On Sunday we had the godparents round and their kids, and I was a bit surprised when one of the dads announced that their boy (aged 10) isn’t allowed to play with toy guns, soldiers, or certain video games.
Of course I can understand the video games thing – you have to exercise your best judgement, use parental controls, and take the age of kids (and the game certificate) into account).
But I’ve never really got the toy guns and soldiers thing.
No 1 Son always loved playing with toy soldiers and guns when he was little; he went through a brief Cowboys and Pirates fascination too. Now he plays video games that I’d rather he didn’t but can he separate fantasy from reality? Of course he can. (Put it this way, he lasted one whole term in the CCF before declaring that army life wasn’t for him). Like many boys he is also fascinated by military history, but he shows nothing but respect for those who have given their lives.
Conversely, my sister has always been strict with toy guns, with the result that whenever my eight-year-old nephew comes to play, the first thing he does is grab a cowboy hat and a rifle from the toy box. (He’s also been known to dress up as a nurse.)
What do you think? Do you let your kids play with toy guns and soldiers? And if you do, does it really mean your child will be desenstised to violence?