Are Toy Guns All in Good Fun?

Gender and race affect parents' opinions on the subject

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FRIDAY, Jan. 10, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Some parents cringe at the thought of their children playing with toy guns, while other parents don't give it a second thought.

Those different viewpoints may be influenced by race, gender and other social factors, says an American study in the January issue of Pediatrics.

The study found parents who let their children play with toy guns were more likely to be male, white and have male children. Mothers and families with younger children were most likely to restrict toy gun play.

About 70 percent of the 900 parents and guardians surveyed felt it was never OK for a parent to let a child play with a toy gun. The survey was done in Washington, D.C. and its suburbs.

Overall, the study found the gender and age of the child, the gender of the parent and the family's race were significant factors influencing parents' attitudes about toy guns.

Some studies have concluded there is a connection between playing with toy guns and aggressive behavior. Some child health professionals advise parents to limit their children's play with toy guns.

The researchers suggest more study is needed to determine the impact of toy gun play on child behavior.

More information

Here's more about the dangers of toy guns.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, news release, Jan. 6, 2003

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