner is likely to cause future psychological problems - perhaps especially through parental domination and acute feelings of insecurity that affects social interractions.

    What do others here think? I'm happy to open the topic for discussion.

    Oh - and by the way - we have 2 daughters. :)
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Brian,

    no, i do not think that playing with toys, even toy guns, is wrong. i do think, however, that the toy guns should not really look like guns, per sey, they should be bright orange or yellow or something like that.

    there are a few known cases where police shot a kid that had a toy gun because it looked real. in my opinion, that is the only real danger here.

    we've all see children make "guns" with thier fingers, so i'm not sure that banning toy guns would really do anything except cost some people their jobs.
     
  3. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    No, they're not bad.

    Kids (boys and girls) playing with guns pre-dates toy guns. When there were no toy guns, kids used sticks ("Put that down, you'll poke your eye out"). Before guns, kids used sticks as swords. Before swords, they used them as clubs. Before clubs, kids roamed the streets all night.....

    Play-fighting is, I think, innate in mammals - I don't have any cites for it, but watch two puppies & they play-fight. Similarly with monkeys. It's part of our inherent makeup.

    Where things cross the line, though, is when the fighting is no longer play - and most kids understand that inherently. I know several bullies who were forbidden to play with toy guns (or sticks), and many of the most peaceable folks I know played with toy guns.

    I think Vajradhara's comment, though, is dead on - the danger is in them looking real, as other people may panic and think they're in danger. Then again, every kid should know that if someone yells "Drop It", and they've got a toy gun, they should do so immediately - just as a safety precaution.
     
  4. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    I played with toy guns a lot when I was a kid. To date, I have not killed a single person, other than pretend play when I was a kid, nor have I committed any major crime (yea, I drive too fast, okay, blame it on the toy guns, LoL). I think this is just a way of shifting blame from bad parenting.
     
  5. exastra

    exastra New Member

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    i'm inclined to disagree. toy guns in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but the idea that they are indicative of is. their makes gun use seem normal and acceptible. they desensatise people to the dangers of guns and create a cultural/ psychological atmosphere where fighting each other is considered ok. it sets a subconscious imprint that encourages us to accept the disemmination of guns and to turn a blind eye to such negative influences. then wonder why people are hurting each other.
    guns a intended and designed as a tool of violence. they are meant to harm. children learn by example. if guns are presented as being cool and fun, people will tend to underestimate and abuse them.
     
  6. petertdavis

    petertdavis New Member

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    I think most people learn the difference between pretend play and reality well enough, and I don't think there's any proof that the people who don't learn that difference are any more likely to commit crimes because they played with guns as a child. There is absolutely no proof that objects of pretend play makes people any less sensitive to violence when they reach adulthood. I don't even think it's possible to test for that. IMO, people that grow up to be criminals could have played with guns, or dolls, when they were kids and it doesn't make a bit of difference.
     
  7. poolking

    poolking New Member

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    I think they are only bad depending on what the parents have told their children when they are given a toy gun to play with.
     
  8. exastra

    exastra New Member

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    you're missing the point. which is that the very fact that pretend gun play is acceptible for children, that actual gun play as adults is considered a normal condition of life. the presence, tolerance and "necessity" of guns at all as a normal aspect of our community is the problem.
     
  9. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    You say that like the presence of guns is a bad thing.....

    Seriously, though, the problem, I believe, is NOT that guns are present. It's the willingness to use them to harm others unnecessarily (i.e. not self defense) that's an issue. Without guns, people use knives, forks, clubs, arrows, box cutters, cars, etc, etc. With guns, they add guns to the list. Guns get most of the blame because they're the ones people most often think of first.

    Yes, they're lethal weapons, but so's a lead pencil, properly applied.
     
  10. exastra

    exastra New Member

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    i do see what you are saying, but that's not what i'm saying.
    i'm not blaming guns. i realize that a gun is merely a tool whose use is determined through application by individuals. but guns are synonymous with war and killing--- glorified in our entertainment media; therefore, they subconsciously intill a correlation in our perception of them as being cool and symbols of power.
    their casual and cavalier presence in our movies and video games and the celebration of soldiers in combat encourages an impression that guns are heroic. furthermore, the fact that they are so commonplace causes us to accept them or at least not question their presence and effect.
    true, their harm is only a symptom of the problem-- which lies in foolish and careless people... but their insinuation into our culture and our subconscious exacerbates and enables the problem of their misuse.
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The trouble is, guns - as with any weapon - is a symbol of power. This is directly associated with the fact that we are social apes.

