Every child has a favorite toy bought or custom made by parents or older siblings, if that is not the case a replica from the available objects in a child’s environment. Traditionally toys such as dolls were made from clay, wood or wax, airplanes from paper and cars from malleable cable. All these were materials could be obtained from nature or the environment easily. However, all this has changed with post-modernity and urbanity. With post-modernity comes capitalism, which has industries invent products that will fetch huge sums of money from the populace. Artificial substance has seen its way in production of ample toys to cater for the increasing demand. Technology has also found its way into the children’s objects, as they are available with real movement and voice hence making them popular for children.
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Toys are important in children growth and very dear to them a reason they clutch to them at all times. In addition, parents in a bid to provide sufficiently for their children invest heavily on toys to make their children happy. Nevertheless, the very toys parents rush to in stores to keep up with the latest fad can be harmful to children. Children develop physically, socially and emotionally. Childhood helps determine character for an adult. An adult with a questionable character must have acquired it in childhood. This happens when parents overwhelm their children with toys that create social and emotional problems.
The twentieth and twenty-first centuries present the world with postmodernism, which has families living in cities. Cities, unlike the rural areas have limited playing fields owing to the fact that developers are always coming up with commercial buildings. Similarly, cities are full of activity on the outdoor therefore making it unsafe for children to play. Pollution, unsafe road usage by drivers and crimes such as kidnapping make it difficult for parents to let their children out for play. These circumstances of city life have contributed to the popularity of modern toys, which according to Goldstein are efforts to curb bodily harm. Recreation activities for children move inside the house a thing that has led to the growth of technological toys. These toys allow for private recreational activities (5). In the past, without the hustles and bustles of city life children could enjoy play with friends an alien occurrence for today’s children who live in isolation. Isolation of children not only impedes speech but also makes the child to be timid unlike children who play outdoors (Liz Hollis, The Guardian 16). Such children never learn the value of sharing by interacting with other children.
Toys not only serve the purpose of enjoyment but also education. However, some of the toys chosen may impede originality and thoughts. Television as an object of entertainment has children glued to the screen “passively watching the creativity of others rather than manufacturing their own fun” (Cambre and Hawkes 13). This has the effect of children not thinking on their own and having the television dictate their thoughts. Therefore, the teachers have a difficult time in teaching such children.
Computers and computer games also give the same effects of lack of originality. Parents on the other hand, feel pressurized by advertisers to invest in electronic toys that according to Lucy Ward are not specifically advantageous in education (The Guardian). Parents who just buy toys because they are on sale instead of looking for the benefits they bring to a child is an impulse buyer and may pass on the value of extravagance to the child. In addition a customer society is created by television which advertises for toy companies. Parents are held culprits of responding to each technological innovation in order to please their children. Similarly, computers as toys render the children to attend to obscene material through the internet. This is because parents leave their children in the refuge of toys as they are busy earning a living. Consequently, children fall culprits of unlawful dealings such as child trafficking, abuse, child pornography, theft and abduction. This is because children are inexperienced in the proper use of the internet.
Other toys such as guns and dolls have effects on behavior and emotions. Cambre and Hawkes argue that, “research over the course of many years â€¦has shown aggressive play can and sometimes does lead to violent behavior” (18). This could only mean that any time a parent buys a toy gun for his/her child there is a possibility that the child at some point will exhibit brutality. Other traits such as despair and compulsion to drug abuse also emanate.
Similarly, dolls shape the dreams of young girls who would want to be petite and attractive as seen in “Barbie” the doll (Cambre and Hawkes 17). Consequently, children will abstain from eating to maintain a slim body figure. This also explains why teenagers suffer from disorders such as anorexia. Girls inspired by the Barbie doll will obviously suffer from low self-esteem should their body size increase. On the other hand, children form inactivity from watching television and playing computerized games, such children can become obese. This is due to the fact they have no activity that bring them to physical exercise all they do is eat, sit, be simulated and not think.
The other social problem presented by toys has to do with stereotype of gender roles. Girls often have toys with a kitchen setting or dolls, which they ‘nurture’ while the boys have cars, shooting video games or racing cars. These stereotypes also affect careers where girls believe they should be homemakers while boys explore in fields that require masculinity and aggression. “Feminists argue that gender-free play is essential if girls are to grow up realizing they can pursue any career they choose in adult life and if boys are to realize that making a home is a shared endeavor” (Goldstein 21). This therefore calls for parents to buy their children a variety of toys to enable them to experience different gender roles.
The divide on gender roles is not the only accomplishment as toys also bring about a class divide “of the haves and the have-nots” (Cambre and Hawkes 21). Rich parents can always spoil their children into having any fad toy while struggling parents will have their children possessing old and broken toys because they do not have the money to move with the trends. The divide is visible when children bring their toys to school and this may contribute to low self-esteem in children who do not have trendy toys. According Donahoo, parents with autistic children are in pains to get money to invest in an ipads to aid in development of their children even though the gadgets do not work to provide development (Wired Magazine). This clearly shows that the technological toys are not items that every parent can afford. Children whose parents cannot afford will have to make use of alternative development techniques.
Unlike in the past where a child held a single toy dearly because it took a lot of energy and material to make one. Today children have toys spilling all over the house. Once it gets broken, it can always be replaced. In fact, a child can intentionally destroy one in order to get a new and trendier one. Such children make up for the adults who are money-oriented (Goldstein 21). These children may grow to despise children from poor families.
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The problems caused by modern toys are mostly social in nature and very few are emotional. Other problems created by toys are pollution. The artificial material making the toys mainly plastic cannot decompose. Therefore, when disposed on to land the soil does not aerate properly hence making it not suitable for cultivation.
In addition, materials manufacturing toys and the wonderful colors used on them could be harmful for ingestion. Parents should pay caution when making purchase to ensure the material and paint are not harmful.
Every technological progression comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Children’s toys are one such advancement that we should embrace as well as scrutinize to ensure that the children are learning while having fun. To counter for the social, emotional and environmental problems caused by children’s toys parents must take an active in being present during play. This is in order to encourage creativity and imagination, which lacks in the use of modern toys. Children should also be encourage to play outdoors where they play while enjoying nature and learning about it. For example, a visit to the parks will not only help children to interact with others but also creative play can come up such as hide and seek.
Children also need assurance from parents on their uniqueness in form and character hence they will avoid falling prey into the internet evils of sexual abuse. Furthermore, their self worth should be defined by parents’ assurances instead of toys. Children should be encouraged to read or read to stories as reading makes the mind active in imagination. Play should not a whole day without a break as this will help the child think of the next activity in plan hence making the mind active.
Modern toys are result of continued advertising from televisions that make parents attend to the messages and heed to them without questioning the impact involved. The television continues to play its role perfectly at the expense of innocent children. It is therefore the obligation of every parent to make sound judgment when buying the next fad toy in the market. The parent should also practice using it to find out what impacts is had on him/her before releasing it to the vulnerable child. Toys should be bought according to age to ensure that the specific needs of the child are met. Parents should in addition invest in a few toys to test how that effects on the child and thereby prepare the child for the eventualities of life.
Finally, the culture of homemade toys should be renewed to allow for creativity. Clay is fun to work with and it will have children making their own designs that describe the world as they see it.
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