General Question

JackAdams's avatar

Can this "explain" much of the violence in our nation?

Asked by JackAdams (6497points) September 4th, 2008

Take a look at this TV commerical, from the early 1960s:

Do you think this one, and many others like it, encouraged violence and aggressiveness in impressionable kids, creating some of the sick bastards we now have locked up, today?

September 4, 2008, 9:26 AM EDT

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16 Answers

syz's avatar

I think we spend too much time looking for a scapegoat and too little time parenting our kids.

tWrex's avatar

@syz AGREED! It all comes down to personal responsibility and THAT explains the violence in our nation. I owned loads of toy guns when I was a kid – despite the fact that my mother wont allow a real gun in her home – and I’m not locked up. Why? Because my Dad whooped my ass when it was time to. When I screwed up I didn’t get a time out. I got my bare-ass spanked. My in-laws children talk to their parents however they want and I have to say, they’ve all been in more trouble (gotten caught) than I ever did (and that’s saying something). The only child in my in-laws house that was ever spanked was my wife. She is the oldest and the example the others should have followed.

I would have knocked out several of their teeth if they were my kids talking to me the way they talk to their parents. Then again, if you teach respect, then it never has to get to that point so the “violence” or “aggression” is never present.

JackAdams's avatar

The act of spanking is itself an act of violence, and teaches a male child that, “The weay to keep your wife and kids ‘in line,’ is to smack them around, once in awhile.”

I am so GLAD to know that a “trip to the woodshed” can now get the old man tossed in jail, in some states.

That’s the way it SHOULD BE.

I condemn ALL forms of violence, especially those against children by their parents.

September 4, 2008, 10:10 AM EDT

sarapnsc's avatar

I whole heartedly believe this…

The toy is only part of the problem. The other aspect is the failure of parents to educate their children in the negative aspects of guns. Children are open to the “hero worship” of guns and the power they posess. Children are observing their world all the time looking to see what works and what doesn’t. What they sadly see is in many aspects of the media is that violence works.

Violence is power. More and more often this violence is no longer stylized and children are more likely to look at the violent solutions they see as a “real” alternative. Parents need to stand up and educate their children from a very young age. If children are going to be allowed to have toy guns and watch violence on television then they need to have parental input, explanations, discussions and a strong understanding that that violence is not an answer and that real violence cannot be retracted.

A child can “come back alive” from a toy gunfight, but a real gun or any other violence cannot be undone. Too many parents believe that this concept is somehow inbuilt into their children. This is not so. A child often needs to be taught the difference between imagination and reality especially when they are very young.

The argument that toy guns make children more violent, or make them into more violent adults who see a “physical” solution to all their problems is controversial. Many parents argue that the stylised imaginary games of cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers did not turn them into violent adults. This may be true, but as children “real” violence was not pumped into homes with quite the regularity it is now. This given, do children who are given toy guns become more violent? Basically they should not become more violent if they are properly supervised, educated and supported by their parents. That should not be rewarded for violent behaviour whether this is with toy guns or not and inappropriate behavior should be addressed by parents immediately.

It is perhaps not the toy guns that lead to an escalation in violence, but the lack of parental supervision and time spent education children about their dangers and realities that is the problem.

There is another controversial angle to the toy gun debate. The argument goes something like this: If you ban an item in your home, a child will want it all the more. There are two distinct sides to this argument. On one hand there is a distinct truth to this, sometimes children who are banned from certain activities will take it upon themselves to have the experience anyway. This is where knowing your child is the most important thing.
If you realise that forbidden fruit is always tempting to your child then perhaps a water pistol or something may be enough to quench their need to grasp at the toy gun forbidden fruit. The flip side of this argument is that with plenty of talking and delicate communication then a child will gain an understanding of why the family does not have toy guns. The child will probably still play with toy guns at other family’s houses, but they will do this knowing why there are none of these toys at home.

Are Toy Guns Worse In Promoting Violence Than Film, Television or Video Games?
Again there are endless studies and arguments as to what influences a child most. It is the nature of the play rather than the game itself that perhaps has the most influence. Solitary play without supervision and without time limits and communication is probably the most detrimental. This would mean that these activities could be ranked in some form with video games at the top of the list with film then TV and last of all toy guns which tend to be played with in a social setting.

