|

Toy Guns: Just Fun and Games?

Are We Steering Our Sons Towards Violence? The shelves are stocked with weapons of every kind: handguns, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and sci-fi light sabers. Are you in the exhibit hall of an NRA convention? No. You're strolling down the aisles of a toy store in search of a birthday present for your six-year-old son.

Buying toy guns for kids seems completely natural to millions of American parents. Yet, the same parents would not even think about buying guns for their little girls. When we encourage boys to play with guns, we must question whether or not we're socializing them to be violent.

As American As Apple Pie
Playing cops-and-robbers or other "shoot the bad guy" games is often seen as innocent fun and a harmless rite of passage for little boys across America. It is certainly part of an American image of manhood -- success at violence is often equated with heroics, making men appear tough and macho. In fact, guns and other tools of destruction have long been associated symbolically with male sexual prowess.

American history -- especially the story of European immigrants settling the West -- is rife with mythology about gunfights and gunslingers. Thanks to films and television, we all grew up with larger-than-life (and largely false) visions of gun-toting law enforcers like Wyatt Earp and glamorous villains like Billy the Kid. These days, the enemy might be an alien space creature. The weapon of destruction may be more sophisticated than the old six-shooter, but the game is basically the same: Bang! Bang! You're dead!

In spite of peer pressure and TV marketing, and at the risk of disappointing your children, we strongly urge parents not to buy toy guns.

Next: Saying no >>
|


highlights

Bug Off! 6 Tick- and Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Which bug bites are dangerous? Learn about 6 diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, the signs and symptoms, and treatment options if someone in your family gets infected.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Top 10 Backyard Party Games for All Ages
Looking for some fun outdoor games for your Fourth of July party or barbecue? Check out these awesome group games, from sack races to cornhole, to make your backyard a kid-friendly party spot!

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks