By: Krystle Crossman
There is no question that times are changing and the landscape of the world that we live in is drastically different than when we were kids. We are raising our children in a time where there is extreme violence which hits even the youngest of children. Kids are going into schools and killing their classmates, teens are bringing guns into public places and killing strangers, and even in the home kids are killing each other with their parents’ guns. With the times changing as much as they are there is a debate amongst parents that has been a hot topic lately. Should kids be allowed to play with toy guns?
When we were kids we would run around with Nerf guns, cap guns, and even BB guns and play games or go for target practice in an open field. These days the toy guns look more and more realistic, some to the point where it can be hard to tell the difference. This was one of the issues with the Tamir Rice case where 12 year old Rice was running around a park with a fake gun that looked real as the orange safety marker had been taken off of it. The police were called and Rice ended up dead within a matter of seconds, all over a toy gun. Many schools these days are quick to punish students who bring toy guns to school. Some even punish kids that point their fingers like they are holding a gun or make shooting noises. Are we too sensitive to these types of things or are we being necessarily cautious?
On one side you have parents that are very much against their child playing with a toy gun. They feel that it sends the wrong message to the kids about how dangerous real guns truly are and the kids underestimate the devastating power that a real weapon can have. On the other side are parents that firmly believe that if their children are taught about gun safety from an early age they will be able to distinguish the difference and still be able to play without issue. Experts such as child psychologists state that as adults we are subjected to the media and stories of violence daily so when you see your child portraying what you are seeing on the media you may tend to overreact to the situation. Your child is just seeing it as play, not as a future career. There are warning signs that your child may have problems in the future such as acting out more than a child should, violence, animal abuse, and self-harm. But if your child does not display any violent tendencies the experts say that we should let them be kids and expand their imaginations.
What do you think? Should children be able to have toy guns to play with or do they send the wrong message?