Holiday Countdown: Violent Toys

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.



This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about preparing for the holidays in a way that’s safe and healthy. When you’re considering which toys to buy as gifts, think about the message you’re sending.

Some toys may send a violent message, carrying social or emotional risks. Dr. Joel Steinberg, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says parents should think about toys that could encourage violent behavior, such as toy guns, knives and other weapons or violent computer and video games. Some of these games may teach children inappropriate responses to difficult situations. For instance, a video game may allow children to destroy any roadblocks they run into, which isn’t something they can do in real life. Games also let children reset and start over when they get killed, but in the real world death is permanent. These games can keep children from learning how to deal with problems they face in real life.

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December 2011

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