Kids and toy guns/"pretending" to shoot someone
I was just looking at this page about kids and gun safety: Gun Safety for Kids and Youth: Your Child: University of Michigan Health System
Given that the numbers are low relative to population, etc., it still seems to be the case that having guns around increases the chances of accidents and suicidal people using them as a means to this/their end. So, of course, we all need to be very careful where children are concerned.
I was looking at some of the cited studies:
Seeing Is Believing: What Do Boys Do When They Find a Real Gun?
Teaching firearm safety to children: fai... [J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2002] - PubMed - NCBI
A firearm safety program for children: t... [J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996] - PubMed - NCBI
One of the thought-provoking findings was that playing with toy guns increases the likelihood of kids treating real guns like toys. (We can have another discussion about how the researchers apparently let their test-subject kids "find" real guns; can't quite wrap my head around who would sign off on that one.) But anyway, this makes some sense to me. I grew up with hippyish parents who say they at first intended never to buy me toy guns, then, when I would just pretend with a stick or make one out of lego, they gave in. In late elementary school and middle school, I had and played with extremely realistic toy guns--replicas really.
So, back before I thought much about guns (kind of late to the gun world), I always figured I would let my kids play with toy guns.
Now, I'm not so sure. I definitely wouldn't get my kids anything that looks as realistic as the toys I had (a cop would no choice but to assume those were real), and I would definitely talk to my kids about why. But I've also honestly started to feel kind of weird about my kids pretending to shoot people at all, even with very unrealistic looking toys. It just skeezes me out.
I was curious how other parents handle this. I know that, whether I "allow" it in my presence or not, they are going to do it when they are off with their friends. But my instinct is that by being intolerant of it in my presence, and by reacting strongly even if a toy is pointed at me, maybe I can plant a seed of awareness that there are important boundaries to be followed where all guns are concerned? Any thoughts?