Toys R Us in Nottingham's Victoria Centre

The US toy giants ‘Toys R Us‘ is closing its stores, is this a sign of children’s growing disinterest in physical toys, and embracing new technology?

It was revealed in September of last year that the American company filed for bankruptcy and announced the closure of hundreds of stores. Now it has become clear that all 106 of the company’s UK stores are closing, leaving more than 3,000 British workers without a job.

“A child born today, will have spent a full year staring at screens by the time they reach seven”- British Medical Journal

For more than 30 years ‘Toys R Us’ was a familiar site in high streets up and down the country, so its closure surely must say something about demands of today’s children. Physical toys, bikes, dolls and action figures can’t compete with the seemingly unlimited apps available on electronic devices.

According to the British Medical Journal’s Archives Of Disease In Childhood found that a child born today, will have spent a full year staring at screens by the time they reach seven. Increasingly parents are choosing iPads and games consoles to keep their children occupied, but can they be blamed, and is it a problem? 

Jordy Kaufman, director of BabyLab conducted a study into the effects of children’s use of tablets. He was sceptical of the criticism it receives, “one (criticism) is that they inhibit creativity, unlike blocks or Lego,” says Kaufman. “But if you look through a Lego set, that tells you exactly how to make it. I think the criticism fits a lot of the physical toys more than a tablet.”

The closing of such an iconic toy store is perhaps another example of the growing technology use in our society, in which toys are replaced by tablets.

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  • More than 3,000 UK jobs lost
  • More than 100 UK stores will close
  • Company have shown losses in 7 of the last 8 years