Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Off-Topic > Off-Topic > General off-topic  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 13.06.2011, 12:17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Toy guns and war games

I had an interesting chat with my wife a few nights ago about paintball, laser tag and toy guns, and I'd be interested in throwing the question out to the forum:

What do you think about toy guns and war games?

As a young teacher, I used to take a very pragmatic approach to such things. The situation was simple: boys like to fight. Boys will use tools to fight. They might use their fists to thump someone, wave a big stick as a sword or point their fingers or a toy gun and go "bang". The first two inevitably resulted in bruises, tears and angry phonecalls. The last seemed, to my young eyes, to be the least inconvenient of the options.

Later I worked in a language class for newcomers to England, a large proportion of whom were refugees and asylum seekers from war zones. Suddenly, allowing children to play 'war' didn't seem like such a good idea, so I forbade it. Where necessary, I'd explain that some children had seen too much of the real thing and leave it at that. Again, my position was largely pragmatic: I had no personal moral objection to war games, but I felt an obligation to keep them out of the classroom for their sake.

Recently I have enjoyed the privilege of having close contact with a culture in which guns are actually used as guns. Real guns, guns which make a very loud bang, bruise your shoulder and can send a projectile a very long way, very very quickly. These guns can cause a lot of damage. They are not toys (although they are fun to shoot!).

In such a culture, young children do not play 'guns', as there are real guns in the house, and to allow a child to think it is acceptable to point a toy at someone and go bang is to risk having the child think it acceptable to point a gun at someone for fun. I had never really thought about it from this angle, coming from a culture where everyone (at least when I was a kid) had a selection of cowboy revolvers, ray guns and plastic assault rifles. It never did us any harm - but we weren't at much risk of coming across a real gun.

What do you think about children playing with toy guns? What do you think about 'war games' such as paintball and laser tag? Do you find it objectionable to play at shooting people for fun, or do you consider it harmless fun? If you do find it objectionable, how do you feel about first-person computer games which involve shooting at characters on a screen? Does the kind of war game make a difference to you? Is laser tag, for example, being pure fantasy, less offensive than paintball with all its attempted military realism?

Answers from parents, participants in war games, and any other interested parties gratefully received.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 13.06.2011, 12:21
LondonAl's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Geneva
Posts: 84
Groaned at 2 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 70 Times in 29 Posts
LondonAl is considered knowledgeableLondonAl is considered knowledgeableLondonAl is considered knowledgeable
Re: Toy guns and war games

I'm going to go for the simple answer of 'it does no harm at all' after all there are knives in everyones kitchen, yet not all of our children turn out and stab people.

It's the context in which children play not the method or type of game they play.

But I'm no child behavioural expert
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:02
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Toy guns and war games

Like you've said in your post, DB, different kids from different cultures will view it differently. My son will (hopefully) only ever be exposed to guns and other shooty things on TV and in films so will try to re-enact what he sees in the same way he re-enacts Fireman Sam putting out a fire right now. As a fantasy he will tire of when he discovers girls.

He'll be bunged into the army here when he's 20 where they faff about with guns and tanks for 17 weeks then he'll be charged with storing and cleaning his rifle for its annual outing at his WK so, if it's the same as it was for my husband, the gun will become a bit of a bane of the army life. It will become a lump of metal he's got to lug around with him.

Let's face it - the Swiss army is a bit of a fantasy, isn't it?

I think you are right in stopping these kinds of games when you have a mix of kids from cultures where the gun is used for real in a war-zone or a generally violent society.

For these kids, stuff that goes bang has a whole different context to what kids over here see on their DVDs.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:09
amaraya's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: lausanne
Posts: 2,239
Groaned at 20 Times in 9 Posts
Thanked 2,845 Times in 1,204 Posts
amaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

we were never really allowed to have guns toys or the like. when we visited family in the country, we did have bb guns to use, but it wasn't exactly playing, more like trying to hit a mark, honing skills more than a game. that being said we didn't need a toy gun because it was either a gun to use respectfully or nothing at all. in the states you hear a ton about kids that shoot someone with a gun thinking it was a toy... i guess that is what my folks wanted to avoid, so they made sure we knew that it was a real thing that does damage (well, as much as a bb gun can do) and not a toy.

