Should Kids Play With a Nerf Gun That Shoots 68 mph?

Toy giant Hasbro has come up with a new way to drive parents crazy – and potentially cause a lot of harm – by introducing a Nerf gun that shoots at 68 miles per hour.

The huge new Rival blaster was announced at the Toy Fair in New York City earlier this month and will shoot balls made of a squishy, bouncy Nerf material, according to a story on The Verge.

Hasbro apparently claims that the balls won’t cause welts or other injuries. The toy weapon will require two-handed operation and will be priced at $69.99 when it becomes available this fall, The Verge reports.

Almost every parent I know hates Nerf guns – myself included. Yet they manage to find their way into our homes at one point or another thanks to well-meaning friends or family who think the toy weapons will make a great gift for a kid.

“Boys will be boys, right?” is frequently asked when any hesitation arises about the potential danger or negative messages sent by encouraging this type of play.

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If you ask me, parents shouldn’t let their kids use any toy guns – Nerf or not. They encourage violent play, romanticize and normalize dangerous weapons and in at least one tragic case, they can look too realistic and end up getting your child killed. But we’ll leave the overall discussion of toy guns for another day.

According to TechnoBuffalo, Nerf’s new Rival blasters that will shoot at super speeds are the KHAOS MXVI-4000 and the ATLAS XVI-1200.

We weren’t at Toy Fair and haven’t had the chance to see the new Nerf guns, but they sure sound dangerous. If other Nerf guns aren’t as powerful – one informal experiment showed that a different Nerf model fired around 30 miles per hour – then we can only imagine how painful it would be to get shot with this thing.

My nephews have gone through a few similar versions and it always ends the same – the toys are taken away shortly after they arrive when one or both brothers end up with welts on their backs.

Any toy could be dangerous, of course, and kids could use a less overtly-threatening toy to inflict the same terror on their siblings or pets. But this type of toy is specifically intended to be aimed and shot at someone or something, and I don’t know any kids who wouldn’t test their limits by trying it out on a person. Sure, maybe kids are only supposed to shoot at specified, non-human targets, but tell that to this boy who faces permanent vision loss thanks to a Nerf gun dart to his eye. Increasing the speed at which these toys fire darts or balls – no matter what they’re made of (and we’d love to know more about the claim that they won’t cause injury) – seems like it would only make these types of incidents happen more frequently.

And as for the kids who accidentally cause those permanent injuries to their friends or family members? They’ll probably be filled with guilt, yet they won’t really be to blame. Children aren’t meant to hold a toy weapon in their hands that shoots at 68 miles an hour. It’s up to parents to give them appropriate toys to play with – and we also expect a little better judgment from modern toy companies.

Hasbro makes so many great toys for kids but their Nerf line is clearly headed in the wrong direction.

What do you think of a Nerf gun toy that shoots at 68 miles per hour? Would you let your child play with it? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy The Verge

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