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Saturday, January 28, 2023

The toy gun debate for children: are they violent or symbolic play?


With summer come colored pistols and submachine guns filled with water to help alleviate the heat. As these are the only recordings that refresh, some families are wondering what is at stake and what internalization of violence. Not only because of these toys, but also because of swords or tanks, among other things, and because of some video games that teenagers sometimes get hooked on. Oscar married He is a PhD educator and author, along with Beatrice Castrofrom autonomous children (Current platform, 2022). Casado explains that the fact that boys and girls are willing to play with swords or weapons may be caused by an idyllic image of the warrior, hero or heroine they wish to become. “This a priori It doesn’t have to be bad, however, if this depiction or image is associated with the indiscriminate use of the weapon for the fun of killing, assassination… it risks helping to internalize or contribute to a way of relating to others trivializing is not appropriate for our society.”

Beatriz Castro, the other author of autonomous children and special education teacher, ensures that the function of symbolic play that children do when they play to imitate adult actions is a fundamental tool of learning. “It’s a training that prepares them to learn better as they age. It’s a game full of meaning and functionality for them. Playing kitchen, mum and dad, running, shopping… develops in them self-images that strengthen their self-esteem and abilities,” explains the expert. Although Casado wonders, “What’s the point of encouraging this kind of symbolic play if that very behavior being imitated isn’t something that will be useful in your life?”

Casado explains that there are many different ways to play that don’t run the risk of becoming dangerous, as he thinks possible in this case. “Why encourage one of the very few that does? Why buy pistols, swords, bombs or shotguns when sometimes they didn’t even ask for them? For his part, Castro assures that if the child spontaneously shows an affinity for this type of play, there is no need to worry. “We obviously have to act to try to understand what meaning it’s giving it and what it’s looking for or finding in this type of game,” he says. And he suggests that if we observe signs that this is leading to violence without more, “less violent alternatives can be suggested so that his choices move progressively away from that type of behavior.”

The teacher and specialist in special education affirms that neither video games nor playing with guns normalize violent behavior. Casado adds, “The problem isn’t with the game or the video game, it’s with the person using it.” an orderly head does not pose a risk, because he knows how to distinguish reality from fiction. However, in the hands of a mentally retarded teenager, or just a very young child who has difficulty discerning what is real and what is not, it is a serious hazard.”

In something that the authors of autonomous children is that homeschooling is essential. “When we see them playing to fight, we have to make them realize that even though it’s a game, it still has real consequences and could hurt them, rather than laughing at them or letting them continue because it’s playing himself,” adds Castro. For the teacher, this explanation helps children “to understand that reality and fiction are sometimes very close, so that when they are already verifying that the game itself has undesirable consequences, they have less desire to reproduce it in reality”. . The key is to get them to think about what happened, as it always helps to better understand the world around them.

Educate in Complexity (Current platform2022) is the book of the teacher and researcher John Fernandez. His work as a multiplier tries to take up educational issues from scientific research. When asked if there is evidence that playing with guns increases violent tempers, the answer is no. “Studies have consistently shown that violent games and video games have no demonstrable effect,” he says. As early as the 20th century, the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget stated that play “is the work of childhood”, and for Juan Fernández it is in childhood that one begins to understand that there is a self and that that self will eventually die. “That is why playing with death is also an attempt to control it. However, a parallel moral development must take place: is it okay to kill another human being? “Ultimately, it’s about opening the way for the possibility that the other also feels and thinks,” adds the expert.

Fernandez has a website called teach research which has become one of the benchmarks in Spanish education. The expert asserts that mock games are important for cognitive development in the early learning years, “because it helps children to reflect and regulate their own cognitive behavior and to gain a deeper understanding of the psyche”. He therefore proposes replacing generally “passive and egocentric” forms of leisure with other alternative forms that are “inclusive and socially relevant,” he clarifies. Fernández believes that in the game we have a unique opportunity to learn how to relate to one another.

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Source elpais.com

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