Violent toys, video games can be destructive

Parents should be wary of the social-emotional risks of certain toys, as many send a negative message that could later lead to destructive behavior.

Dr. Joel Steinberg, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says, “Parents should be very careful in selecting presents that may encourage violent behaviors, such as toy guns, knives, bow and arrows, or computer games and violent videos.”

Youngsters who play violent video games are not participating in real-life experiences. Destroying computer-game roadblocks may be acceptable, but that’s not appropriate in real life, the physician says.

Dr. Steinberg, who also is a general pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center, offers these other holiday-shopping tips:

  • Purchase toys that are age appropriate. Toys too advanced may frustrate your child.
  • Be sure the toys aren’t designed so a child can break them and choke on small parts.
  • Test a noise-making toy next to your ear. If the sound is too loud or irritating for you, then it’s likely to be harmful to your child.
  • Pull-toys with strings more than 12 inches in length could pose a strangulation hazard for babies and toddlers.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/pediatrics to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in pediatrics.

Media Contact: Jan Jarvis

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