Toy Evaluation Paper
This paper will summarize the ERR articles from the bulleted topics and issues. This paper will also include summaries on toys that may encourage violence and aggression, toys that may promote pro-social behavior, gender stereotyping in toy selection, and cultural stereotyping or, lack of cultural awareness in toys. Influenced Behaviors; Toys can influence a child’s behavior, and his or her identity. Children are given toys that demonstrate different significance about aggression, different genders and how to interact with each other.
An example would be guns and swords; these are geared toward boys, and endorse fighting, and battling In retrospect, guns and swords can help children in developing healthy resolution to conflicts. Some toys geared toward boys promote behaviors that indicates that one is a breadwinner, protectors, and strong. An example would be the G. I. Joe and superhero toys, such as Superman, these toys support boys rescuing damsels in distress, and saving the day. Pro-social behavior is an added benefit that can be influenced by the toys that a child plays with.
Toys such as building blocks or Legos encourage pro-social behavior in children by encouraging the children to work together and build things. Further, sharing blocks, and working together encourages the children, and builds his or her self –esteem. Research was done on aggressive behavior, identity, and gender influences on children versus the impact of a child’s environment and heredity on his or her behavior, identity, and gender influences. Both sides offer strong opinions.
The important question is how much of the aggression or gender influence of a child is from the toys he or she chooses to play with? It seems relatively the same or less than the amount of aggression and gender influence the child’s environment and heredity play in the child’s reactions. Gender Stereotyping; Overall, young men are provided with a bigger toy variation than girls. Male children are often offered toys persuading them to explore, be inventive, or construct something (Miller, 1987).
Further, certain toys seem to suggest that boys are valued higher in society than girls (Starr, 1999). The information appears to show that there may be more stereotyping with regard to toys offered to boys. It seems that most parents choose more masculine and gender-neutral toys for the boys such as, soldier action figures, wrestling kits, and karate fighters (Starr, 1999). These types of toys encourage competitive and aggressive behaviors, however; they are also more constructive, conductive to handling, and more reality based (Starr, 1999).
For girls, dolls, dream houses, and kitchen centers promote the idea that girls are meant to become mothers and caregivers. This can have a positive or a negative influence on a girl because it can send the message insinuating that girls should be submissive caregivers, and boys should be on control and aggressive. Whereas most gender specific toys fit into the gender specific stereotypes, the nongender specific toys seemed to discourage stereotypes.
An example would be Lego’s, this is a nongender specific toys that allows both sexes to use his or her imagination to the fullest. Culturally Influenced; In my observations of toys, including guns, dolls, superheroes, and Legos, none indicated any cultural or ethnic stereotyping. Cultural or ethnic stereotyping can influence a child’s identity. Conclusion; Most children receive toys throughout his or her childhood. Some of these toys can help a child learn and develop, while others can encourage a negative stereotypical influence. Parents need to encourage gender-neutral play at an early age to help abolish sexism and stereotyping.