A hawker selling a toy gun
Buying of toy guns as Christmas presents for children is gradually becoming a common practice among parents and guardians.
This practice is, however, being discouraged by a section of the public since they believe it indirectly introduces children to violence at a tender age.
The guns which are commonly marked by hawkers on the streets are sold between GHC 3 and 15 depending on the size and its sophisticated nature.
The Deputy Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lt-Col Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, said “giving weapons as gifts to kids may have a long term negative effect on them even though the practice looks innocent.”
He said considering the number of armed robbery cases the nation is currently dealing with, a toy gun is not a suitable gift adding that it may fall in the hands of unscrupulous people who may even take advantage of it and use it to scare unsuspecting members of the public and rob them.
He said when children are introduced to such weapons at an early age, it becomes a friend to them hence in the event where a child becomes indisciplined it could be misused.
Mr. Agrgrey-Quarshie said instead of toy guns parents could buy an abacus or something more educative for their children to agitate their minds so that even after the Christmas festivities they could use it.
He said toy guns though harmless might lead to the inculcation of violence in our children when they watch the negative use of guns in movies and play with it while chasing their peers around to shoot them; it could be detrimental”.
An Administrator at the Ghana Institute of Management, Miss Eunice Opuni Darkwaah referred to the practice as unfortunate, and asked why parents will rather not buy football or pianos which will give the nation more stars in future.
She said just as constant practice of football or playing piano could make one a successful football player or musician, the practice with toy guns could also make one an armed robber in future.
She said playing with such weapons could also make the children experts in the field of attacking, intimidating and even murdering people as they constantly play with the weapons.
The Managing Director of Tropic Engineers Limited, Accra, Mr. Fred Aboagye said “when kids are exposed to weapons; it could also make them go for real weapons when they come across them with the intention that it is a toy gun and that could lead to loss of life and property.”
He said some of the toy guns looks like real ones and instead of water or funny sounds coming out of it when the trigger is pressed, it rather produces sounds like a real gun.
A freelance journalist, Ms. Afi Tetteh however said buying weapons for children as Christmas gifts could make children develop interest in joining states security agencies and so should be encouraged.
She said while calling for the ban of such playing materials and recommending learning materials, it shouldn’t be forgotten that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” adding that the public is beginning to take things too hard.