Southern Brisbane Nerf Club

Thursday, 5 December 2013

A email which that I got and read with my eyes.

Hi all. I get quite a bit of mail now since people got to my site (probably by accident). Most of them are questions about "which is better" or questions about commissions. And then, there was this one...



My husband just purchased two Nerf Raven Stinger blaster guns to be Christmas gifts for our 2 grandsons.....ages 5 & 6. These "toys" ,very obviously ,mimic assault weapons. Our grandsons have never played with any toy guns. I am extremely upset that he think this thing is appropriate for a young child. Children have been killed for having toy guns in public. The NRA must be getting off just knowing the youth of our country will know what a gun clip is and what it can do. Maybe the kid in Ct had a toy gun as a toddler. Just want your opinion of this Christmas present.
Thanks
A loving grandmother

And here is my response:

Hi *name with-held*,

As a father I can understand your concerns and while I enjoy Nerf blasters as a hobby, I also have very strict rules when it comes to toy guns at home.

I'm not to sure of how things work in the USA, but here in Australia the laws state that if a toy gun can be mistaken for a real one in public then the person in possession of the toy gun can be charged with firearm offences because it may instil panic and fear in other people. It is for this reason that Nerf blasters and most blasters in general are coloured brightly, to avoid this from happening. In fact, numerous Nerf Clubs (mine included) and HvZ (Humans vs Zombies, a game played with Nerf blasters) organisations will not allow any blaster if it has been painted to resemble a real firearm to be part of a game. Also, the word "gun" is generally not used to refer to a Nerf (or other branded) dart blaster. To avoid creating an "incident", they are usually referred to as "blasters" and are referred to as "blasters" on packaging.

The recommended age for blasters varies from 6-8 years old but I wouldn't buy a blaster for a child under 10. The child needs to be old enough to understand the difference between a toy and the real thing and that the real thing is possibly one of the most dangerous thing they could ever hold in their hands (hopefully they won't). I never let my kids play with the blasters without:
a. safety goggles
b. supervision

And as soon as the blaster games stop, the blasters go away and the kids don't touch them, the kids understand that the blasters are mine and not their's and if they ask to play with them and I say "no" then that's final. To be honest, I prefer the kids play with their Lego rather than my blasters.

At the same time though. Running around firing foam darts at each other is great exercise and more than once I've worked up a good sweat that I (or the kids) wouldn't have done if I (they) where sitting in front of a TV or computer.

I understand that in the USA firearms are more easy to come by than here in Australia. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the parents. It's the parent's responsibility to ensure the at the kids understand that while these are just toys, they should never, ever, play around with the real thing for obvious reasons. I hear of stories about kids shooting themselves when they've got a hold of dad's pistol and high-school shootings (something that has not happened and hope will never happen in Australia) and I think of the poor parents and it's heartbreaking. People blame violent video games, toy guns and violent TV/Movies but ultimately it's up to the parents to keep the kids on the straight and narrow. I played violent video games had toy guns and watched violent TV/Movies when I was younger and I turned out fine. I have absolutely no interest what so ever in owning a real firearm.

In regards to the Raven Stingers your husband bought. I think 5 and 6 is too young. My advice is, return them to the shop (if you can) and exchange them for something else more age appropriate. If you can't return them, hang onto them for a later Christmas or birthday and buy something else.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have any more, please ask.

Rob

I would really like to get other's opinions about this. What are your thoughts on the subject?

~ Rob

10 comments:

  1. You made the right answer. Ultimately it IS all about the parents. I played with nerf guns atarting in 2006, ( I was nine ) and turned out just fine. ages 9-10 is a perfect age to start in my opinion, and my parents made a great point to never play with the real thing. Good on ya!

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  2. Great answer, I couldn't have given a better one if I tried.

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  3. completely agree. Games and toys have basically no effect alone on a person when it comes to guns, mostly the parenting. No matter how many games, airsoft guns you have, if you have good parents there won't be an issue, while those who do none of that and have bad parents may use guns badly.

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  4. I think that is a good answer. As a Nerfer AND firearms owner, I ask my nieces, nephews, and friends to treat their blasters with a respect similar to real firearms.

    Also, parents are a huge part of young people's lives, but I have to say-- if a kid screws up, we can't blame it all on the parents. I hope that this line of thought doesn't require explanation-- making parents solely responsible for their child's behavior is fairly silly. Children are their own people, whether they understand that yet, or not.

    I've played Halo, Hitman, and other violent games, watched violent movies (though anything more gory than normal action film violence is a no-go for me), and handled toys modeled after firearms as a child. I've studied martial arts since I was seven. My dad taught me firearm safety before I ever held a real firearm (age 10-12 or so), and now I own some real firearms, too. (Including one of those so-called 'assault weapons,' which is a crock term made up by politicians, not weapon makers or owners) and never once have I ever engaged in any sort of violent encounter with anyone. Not even a shoving match or fist fight.

    I have a nephew that likes Nerf blasters, but I never let him play with modified ones. And boy, do I supervise him when he's playing.

    Teach them responsibility and safety, and playing with toy blasters and guns won't cause any issues. I particularly enjoy this article on the subject. (See below.)

    By the way, thanks for posting this and inviting discussion, S.B.N.C. I like to see people share their thoughts on issues civilly. We're all people with equally valid thoughts and emotions, after all. :)

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/banning-toy-guns-and-weapons-doesnt-help-kids-because-its-safer-to-nerf-on-our-turf/story-fni0cvc9-1226678876439

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  6. I can see why this woman was upset, and there's a lot of fear-mongering that could be blamed for these kinds of feelings, especially in the USA. I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from playing with and modifying Nerf blasters.

    Also, It's interesting from my perspective because my parents were always very much against the "toy gun" thing. It wasn't until half-way through high school that I actually got my first Nerf blaster. I agree with you completely, it is on the shoulders of the parents to instill values and morals in their children.

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  7. Amazing response! Great job. As a parent and a youth leader, this topic comes up frequently. With rules about mandatory eyewear and against recoloring blasters, what Nerf does create are teachable opportunities about the proper respect for all equipment in a fun environment. With the similarity between Nerf blasters and guns, proper gun etiquette can also be taught in a SAFE environment where the ammunition is only foam darts. The key is just what you said, responsible parenting.

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  8. I have enjoyed reading your post. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort on your blog. I appreciate your effort. Please check out my site.
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