Remembering Toys, how they changed and what they say about us
By Justin Wang
The toy it can just be something given to children on Christmas time, something wanted or unwanted. Or it can be a reflection of the root desires of the human mind: the desire to be entertained. The significant nature of how we fill that desire is shown quite clearly in how we play or remember toys.
With new advancements in technology like the internet leading to easy access to media designed for children, the toys children play with has changed and there we see a part of human psychology that has wide-reaching implications.
Toys have come in a variety of forms and throughout history there have been toys that require less imagination than others, ones that are more games or media than toys, and kids may be gravitating more towards the less imaginative side of the spectrum when it comes to toys.
These days, the trend is for a child to have a focused interest on a few specific brand of toys, but not a lot of a variety of different random toys; the reason being the recent ease of access to entertainment on demand.
This trend has a lot of implications and shows how people, at the root level, often desire convenience over quality.
To try to see if that patterns holds true for students here at PHHS, I conducted interviews, asking people what toys they played with or did own, and I found recurring elements and patterns in the type of toys they had.
“I had a freaking Buzz Lightyear, bro,” said junior Matthew Cruz, started off an interview.
“I have no idea,” Matthew responded when I asked about what other toys he remembered.
“I think it was purely Legos and stuffed animals,” said Matthew after a few moments of recollection.
“No, I did not.” said Matthew after I pressed him for any other toys he may have had like the Furby, Tamagotchi, slinky, or a pop-up flipping frog toy.
“Yes I did, but I primarily used Legos. For all cases I used Legos.” said Matthew after I decided to ask if he had an Etch A Sketch.
Near the conclusion of our interview, I asked about Beyblades and Matthew said “Beyblade, yes, I had a lot of. A lot of Beyblade.”
Beyblade being a spinning top toy played with various types of tops, usually metal and plastic.
For the most part Matthew exemplified picture of children having a lot of toys specifically from franchises like Lego or Beyblade, but had little interest elsewhere.
It was not just a one-time case either.
“I played with Beyblades, B-Daman, Bakugan. I’ve had a slinky, I wouldn’t really consider it a toy, really; I just kind of tangled it and like left it alone.” said junior Justin Hong, Bakugan being a toy and card game.
“I did not have a Rubix Cube, I did not have a kendama. I did not have a Buzz Lightyear. I did not have a Thomas,” said Justin responding to my questions.
Here too I saw specific areas of interest in game like toys like Beyblade or Bakugan with little interest elsewhere.
Beyblade, Bakugan, Legos all toys which don’t often involve imagining or interacting with a character.
For me at least, I watched a lot of Youtube and played a lot of games so I went with the more convenient form of play, one that takes less imagination and effort, available with minimal movement.
Convenience dominates our lives, and even now it is harming us, most people know they have insecure passwords, they know that they probably should have read all those terms of service, yet they don’t do anything about it.
We risk and sacrifice security, privacy and safety for small conveniences.
But that’s just now, we must think of what happens when technology advances to the point where what we can be sacrificing is liberty, individuality or free thought, whether that be by A.I. robots, the ability to read thoughts, change thoughts or what else.
I’m not saying that such a grim future is guaranteed, what I am saying is that we must tread carefully and we must not lose sight of the downfalls and benefits of convenience, else we might be end up being more observers than controllers of our own lives.
But people didn’t always value things like freedom or privacy, there is evidence that modern privacy is a relatively recent concept; perhaps everything that we value is just a product of our specific time.
I have doubts that we’ll maintain even a sense of value in being well-fed, some today people will forego meals if they find it inconvenient, much like sleep.
So perhaps sacrificing what we value isn’t such a bad thing because we’ll just change our values.
Maybe we should all just get over it and move away from toys, keep that password, let your thoughts be controlled or get rid of emotions; after all, emotions can be rather bothersome, thinking is rather inconvenient, a password can be hard to remember and it’s easier to watch than to play.