Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Violence and Toys

Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

TRUCE 2004-2005 Toy Action Guide
P lay is essential to children’s healthy development and learning. Children use play to actively construct knowledge, meet social/emotional needs, and acquire life skills. The content of their play comes from their own experiences. Changes in today’s childhood are undermining play. Because of the pervasive influence of the electronic media — such as TV, movies, videos, DVDs, computers — children spend more time sitting in front of a screen and less time playing creatively with each other.
Toys, the tools of children’s play, influence that play. Toys of value enhance children’s natural ability to engage in imaginative, meaningful play by allowing them to try out their own ideas and solve their own problems. Many of today’s toys are highly structured and often linked to popular media images and programs. These toys channel children into imitative play, robbing them of opportunities to use their own imaginations, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Parents are constantly faced with decisions about what toys to buy and what toys to avoid. High-powered marketing and the influence of popular culture interfere with thoughtful decision-making at the toy store.
This guide is intended to help adults promote children’s creative and constructive play by making informed choices about toys, and by working with others at home, school, and in the community to promote positive play and toys.

Violent events such as the war in Iraq and the post-war conflict, acts of terrorism, crime,* and natural disasters affect everyone. Children receive different information about these events. Some children are included in discussions, some overhear adults’ or other children’s talk, some hear or see it on the news. Many young children may be confused or frightened and try to work out their feelings and understanding in play. Adults can observe and guide the play by responding to what children say with simple, accurate information and keeping the play within safe physical and emotional boundaries. Remember: each time a child sees a replay of an event on television, it is a new event in their minds. Imagine how many buildings fell in children's minds when the Twin Towers fell in 2001.

For more information contact TRUCE: www.truceteachers.org
PO Box 441261, West Somerville, MA 02144 e-mail: truceteachers@aol.com

* Experiences such as the recent criminal behavior in Newtown CT