Lego Toys More Violent, Potentially Dangerous For Kids?

First Posted: May 25, 2016 04:46 AM EDT

Lego toys have ceased to become educational but more violent? According to a new study, the answer seems to be a yes. 

According to this study from New Zealand's HIT Lab at the University of Canterbury, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, toys produced by The Lego Company are not as innocent as they once were. 

The study's goal was not to determine the negative effects of the lego toys are at the present. Instead, the objective was to analyze how the popular toys have increasingly become more violent since they were launched in 1958. 

Apparently, there is  a research gap looking into this pattern and explain why toy companies will make these things designed for children become "more violent" as time goes by. "There is little research studying how violent the toys themselves have become; that is, how the toys' design might connote, encourage or depict violence, aggression or anti-social behavior," the study says.

The lead researcher, Christoph Bartneck, is also a former Lego employee. He said he felt compelled to perform the research after he observed some old Lego catalogs. Bartneck, who penned a total of eight books on these popular toys, told Mashable through email that, "My curiosity was triggered when I saw some very old Lego catalogs. Their products and the scenarios in which they were shown looked so peaceful."

in the research, Bartneck and his team carried out two investigations. First they look at the how the number of traditional lego bricks holds up to the number of weapons in sets, the number of sets that has weapons and the number of new weapons introduced yearly changed in comparison to the number of traditional bricks being introduced.

Second, they asked Lego customers how they perceive violence in the Lego toys changed through the years. 

Results showed that the number of weaponized sets and parts increased steadily since the 1980s. By 2015, roughly 30% of all Lego sets included some forms of weapon. On how people perceived the violence of the sets, results showed that the participants perceived a dramatic increase of violent imagery since the 1980s. However, most perceived that the violence can be considered "playful."

The lead researcher clarified that the research in no way posits a relationship beween the increased violence of these toys and the behavior of the children who play them. 

An editorial published by The Guardian however claimed that children often build weapons through lego so this should not be a big deal. Lego for one, keeps children's creativity flowing, amid all the online games and entertainment that children are bombarded with. 

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