Popular toy maker, Lego, has been accused of producing “significantly more violent” products according to new research from the University of Cantebury, New Zealand.
Researchers from the university say child’s play is becoming more brutal, with a greater amount of weapons appearing among Lego’s building blocks and more war-like scenarios cropping up in its themed kits.
It’s come a long way in the last 80 years.
Initially made out of wood, the small plastic pieces are part of a global enterprise that forms one of the world’s largest toy manufacturing companies.
The original interlocking brick was launched in 1958 and provided you with a unique and unlimited number of building possibilities. It was credited with enriching game play for children because it got your imagination going.
However, lead writer Christoph Bartneck says the toys you grew up with are no longer as innocent, and perhaps that makes them less appropriate for today’s youth.
“The increasing violence in Lego products seems to have gone beyond simply enriching game play,” Bartneck says.
“The Lego company often claims that their violence normally happens within a humorous context, yet the results show that humorous is the least likely atmosphere. Material harm is the most frequent consequence of violence acts followed by mild harm or injuries.”
The research points to the increasing number of themed Lego sets making their way onto the market. Think Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, but Lego’s head of marketing in Australia and New Zealand says this only covers a small amount of the types of play available through the toy maker.
“Conflict play is a natural part of a child’s development,” Troy Taylor says.
“The reason for the use of weapons and conflict must be founded on a greater overall purpose within the complete story line of a specific theme, for example as part of a struggle to save the world.”
Whatever happened to good old cowboys and indians?