my son never played guns and when he came here at 8, the perfect age for his swiss friends using these frighteningly realistic toy guns and running around the neighborhood playing war games. at first he wanted one (of course, everyone had one) but i said no once and that was it. if it really is a game, then a stick shaped like a sword or gun would do just fine. a little imagination goes a long way at that age and at least it isn't just a mindless boomboomboom game.
__________________
'there isn't enough of anything as long as we live.
but at intervals a sweetness appears and, given a chance prevails'
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:10
Mud's Avatar
Mud Mud is offline
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Romandie
Posts: 2,551
Groaned at 26 Times in 23 Posts
Thanked 5,004 Times in 1,827 Posts
Mud has a reputation beyond reputeMud has a reputation beyond reputeMud has a reputation beyond reputeMud has a reputation beyond reputeMud has a reputation beyond reputeMud has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Mud & Bros. grew up with real guns, and always had toy guns as well. In those days there was a toy gun maker called Edison Toys or something who made ultra realistic plastic guns, with removable magazines and everything (the strips of exploding caps went in the magazine). Some models were even in metal- I had a Beretta . The only thing that distinguished them from real guns to the casual observer was a red plug in the barrel- which we drilled out as soon as we got home from the store.

We would kill each other every day after school, many times over.

When we went to shoot the real guns, there was no playing around though. Not for a second. Strict set of rules, and any deviation would result in no guns for a long, long time.

A while back (at around 3yrs old) MiniMuddess received a little plastic pistol that shoots suction cup darts. As soon as she got it in her hands, she loaded it, and suddenly in the deepest voice she could muster went "ha ha ha, I'm a bad guy" and shot me in the head . I explained that that wasn't how we use that gun- she could shoot me in the body only . And that one day when she gets to handle real guns they are not to be shot at anybody. That day is a long way off, and I think the single line lecture suffices for now.

I imagine somehow kids (and boys in particular) playing cowboys and indians or cops and robbers or whatever is an old tradition dating back further than we might think, and is a way to initiate into the world of Man which for a long time in human history was linked by survival to killing and the tools needed to do that. I can also see that kids who have witnessed war might not be too enthusiastic about replaying those scenes, or maybe too enthusiastic.

Big 'kids' playing paintball or laser tag, to me, is healthier than being a mass murderer on a computer screen. At least there is some physical exertion, and some actual fear and adrenaline. Never tried either- and I don't play computer games except for the occasional puzzle game.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:22
Sky's Avatar
Sky Sky is offline
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Somewhere special far away
Posts: 4,317
Groaned at 68 Times in 50 Posts
Thanked 7,167 Times in 2,652 Posts
Sky has a reputation beyond reputeSky has a reputation beyond reputeSky has a reputation beyond reputeSky has a reputation beyond reputeSky has a reputation beyond reputeSky has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

I'm against it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 13.06.2011, 13:40
MusicChick's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: La Cote
Posts: 17,488
Groaned at 414 Times in 275 Posts
Thanked 20,428 Times in 10,577 Posts
MusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

I think there will be point in sheltering kids from plastic guns when their parents stop staring at TV full of shooting, etc. You cannot have both scenarios, one protective, while you wait till they are in bed to put on a film on TV where there is a lot of shooting, other violence.

I think projecting situation from a society that has lot of deaths by gunshot into a society where kids are instructed differently (and their daily reality is different) and most of the will responsibly have a machine gun to polish and use for target shooting in their army training, gets tricky. If you don't let kids play, then don't watch tv, news, films..don't read books with murders with them.

I have worked with war affected people, I have been trained in a semi military civil service country, too. I also observed that PLAY is a therapeutical tool. Kids pretend. I think to tame certain games around war and death affected people, is a good thing. But, kids quickly understand pretense as the main principle of play, so something tells me playing whatever with other kids will help them. I also noticed that denying kids alcohol til 21 does not make them responsible drinkers. I think removing guns and pretending things like that do not exist might make some kids want to have it badly, and then act crazy when they get hold of it.

Target shooting is one of my favorite sports, I admire gun as a technically fab invention of a human mind. I don't link it to violence, since it does not have to be. Of course it gets abused. But so do knives and we still cut bread with them and our roasts, don't we. Abuse has nothing to do with the thing itself, if we get into prohibition alley, I think it will back fire. It's all about a mindset, not the tools. I can imagine myself on a desert island, I wouldn't strangle a wild bore with a string there, I would be glad to shoot it, despite of me despising the idea of shooting on anything alive. The skills are handy, though, shooting pool or guns...
__________________
"L'homme ne peut pas remplacer son coeur avec sa tete, ni sa tete avec ses mains." J.H. Pestalozzi

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is a matter of depth.” S.P. Cadman

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." A. Einstein
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:01
TiMow's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Fribourg
Posts: 9,295
Groaned at 237 Times in 154 Posts
Thanked 12,188 Times in 5,300 Posts
TiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

When I was at primary school in pre-PC 60's Britain, the boys used to band together, link arms and spend the playtime walking around crying over the other groups - "Who wants to play ..... ?" ..... usually "war" or "cowboys and Indians".
[most of the time was spent recruiting in this manner, leaving little time to actually play].

