If you read my post yesterday I gave the hint that I do not like toys with guns and overdone weapons. The decision was a conversation between my husband and I before we had children. It was a decision we made over 6 years ago and a belief that we still hold today.
My kids are young – with our oldest Big P being only 6 years old. We don’t have toys with guns, we do our best to not allow the kids to watch movies with guns and there are no role play video games with guns and violence in our house. A rule that we take seriously, that we pass on to family and friends who may buy gifts for the kids and one that we stick by firmly.
I believe that kids need to learn about guns. They need to know that they exist, that they are dangerous and what their true purpose is – to injure or kill. We have had many conversations with the kids about guns and allow them at any time to ask any questions should they have any. At our kids age we are able to keep control over the entertainment they are influenced by and the toys they are playing with.
We can help convey the power and danger behind guns.
We can limit the entertainment violence they are exposed to.
We feel very strongly that this is important until they reach an age where they can really grasp it . At their age now though they can’t grasp the concept and finality of death. I don’t think they will be there for at least a few years.
Our house is not totally weapon-free. My husband, who feels very strongly that guns not be allowed, does not have anything against swords specifically. Though we don’t currently have any toys with swords, the kids do watch movies with minimal sword fights. So, what’s the difference? Well, when was the last time you heard of someone being killed or seriously injured in a random sword fight? When was the last time you heard in the news a story of innocent people dying due to an unprovoked sword fight at school. There is a big difference between a gun “fight” and a sword fight.
Most parents wouldn’t be comfortable if their child sat down to watch television and was exposed to subtle nudity. There have been huge uproars over that happening. However, no one bats an eye when a child sits down to watch an animated movie riddled with guns, explosions and glorified violence. We have become so accepting in this society for gun violence that we don’t bat an eye when we see children playing a game on the street pretending to kill each other.
Our kids will soon be exposed to a large amount of gun violence in entertainment and through the news. We know that is inevitable. We are just taking the time to allow them to mature – to develop the ideas behind the purpose of guns. Taking time before the world bombards them with gun violence as a form of entertainment - desensitizing gun use and devaluing human life by awarding more points per kill.
I am certainly not saying that every child who grows up playing with pretend guns will end up being dangerous adults. I am saying that for my children – I prefer they play by living life and not play by pretending to take life.
Photo Credit: adapted from permanently scatterbrained on Flickr