Toys Encourage Socialization

Introduction

As a child grows, they are exposed to a society that expects them to conform to the assigned gender roles and stereotypes. This is mainly done in accordance to their choice of games and toys. Toys are an integral part of our childhood. In some ways, it is the one thing that people from all over the world share in common. As children, toys were also a major source of our entertainment and social interaction as everything and anyone present around us were something we could “play with.” However, with the booming population of children and the growth of toy industry, it has resulted in commercialization of childhood. Similarly, toys have been an effective method which has been used for generations to conform children and teach
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What are the factors that push them to act, feel and think a certain way? And most importantly, how are toys encourage gender segregation and socialization? It all relates back to the basic ways that children learn during their childhood. The first way that children learn can be from direct experience. When a child is growing up, he or she is taught operant conditioning. This means that they are either punished or rewarded for their actions.For example, a girl child might be able to get some more dolls as a reward for picking sparkly and domestic things when visiting a toy store. Whereas if she were to pick a “masculine” toy, she would not get anything at all. So this way, the next time she visits a toy store, she is more likely to stick to the girls section of the store. Another way that the children learn is through observation which involves watching some one else and imitating their behavior. Children choose role models of their own sex. It is usually their mothers for girls and fathers for the boys. Thus, as they grow up, boys try to act as their father while the girls imitate their mother and develop a more “nurturing” and “domestic” side to their personality. Here, as an example, we can use the visit to the toy store, which proves that the toys for the children these days are in fact very much geared towards enhancing “adult roles” for little girls and boys who are taught what they are expected to do when they grow up. The next form of learning is symbolic learning. This type of learning is usually for older children and comes through their parents, who keep on repeating what to do and what not to do. Finally, we learn through cognitive learning.This revolves around the overall level of understanding that comes into play with age, the cognitive ability and prior information available (Scheibe,

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