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Should we ban toy guns and other weapons?

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When I was a child I didn’t play with guns. Swords: yes, but never guns.

At Zach’s preschool there seems to be a high proportion of boys and every time I visit they are anxious to show me their sticks/constructed StickleBrick guns which are hurriedly transformed to ‘water pistols’ by the staff.
Matthew and Anya are obsessed with swords (probably thanks to Minecraft) and frequently sword fight in the garden. Quite frankly this terrifies me as both of them are dangerous! But they are no different to me and my sister playing She-Ra in our own back garden as children.

We grew up with films like Star Wars and it was always the light sabers that held our fascination not the blasters. Obi Wan puts it best:

Obviously that was way AFTER my childhood! 🙂
We recently attended the Heritage Day at the Royal Military Academy and the children showed a healthy respect (if not downright fear!) of genuine weapons. I think it was very sobering for them to realise that guns and swords really kill.

With the rise in gun and knife crime it does seem wrong to allow children to brandish weapons but I also think it is a natural stage in development and part of their genetic make up. If technology were to disappear and we had to start again from scratch then the humans that will survive are those that can feed and defend themselves (I think I would be doomed!)
I am horrified by the idea of killing for sport and think the photos of triumphant rich idiots posing with their once beautiful prey are revolting. However, sanitising the skills to create proper sports like shooting, archery and fencing in the Olympics and others sports championships is a fab way to demonstrate the beauty and expertise required.
It is a sad fact of life that wars are part of our world and our history. The simplistic childhood games of good versus evil are a refreshing viewpoint and also offers hope for us all that right will win out in the end. We cannot airbrush the violence out of our past as we need it to make sense of the future.
The skill of sword play and gun or arrow marksmanship can improve hand-eye coordination and I prefer the children to be outside playing rather than slumped in front of the TV or tablet. But I am still troubled by the fun associated with causing violent injuries to others even if only pretending.
I think that toy weapons have a valid place in childhood. Children will create weapons from almost anything. It is our responsibility as parents to teach them respect for life and death so that real weapons are not required in their future.

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8 comments

  1. Teaching children that weapons are things to be treated with respect due to what they can do as well as respect for other people is key. I’m not sure that banning toy guns etc will achieve anything on it’;s own. If children want to play Star Wars, then a cardboard tube makes a good light-saber.

  2. I live in the US. We have way too many guns and too many gun crimes. I do not advocate the promotion of guns in any way, however, my kids and grandkids (all boys) all played with toy guns, especially water guns. I think even very young children know the difference between a water pistol and the real thing. None of my adult children now own guns.

  3. Interesting reflection, I guess we can teach them what power weapons can hold so that they play but have this awareness on the back of their minds
    #bloggersbest

  4. I agree hun as my brother was always making guns and swords even though My Mum never showed him anything. It was teaching him respect and to respect what he was doing. Great post and thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest x

  5. What an interesting question and subject to cover. I certainly think that it’s important to teach little ones the right behaviour, respect and care they must have for those around them. This may sound silly, but I think that toy/water guns are far less of a bad influence than computer games which feature virtually killing a target. Though that could be an age thing, where teens get far more engrossed. i’m not sure. I remember running around playing cowboys and Indians when I was little – and it didn’t do me any harm 🙂 Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam x

  6. I would have say ban them I don’t agree kids should be learning what a gun is full stop Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  7. My brother had an armoury of every toy gun you can think of: rifles, pistols, machine guns…and now he’s in the army so I’m not sure this is a good example!! #DreamTeam

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