By Anna James

Recently there has been some controversy in the media about Lego pieces becoming more violent. Personally, Lego and violence are not two things I have ever associated with each other – and to be honest, this controversy has not changed my mind. Lego has been a popular method of play since 1949. It is known for its effect in boosting creativity, developing abstract thinking, and promoting an active imagination.

There are now reports that Lego pieces are coming with more weapons and ‘becoming more violent.’ While I understand that there is no arguing a percentage increase in the number of swords or guns accompanying Lego packs, why this denotes a cause for concern is (to say the least) a wee bit farfetched – for a number of reasons;

1) Lego follows trends and topical media. In recent years there has been an influx in superhero movies – Batman, Superman, Spiderman, The Avengers, Captain America…the list goes on. Lego takes note of this and produces pieces reflecting these movies/games to increase sales. These movies all contain violence, hence explaining the increase in weapons to Lego packs. Kids who enjoy or admire these superheroes will fashion weapons out of regular Lego pieces if they want to anyway – just because a weapon is not directly placed in front of them, it will not stop them creating one. Until there is a proven link between rates of violence and an increase in a couple of weapons with Lego packs, we should just let kids keep imagining, creating and playing.

2) Think back to last Halloween. How many kids did you notice dressed up as Batman or Superman – complete with shields or swords? Is this promoting violence? What is the justification for allowing children to ‘become’ these characters, but not allowing them the opportunity to use their imagination and creative skills to build and play with these same characters? Perhaps the focus should be less on the fear that Lego packs containing more weapons might promote violent behaviour, and more on teaching children the difference between what is real and what is make-believe.

3) Putting the violence factor aside for a second – whatever the characters/pieces, Lego is a goldmine for promoting an active imagination and creativity. iPad’s, laptops and phones really aren’t. In an ever-growing technological world, shouldn’t we relish the fact that children are still excited to get involved in hands-on, practical activities such as playing with Lego? There is easy access to far more violent material on the internet – the way I see it, the only hazard we should be worried about with Lego is a choking hazard.

What’s interesting is my third point can also be related to adults (hopefully excluding the choking part). Developing creative skills and imagination is important in the workplace. Creativity is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after skills that people are looking for in their employees. With the technological world changing so rapidly, marketing campaigns and techniques are requiring more and more creative and abstract thinking. Our Lego Serious Play course is a sure-fire way to invite you up and out of your desk and get your creative confidence flowing – and perhaps also inspiring a new and improved approach to problem-solving and leadership.

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