Grave psychological threat

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 December, 1998, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Machine-sold toys a hazard to youngsters' (South China Morning Post, December 14).

Apart from the small and dangerous toys mentioned in the report which children can get from vending machines, I am also concerned about violent toys, which can have a long-term, adverse effect on young people.

Toys play a vital and prominent role in the development of a child, so we must keep a close eye on what they are playing with.

Children love video games and the most popular one at the moment is very violent. In it the players compete against each other, trying to 'kill' each other on screen. They are supposed to find this enjoyable. There is another game, where the players have to overcome various obstacles and eliminate enemies, in order to get hold of treasure.

Such games are violent and encourage aggressive behaviour. Also, children are always playing with guns and swords.

A child starts learning about life from birth. The toys with which he plays exert a strong influence on him. If he indulges in violent and aggressive games, he will accept violence as a means of dealing with problems. This could have serious repercussions as he grows up.

We humans share some common character traits with animals and we sometimes use violence to achieve our goals.

However, we claim that we are civilised and try to replace violence with such things as negotiation and compromise.

Society tries hard to educate the next generation to grow up to be civilised and reasonable. By contrast, toy manufacturers go on producing and selling violent toys, which can cause irreparable psychological damage to our children.

Our government, in common with all democratic governments, should take care of the welfare of the majority of its people. The manufacture of violent toys should be restricted and strictly controlled. Educational toys such as stuffed animals and toy bricks should be encouraged.

With the co-operation of toy manufacturers, parents and teachers, children can be decent and gentle.

For the sake of our future generation, we must stop violent toys from flooding the Hong Kong market.

We do not want our children to grow up having a distorted concept of life.