I recently attended an event, which was giving out little gift items to the participants. One of the items looked like a cute little doll action figure. I thought – great I'll give this to my granddaughter. When I opened the packaging and looked closer at the doll (this time with my glasses on) I was unpleasantly surprised. It was a little girl doll with an angry expression holding a gun.
I looked further and discovered this little dolly was part of the Suicide Squad Comic Book series action figures. I felt better thinking this was not meant to be a toy for young children more of a collectible for young adults.
I was wrong – these action figures are sold in major toy stores, kid's toy sites online and were available when I selected an age group of 5-7. Is this really an appropriate toy for young children?
Another popular toy I'm not a fan of are Barbie Dolls. I had one as a child but fortunately I didn't grow up to have a 16" waist, 39" bust and size 3 shoe - like Barbie if she was human. Which is a good thing – If I had those measurements I would have to crawl because my body wouldn't be able to hold me up.
I admit, I have always wanted longer legs and a smaller waist but I can't really say that is a result of my Barbie years.
Barbie is just a doll but do we want to encourage young girls to admire an unrealistic body image.
Children are very impressionable and experiences at a young age can have a significant impact. It's important to choose toys that are educational, promote positive values, or stimulate creative play. I don't see the value of any toy that encourages aggressive behavior, promotes fear or can negatively affect how children view themselves.
Be selective, it might just be a toy but consider whether the item is age appropriate and has educational or creative benefit. My final consideration in purchasing toys is whether that toy will end up in a landfill within a few weeks.
That usually helps narrow down my toy selections.