What toys are you buying for children this Christmas?

26 Nov, 2020

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre is appealing to retailers in the country to not stock toys of violence this Christmas.

Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali said children’s interest in toys of violence such as guns, swords, knives, axes, hammers and weaponry are high, but little is known about the short and/or long-term effects of such toys on their behavior.

She said in a day and age of widespread violence especially against women and girls and intense public debate over gun control and weaponry, we must protect our children from the harmful effects of the social climate.

With Christmas around the corner, Ms Ali said a lot of us would be thinking about what gifts to buy for our children.

Ms Ali said studies have found that the kind of toys, games, and media that we expose our children to will have an impact on their behaviour and thinking as they grow.

“Other studies suggest that toys such as guns, swords, hammers, axes, knives and others such weaponry are detrimental to a child’s mental well-being. It is best to not give violent toys and games to children.

“Parents are responsible for the way our children see things and adapt to it. We are responsible for making their choices until they are able to understand and make judgements and decisions for themselves,” she said.

She said parents should ask themselves whether the toys their children will receive be in keeping with the spirit of Christmas or will they encourage destruction and violence?

Ms Ali said we should keep our children away from toys that promote violence as fun or cool, games that cheer killing, games that idealise conflict, endorse male domination, toys that nurture hostile and destructive competition and toys or games that pave the way for anti-social behaviour.

“Children have difficulty separating actualities from fantasy and will replicate for real what they have seen or learnt.”

What’s wrong with toys of violence:

  • They desensitise children to the results of violence – pain, maiming, crippling and death;
  • They endorse violence as a way of solving problems;
  • They do not develop reasoning or verbal skills;
  • They require no imagination or creativity. A pull of a trigger or push of a button takes care of problems;
  • They reverse the positions of good and bad values, downgrade patience, compassion and the spirit of cooperation, while upgrading quick-trigger responses, aggressiveness and hate and
  • Many of the toys equate survival with attacking, winning and being dominant. In actuality, survival may depend upon compromise, give-and-take and cooperation.

Ms Ali said most recently, children’s violent toys have been developed with tie-ins to television shows.

When buying toys, she said look out for activity-based games and toys that can stimulate children’s imagination and help them become creative, assist in their school work and help them understand the concept of nurturing and creating, instead of crushing and destroying.


Media Release 27/11/20

For more information, please call Shamima Ali on 9992875

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