Christians inspect Toys R Us
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) members and supporters have formed a Citizen Inspection Team to conduct a public security
inspection of a Chicago Toys R' Us store in response to concerns that violent toys and video games pose a security risk to our communities.
"Research shows that children learn through play," said Chief Inspector, Rich Meyer (Millersburg, IN). "When children play at violence, they learn violence."
Inspectors dressed in lab coats and hard hats carried out simultaneous inspections in the video game and action figure aisles of the store, documenting the presence of violent toys. They posted warning labels on toy weapons and action figures that glorify war--including tanks, attack helicopters, missile launchers, GI Joe and other warrior dolls--to alert shoppers that "Violent Toys Teach Violence."
Another team of inspectors cordoned off the store's video game section with yellow caution tape and a sign reading, "DO NOT ENTER: Inspection in Progress." Team members documented the "M" rated games ("Mature - not appropriate for children 17 and under") present in the store, paying special attention to "first-person shooter" games. They also noted that some of the objectionable games were displayed very low on the shelves at eye level for small children.
The inspection team then met with store managers, issuing them a "Report of Findings and Citation of Remediation" which recommended the removal of violent toys from the store's inventory. Managers responded by saying that all policy decisions are made at the corporate level and that they had no authority to make changes.
Outside, supporters of the inspection stretched caution tape across the store entrance and held signs that said, "Warning: Inspection in Progress" and "Violent Toys Teach Violence." In a press conference outside the store, inspectors reported their findings to the media and expressed basic concerns about the effects of violent play.
"Toys R Us has the opportunity to become a more responsible corporate citizen by embracing the United Nations 'Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World' (2001 2010) and refusing to market violence as entertainment to children in our communities," they said.
CPT is encouraging supporters to contact Toys R Us corporate offices regarding their promotion of violence as fun: (USA) 973-617-5900. The visual materials (warning labels, citation, leaflet, etc.) that were used in this public witness will be available on CPT's website: www.cpt.org.