The vital point here is still parental supervision, communication and monitoring as the most important issues in this debate. If a movie, television show or computer game is rated TAKE NOTICE. Parents so often fail to really look at a game or even play it before they give it to their child. It is important to take an active part in choosing and regulating your child’s video game, TV, and movie habits. This is good parenting and not draconian parenting. It is adequate supervision and not out of control political correctness.

The violence we see today isn’t what I seen growing up as a child…cowboys and indians role playing is long gone.

I’ve always said children….. do what they see, not what they are told!!!!!

Toys, guns, violence, parental control….....

Harp's avatar

It’s impossible to disentangle cause and effect here. American culture has, from its very beginning, subscribed to the idea that violence is a legitimate way of settling conflict, and that there is glory in the use of firepower if it’s in the service of “Right”. We’re not the inventors of that philosophy, just its heirs and promulgators.

That we raise the figure of the battle-tattered Marine or the Weapon toting G-man to iconic status is both a symptom of our reverence for violent power and the means by which we hand that reverence down to the next generation.

JackAdams's avatar

I have a few friends who are former prison guards, and they have told me that the majority of (at least) the male inmates report that they were victims of parental violence, as children.

I believe that if you rear a child with violence of any kind, you are setting them up to become violent adults.

September 4, 2008, 10:34 AM EDT

sarapnsc's avatar

@Jack wholeheartedly agree, but I have heard from many adults who were abused, that haven’t turned out to be abusers as well. But, on the whole those who were abused, will abuse. I think it’s all about mentality and what you choose to do with it.

JackAdams's avatar

Every time you smack, whip or beat a child (to get him/her to do something, for example) you are, in effect, “teaching” the child that, VIOLENCE WORKS!

Not a good thing, really…

September 4, 2008, 10:54 AM EDT

marinelife's avatar

Humans and human children have impulses toward violence. It is how behavior and responses to stress are modeled by parents, and how parents teach values that has, as has been shown in studies, the strongest influence.

That said, media and critical thinking about images they see, are one aspect of childrearing that parents should be active about.

tWrex's avatar

Well since I’m both a “battle-tattered Marine” and got spanked by my Father – hold on I need to smack my wife. ok I’m back – I guess that means that I’ll be a violent – the wife spoke again. hold on, cause I need to make sure she knows who’s in charge – offender for the rest of my life and in turn my children who’ll get a mild smack on the ass – not a rod or a whip or a belt or extension cord – will turn out to hit women and be just as aggressively violent as me.

I get it. Violence begets violence. And if you don’t think your kids should get a spanking, then good on for you. But I never said I was going to take them to the “woodshed” and beat the piss out of them. Respect through Violence is just Fear. Nothing more. Parenting by doing things other than just using the smack on the butt as an effective means of discipline was implied in my previous message. Groundings, sternness and talks are all a part of what you can do to let the message set in. Jumping to a spanking as a first alternative is not the answer. If that’s what I implied, then, well, whatever. It’s not what I meant.

Our children are influenced nowadays by tv, video games, music and the news. All these things are on the PARENT to decide what is right and wrong for them to view. The PARENTS that buy Grand Theft Auto for their 7 or 14 year old are smoking crack. Halo as well. That’s why we have Nintendo. Let them bounce on a Goomba if you really want them to let them play video games. PARENTS not censoring or enforcing what their children are allowed to see and do is the larger issue here. If you let your kids watch porn when they’re 5 I bet they’ll be visiting David Duchovny (not joking about it just an example) in the sex hospital. Showing them violence or allowing them to perpetuate it through a video game is going to do the same thing when they are young. It’s all about balancing what is necessary for them to be a part of and what is unnecessary for them to be a part of.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I want a set!!

jballou's avatar

Dude, I think you figured it out. That one toy set is responsible for all US violence.

JackAdams's avatar


Glad to know that someone in here, appreciates my genius…

September 4, 2008, 6:18 PM EDT

stratman37's avatar

guns don’t kill people, it’s those little hard things that come out of the end!

stratman37's avatar

outlaw guns, and people will use knives to kill. Outlaw cutlery, and people will use their bare hands to choke the life out of someone. Then what?

ragingloli's avatar

there was a recent school attack in germany. the attacker, one of the students, did not have access to guns, so he had to bring in an axe and 2 self made molotov cocktails, one of which failed to ignite.
There were NO fatalities, not even the attacker.
If he had a gun…

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