The Lego Arms Race: Building a more violence-prone society?

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Yes. It’s a slow news day for me:

New Zealand researchers say bricks with weapons have steadily become more commonplace and are now included in 30% of Lego kits.

The study said Lego reflected a broader trend in children’s entertainment.

Lego says weapons are always used for a wider purpose such as saving the world, and are part of a child’s development.In a peer-reviewed study published by the online journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the University of Canterbury concluded that Lego “showed significant exponential increases of violence over time”, with a higher proportion of weapons appearing among Lego’s building blocks and themed kits.

Lego’s first weapons were issued in 1978 when a castle kit included swords, axes and lances.

“The Lego company’s products are not as innocent as they used to be,” lead researcher Christoph Bartneck said.

“The violence in Lego products seems to have gone beyond just enriching game play,” he added.

An analysis of Lego catalogues from 1973 to 2015 found the scenarios depicted had also become more violent, with 40% of all pages containing some type of violence such as shooting or threatening behaviour.

Ridiculous for
1. That there is anything wrong with fantasy toy weapons.
2. The biased research.

Since 1978, aside from “swords, axes, lances, guns,” you know what else has increased? All sorts of minifigure accessories like food items, kitchen utensils, farming tools, etc. The Lego universe has simply evolved and expanded with a larger choice of specialized pieces over the decades.

Duh.

Legos haven’t simply gotten “more violent”. They’ve gotten “more everything”. Lots of themes and pieces that didn’t exist in previous decades.

Back “in the old days”, we simply had to use the bricks to build our own weapons.

Brickgun_-_Python_357_Anim_w_Title

Image source for the gif.

Remember when a 6 year old caused an “uproar” when he “brandished” a Lego gun aboard the school bus? To recap, here’s the gun:

Tiny weapon: A 6-year-old kindergarten student was slapped with detention for bringing this Lego gun, which is only slightly larger than a quarter, on a school bus

Tiny weapon: A 6-year-old kindergarten student was slapped with detention for bringing this Lego gun, which is only slightly larger than a quarter, on a school bus

Scary, scary stuff. The hyperventilating fear-mongering from the PC left, I mean.

Lego play isn’t making kids any more violent by acting out fantasy fights with brick pieces. In the absence of toy weapons, kids will use anything, from pop tarts down to shaping their hand and finger into a gun in order to play cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys.

Another “peer reviewed study” could find Legos have gotten more feminized, with sets that didn’t also exist in 1978:

disney princess

Of course, this still doesn’t make the perpetually offended happy.

In an act of full disclosure: I love Legos. I still collect certain sets to this day and it’s the one toy from my childhood that I still have kept. This includes hand me down pieces from the 60s.

Here are a few pix from my violent collection:

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9 Responses to “The Lego Arms Race: Building a more violence-prone society?”

  1. 1

    James Felix

    Since 1978, aside from “swords, axes, lances, guns,” you know what else has increased? All sorts of minifigure accessories like food items, kitchen utensils, farming tools, etc.

    And obesity has increased during that same period. Coincidence? I think not. Clearly we’re all just taking our marching orders from our Lego overlords.

  2. 2

    John

    OMG!!
    Detention will he survive ? Give him a hug Wordsmith
    Do you also think 18yo boys should be allowed to bring their rifles to school ?’at least during deer season?
    As for the Cowboys and Indians ??? I think that stopped decades ago
    Maybe Americans and Muslims?

  3. 4

    Artfldgr

    @John: Do you also think 18yo boys should be allowed to bring their rifles to school ?’at least during deer season?

    why not.. since 18 year olds are not boys, they are men… which is why they have to register for the draft, and can fight in wars… other than socialists, most political groups dont draft or conscript children…

    you realize before the liberation and socialism a kid could order a 410 shotgun from a comic book and could do just what you said? not just Dasy bb guns… and a real kid, you know… 10, 11, 12.. not a young man you call boy…

    and if it wasnt for playing with explosives we would never have the Goddard Space institute…

    by the way, when guns were too expensive, dynamite was the choice…
    study history… not propaganda…

    guns are objects… objects do nothing…
    its people who use objects that decide what to do
    and unless you want to also remove machine shops, lathes, milling machines, and high school shop classes, your not going to do a thing about guns except increase the offerings of the south american drug cartels, who would be happy to sell hand grenades and ak47 rifles once all guns are illegal…

    you would also have to close all lowes stores, plumbing stores, and even home depot…they all have the parts you can use to make a gun… duh… look up zip gun

  4. 5

    Nanny G

    Thank goodness for the pink Legos!
    Otherwise we might be in for a Legogate version of Gamergate.
    And we don’t want that.
    I was pre-Lego.
    I worked with Erector Sets which had motors so you could turn on your Ferris wheel.
    But I have been amazed by what people do with Legos.
    Leave the Lego sets alone!
    Let people buy them according to what they want to do, be it building castles and moats and set trebuchets against it.
    A Lego kitchenette sounds like a little one’s dream.

  5. 7

    Nanny G

    @Artfldgr: Look up Sten gun.
    Its the gun you can make in your garage if you have a way to weld.
    And, boy did the allies make a lot of them during WWII.
    Not just the Brits, who came up with the plan, but also the Danish, French and Norwegians and Polish.
    Some right under the noses of the Nazis who were occupying the areas.

  6. 8

    Oblamo binLyen

    The lace panty wearing deviants on the left would go into shock if they saw my young grandkids with their AR’s. I grew up, got lucky on that one, making explosives and igniting hydrogen balloons at night in the air and making my own rockets.

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