Why? .... because these were the things we were aware of as being in the cinemas and on the (limited) TV. Twenty years after the end of WWII, the painful realities of real war had become diluted with time (unlike your refugee scenario), whilst still remaining in the forefront, especially in a time of big-budget, star-studded film releases.
Likewise in the times of John Wayne and Jeff Chandler, cowboys and Indians were also popular boys games.

So, at home and in free play with friends, we played with "real" and improvised toy guns, without problems or fear that this was going to create future desires of mass murder - it was just normal for that time. In my early teens it progressed from toy guns to BB guns and air rifles, shooting at each other (but just to miss .... ha!), and small animals and birds - usually without "success".

So to transfer this scenario to the present, it is necessary to examine the current influences, that are clearly not as "seemingly Innocent" and transparent as they were then. That is where danger may now lie.

Regarding paintballing and (adult) war games - having only done it a couple or so times, a long time back - I can only say that this just innocent grown up fun and a bit of role-playing, that may under normal circumstances for many, never be realised in the everyday mundaneness of daily life.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:14
olygirl's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: d' Innerschwiiz
Posts: 7,618
Groaned at 416 Times in 279 Posts
Thanked 17,911 Times in 5,536 Posts
olygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

If a child is raised with love, security and happiness, I feel toy guns and war games are just a phase in a young person's life.

I didn't ban toy guns in our household and after about 3 years, my son simply lost interest in playing with them.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 13.06.2011, 14:19
Oldhand's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Zürich
Posts: 4,015
Groaned at 18 Times in 17 Posts
Thanked 6,837 Times in 2,059 Posts
Oldhand has a reputation beyond reputeOldhand has a reputation beyond reputeOldhand has a reputation beyond reputeOldhand has a reputation beyond reputeOldhand has a reputation beyond reputeOldhand has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

I don't provide toy guns at my playgroup but I'm always amazed at what the kids use to make their own!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:00
Geza's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: HU
Posts: 55
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Geza has earned some respectGeza has earned some respect
Re: Toy guns and war games

I have to say that I've done all.. but I'll be lying.

Playing as a kid with toy guns is fun, you shoot and hit the target. Then move far behind, do it again and start making your accuracy better. Then, you realize you left the rubber duckies behind and start shooting "other things". It's the way kids play and "learn".

As for the paintball, it is a GREAT game.. for older kids or younger adults.. even adults, I must say. Gives you the adrenaline, as stated in another comment. Teamwork, commitment, accuracy and hiding skills are a few elements you need to win.. in a fun kind of way. But then again, depends on the individual.

And then comes the time when some people point you with a real sub-machine gun and a assault rifle, you realized that it can hurt, and bad. And that's definitely a brain washer for life. That guns are bad. And you realize that you DO NOT want that for your kid and start prohibiting any kind of gun for them.

So, what do you do?

I believe that one's fears shouldn't affect your kid's progression into the "gun playground". It's a "natural" thing for us to do, after all. They (and we too) feel attracted to what to others tell us that we can't have/do.. for some odd reason.

Of course, you have to guide the child in these matters, but treat it as a game. It's all about the fun, after all.

Teach the kids how to play, and tell them the real importance of it, that it is not nice when someone points at you with such thing, but if your friends are playing, go play along.

Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:02
Pancakes's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Zurich-ish
Posts: 5,029
Groaned at 285 Times in 204 Posts
Thanked 10,597 Times in 3,977 Posts
Pancakes has a reputation beyond reputePancakes has a reputation beyond reputePancakes has a reputation beyond reputePancakes has a reputation beyond reputePancakes has a reputation beyond reputePancakes has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

I have such mixed feelings about this...

On the one hand, I do see playing with toy guns as being a rather traditional "game" for kids and one that part of me might not want to deprive my child of if, for example, all the other kids in the neighborhood were playing with toy guns.

But on the other hand (and the more I think about it)... I realize that I would feel uncomfortable if my child were to play with toy knives and were to go around "pretend stabbing" people. And I guess that I can't seem to find much of a difference between "pretend shooting" someone and "pretend stabbing" them.

