- Children are being banned from playing with toy weapons at childcare centres
- Crackdown comes due to fears fake guns could encourage violent behaviour
- Psychologists say there is no evidence that toy guns lead to violent conduct
Children may be banned from playing with toy guns, fake plastic swords and even Lego due to fears they encourage violent behaviour.
Games such as ‘cops and robbers’ and mock bows and arrows could be barred at preschools as childcare centres try and stamp out what they believe is ‘violent’ behaviour.
Australian Childcare Alliance NSW president Lyn Connolly said children who want to make a gun from Lego blocks should be told ‘how they can hurt people’.
Ms Connolly told the Daily Telegraph that the potential effects of guns should be discussed with children.
The Australian Childcare Alliance will survey its 1,600 childcare centres for policies regarding toy weapons.
Ms Connolly said early childcare centres usually have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to fake weapons.
Child psychologist Dr Justin Coulson said there is no evidence playing with toy guns has an impact on behaviour.
‘Even if we were to ban guns, kids will find other things to use if they want to play a ‘goodies versus baddies’ game.
While I personally don’t like it when kids play with replica guns and I have a personal and moral distaste, there is no evidence to suggest it causes any problems.’
Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the NSW state government was able to take action against childcare providers that used toys which could pose a safety threat.
Australian Childcare Alliance vice president Nesha Hutchinson said children in rural areas often used toy guns as a teaching tool.
They would often have seen their parents using real weapons on farms, she said.
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