It is well-reported teenagers experiencing anxiety and depression is on the rise.
About one in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder, and often technology and social media gets the blame.
“Kids spend too much time on their phones” is a comment teens hear on a daily basis. Yes, technology takes part in the problem. But where does this problem start?
When we are young, we are given what seems like an endless amount of toys. Toys that our parents think we might enjoy playing with. But this may just be what is making our children, in particular young girls, feel depressed.
Toys with a focus of physical appearance (for example, Barbies, Bratz, toy makeup, play jewellery) are mostly associated with girls. Talking from experience of being a girl, these toys have the potential to slowly ruin a girl’s confidence.
Dolls that wear “sexy” clothing like miniskirts and fishnet stockings give the impression to girls that the best way to look is “sexy”.
Toys with more of a violent focus (soldiers, guns, wrestlers) are more associated with boys.
With toys such as guns and other weapons young boys can start acting aggressively. Such toys can normalise violence for children.
These toys give the impression that violence is the way to get around anything.
We are taught in school about being kind to others but we are given toys long before we go to school.
Children are extremely fast learners and absorb everything around them like a sponge, especially at a young age.
Toys can also have a large impact on what children may want to do in their future. A study showed toys with a science focus are three times more likely to be targeted towards boys.
If children see advertisements on television for a specific toy, for example a plastic baby, and there are only girls playing with it; or it may be an ad for a dinosaur set, with only boys playing. what kind of message does that send to our children?