Also, I don't think that many young children really understand morality (as that is something developed with time and experience), and perhaps this is why it's often so easy for kids to physically hurt one another. I have even seen some kids literally enjoy hurting other kids (and not just for the sake of "play").

I can only speak for myself, but I know that I absolutely cannot stand the sight of a gun. Even while watching movies, I cringe when someone is about to be shot. So I guess that, if I were to ever allow my kid(s) to play with toy guns, I would also feel obligated as a parent to really try to explain to them that guns are, in real life, certainly not to be considered toys and that there is a difference between "pretend-hurting" someone and truly hurting them, etc. etc.

Wow... does parenting EVER get easy?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:11
ximix's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK (formerly Zurich)
Posts: 2,098
Groaned at 22 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 2,315 Times in 1,179 Posts
ximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
...

As for the paintball, it is a GREAT game.. for older kids or younger adults.. even adults, I must say. Gives you the adrenaline, as stated in another comment. Teamwork, commitment, accuracy and hiding skills are a few elements you need to win.. in a fun kind of way. But then again, depends on the individual.

...
Yeah. I agree with you on that.

I've not been paintballing for years but thoroughly enjoyed the times I did. Took me way back to my childhood days... (*sighs wistfully*).
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:13
jacek's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Aargau
Posts: 8,855
Groaned at 125 Times in 92 Posts
Thanked 6,571 Times in 3,638 Posts
jacek has a reputation beyond reputejacek has a reputation beyond reputejacek has a reputation beyond reputejacek has a reputation beyond reputejacek has a reputation beyond reputejacek has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

From beginning of times the boys used to play with weapons and the girls used to play with dolls. Nothing has changed there AFAIK
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:26
ximix's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK (formerly Zurich)
Posts: 2,098
Groaned at 22 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 2,315 Times in 1,179 Posts
ximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
From beginning of times the boys used to play with weapons and the girls used to play with dolls. Nothing has changed there AFAIK
Haha! As a kid, sure I was given dolls but never played with any of them. Preferred my brothers' "Action Men" instead.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:28
MusicChick's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: La Cote
Posts: 17,488
Groaned at 414 Times in 275 Posts
Thanked 20,428 Times in 10,577 Posts
MusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond reputeMusicChick has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
From beginning of times the boys used to play with weapons and the girls used to play with dolls. Nothing has changed there AFAIK
Nyet.

Things are, and pretty much have been lately, mixin'. Our little playdate yesterday quite enjoyed his lipstick my child put on him.

Things seem to be changing, some people worry about fake weapons as toys, I understand, so that is probably changing, too, stereotypes as toys for gender aside. Some people worry about Barbies, some worry about safety, some more what thoughts some toys might inspire.

Still think parenting is not about toys, really.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:30
TiMow's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Fribourg
Posts: 9,295
Groaned at 237 Times in 154 Posts
Thanked 12,188 Times in 5,300 Posts
TiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond reputeTiMow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
Haha! As a kid, sure I was given dolls but never played with any of them. Preferred my brothers' "Action Men" instead.
Pssst ..... Sshhh ..... dont tell anyone but Action Men are dolls, too (but boys just don't like to admit it).
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:53
ximix's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK (formerly Zurich)
Posts: 2,098
Groaned at 22 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 2,315 Times in 1,179 Posts
ximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
Pssst ..... Sshhh ..... dont tell anyone but Action Men are dolls, too (but boys just don't like to admit it).
Hehe! Yeah, that thought did cross my mind ... so it's our secret. Right!?
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 13.06.2011, 15:58
amaraya's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: lausanne
Posts: 2,239
Groaned at 20 Times in 9 Posts
Thanked 2,845 Times in 1,204 Posts
amaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond reputeamaraya has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

hahah. i used to make my matchbox cars kiss and my brothers used my barbies as pistols- they'd hold one leg and use the other as the barrel
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 13.06.2011, 16:00
ximix's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: UK (formerly Zurich)
Posts: 2,098
Groaned at 22 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 2,315 Times in 1,179 Posts
ximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond reputeximix has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Toy guns and war games

Quote:
View Post
hahah. i used to make my matchbox cars kiss and my brothers used my barbies as pistols- they'd hold one leg and use the other as the barrel
Hehe! Too funny!

Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Where to buy: Toy Guns, Cap Gun, BB Guns esto Other/general 28 12.03.2010 21:33


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 14:08.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0