Certain toys being either facsimiles or representations of weapons or military equipment, have the power to condition human behaviour with the consequence that children who play with such toys become temporarily or permanently predisposed to violence. At least some violent behaviour in adults is traceable to the use of such toys whose elimination would therefore reduce the incidence of personal violence in society.
One in every three households in the USA has a video game console which plugs into TV set (70% of those with children between 8 and 15). Only seven of 47 home video games sampled in the US in 1991 did not involve violence. Out of 13 studies conducted in the USA on war toys, 12 have found harmful increases in both verbal and physical violence to other children. An additional 34 studies have been completed on violent cartoons on normal children in the US and six other countries. Thirty-one of these report at least some harmful effects.
There is as yet no scientific evidence of the connection between toys and permanent violent behaviour patterns among humans. Rather the available evidence tends to point in the opposite direction. Social history generally shows a continually de-escalating level of interpersonal violence in Western society which appears to bear no relationship to the availability of particular types of toy. Available statistical evidence of the incidence of interpersonal violence also indicates an absence of correlation between toys and the propensity to violent behaviour. The differential incidence of violence is therefore more likely to be traceable to social and economic differences than to the use of particular types of toy.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
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