Edith Bevin, of The Daily Telegraph, wrote today that "Ninja stab toy 'should be banned'". She says that homicide victims' support groups have called for the toys (Naruto action figures based on a Japanese ninja cartoon series), which act out stabbing and slashing and come equipped with an arsenal of weapons, to be taken off the shelves.
Homicide Survivors Association founder Peter Rolfe said the toys taught children a very dangerous lesson. "I think there's a link between playing with these toys and violent behaviour later. It doesn't happen to everyone but it can have an effect on people with problems . . . If they play with toy weapons does it make them more comfortable with real weapons later? At some stage there's an imprint left on them."
Mattel marketing director Julie Kearns said the toy met Australian safety standards. She said it was up to parents whether they wanted their children to own a doll based on the ninja ethos of weapons and defence. "We have found within the toy industry that often concerns about safety aspects or image aspects of a toy are based on what the adults believe not necessarily what the child understands and believes," she said.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney said her office was powerless to intervene. "While Fair Trading regulates product safety in NSW, it has no power to regulate products that might be in bad taste but do not pose a physical danger," she said. "The best way to let businesses know their products are not acceptable is not to buy them."
Platinum ponders: if you look back in history, you have to wonder where humanity got its violent nature nature before there were plastic toys to 'imprint' on? However if Mr Rolfe is correct, we should also ban toy weapons, toy cars (you've seen a three-year-old 'drive' ... imagine the imprint THAT leaves!) and baby dolls that allow the 'mum' to play with it sometimes and then ignore it for days on end with no consequences. And tea-sets. They may cause some to grow up to become caffeine addicts or socialites. And books and pencils - they may persuade some (people with problems?) that, just because they can read and write to a basic level, their analysis of the human condition and its causes are not only newsworthy but should be taken seriously and used in legislation. They might think they understand psychology ... or take up journalism...
I like Linda Burney's idea - if you don't like it, don't buy it. Rather than bitching about something and expecting Big Brother to legislate to protect yo' ass, exercise a) your right as a parent, and b) some decision-making processes; and tell the child "no". Tell the child why "no". Let the child come up with persuasive arguments as to why maybe "yes". This is called negotiation and is a valuable skill that parents should teach their children. Whining and threatening is not negotiation and won't get you even a red jelly bean; debate, critical thinking and reasoning may make the person with the purse loosen the strings a little. Of course, these things don't come naturally to a child and they have to learn it from somewhere, and that takes time, effort and patience.
Those chunks of the population that seem to want to legislate against anything that might require parental effort from them also seem to indulge in a lot of parroting of half-baked, pseudo-scientific arguments rather than debate, critical thinking and reasoning - I bet they don't even know what they are (and I bet their parents didn't, either). And I'm not going to listen to a word they say until they stop whining and start behaving like civilised little beings....