    Social groups demand hierarchies, and hierarchies need to be determined by some means.

    Although some creatures get away with singing contests, or bower buildings, the essential trait for dominance for apes is to be powerful and dominant.

    It effects every aspect of our behaviour, and if anyone takes even a cursory look at the social interactions between individuals in ape societies, you can see that a lot of the actions have actually migrated to our verbal language instead.

    Maybe one day that will be the case with our innate aggression. However, until that day comes, various forms of aggressive play – of which even sport is simply another form - will continue to be a normal part of social development among children.

    Now, if the point being particularly emphasised is that of the glorification of use of guns in modern society, then you are absolutely right.

    There's a nasty trend in a lot of media at the moment, that seeks to reshape gender stereotypes in their more aggressive forms.

    This is a bit like taking an evolutionary back step – harking back to our primitive biological drives, rather than damping, subverting, or even conquering them.
     
  12. iKwak

    iKwak New Member

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    Toy guns that look anywhere similar to an actual gun (black) are bad and dangerous because it appears real and can give the wrong impression.
     
  13. emong

    emong New Member

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    As a child, my gun play was a direct imitation caused by the proliforation of "Westerns" on television at the time. Today it's the cop shows that children imitate.
    Children are going to imitate the culture of the period. If aggression is the culture, we cannot fault the toy manufacturers for wanting to make a living from it.
    I know that as a child, the realism of the gun was very important. It needed to match the gun of the hero I was emulating. I would have rather used my finger than an orange or yellow gun. I think kids are the same today. The problem today is who we're presenting as the heros.
    Our culture has shifted to showing the bad guy as someone to imitate.
     
  14. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    bad guys ? what like world leaders ?

    we as a planet of ppl can not change time but b4 guns kids had bows and arrows to play with . is hunting for a living wrong and the teaching to survive wrong ? i douht it . but to emulate a serial killer from tv does leave some questions for sure .the toys can not be at fault if so all men would not be allow a penis as this will be regarded as being eqipped for rape and a crime
     
  15. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mikie8,

    thanks for the post.

    faulty logic. the penis is also the means of uriniation and procreation.. and it's not a manufactured object, like a toy gun would be.

    in any event...

    to address the rest of the posts...

    guns are also indicative of a hunting culture. it is very easy, i think, to find an external object and focus on that as a source or symptom of a societal problem.

    if we don't want our children to be violent, then we, as their parents, must show them how to not be violent. when someone does soemthing to us, and we react, our children watch and observe. if we react with compassion and patience, our children will emulate that behavior. if we react with cursing and torrential screaming, our children will emulate that and internalize it.

    our kids, despite what we may think or believe, do (for a while at least) look up to their parents and try to emulate their behavior.

    think about that the next time you are driving and someone cuts you off... even if you don't have kids. just be mindful of your emotional response and you can mitigate it.
     
  16. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    not faulty lodgic i was saying anything can be used to do wrong it does not mean the equipment is bad just the user .

    i agree with setting an example ,schools in my area have banned games involving guns even pretend ones where fingers are used as a gun barrel and its been like that for ten years or more ,not sure if it an borough policy or an individual skools choice ?
     
  17. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    namaste mikie8,

    the logic is faulty because you can prohibit ownership of a gun, it's a manufactured product. you cannot prohibit ownership of a penis, it's biological. with this line of reasoning, you could say that eyes were bad or ears or anything else for that matter.

    a more apt analogy would be something like an Axe or the like, another manufactured product that has beneficial uses but can be used for ill in the wrong hands.

    we seem to be agreeing on the substance though.
     
  18. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    ok its was a flippant remark to outline anything can be perseved as a weapon .
    wooden match boxes were banned from football terraces as were newspapers in the past as both can be used as weapons .
    Does this suffice ?
     
  19. IMSassafras

    IMSassafras A Believer

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    When a child grows up, I think it all depends on the person. We all have the ability to make our own decisions - It is called Free Will. We can make good decisions or bad ones. We can learn from our mistakes or we can choice to make more bad decisions. It is totally up to the individual.

    When it comes to teaching children, it is up the adults that are around that child to teach them the difference between right and wrong.

    I personally do not like guns, but that is because guns are designed to kill. Guns are designed for hunting, defense, and war.

    I don't know if a child has to play cops and robbers to understand the purpose of a gun in society. I would like think they don't.

    I like the idea of living in a society that has enough responsibility to act responsible.

    Here is a Question: What age is too young?

    Let the answers begin....

    Just Me
    Sassafras
     

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