It’s time to stop playing around and fight back.

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated God’s coming to earth, the focal point of history. Hundreds of thousands of children throughout America woke up on Christmas morning and ran excitedly to see what surprises had been left under the tree.

To celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, they opened Rambo dolls, G.I. Joes, and a wide variety of other war toys. In fact, the National Coalition on Television Violence reports a 600 percent increase in war toy sales over the last three years. Four of the top five toy lines major in violence, each promoted by its own TV cartoon show. A typical war cartoon averages 41 acts of violence each hour with an attempted murder every two minutes.

Mass exposure to violence is not limited to children, however. On any night of the week, in the comfort of our living rooms, we can—and many of us do—spend an evening witnessing all manner of rapes, murders, and thuggings. The advent of cable television has brought an even greater assortment of graphically violent acts to our fingertips.

As one would expect, researchers disagree on the behavioral effects of exposure to violence. Some say that playing with violent toys is a natural part of a child’s development. But others, including Dr. Arnold Goldstein, director of the Center for Research on Aggression at Syracuse University, disagree. Goldstein claims that it “increases the risks that children are going to use aggression in real-life.… The violent toys serve as a way of rehearsing the violent behavior seen on television.”

At the minimum we can say that war toys, and TV and film violence, affect us in different ways, depending largely on each person’s psychological and moral make-up. We can be thankful that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Issue: