We, the taxpayer, pay Dr Christoph Barteck to play with Lego

Why are we paying (let’s be generous) our best and brightest academics to do hit jobs on corporates that are some of the most benign in the world?

All the tough problems must have been solved already then?

A favourite childhood toy may now be a source of concern for parents, after a study revealed Lego was becoming “significantly” more violent every year.

Dr Christoph Barteck from the University of Canterbury has been looking into the changes in the much-loved, building block-based product — and the findings could cause a worry or two for parents.

Lego was chosen as a case study simply because of its popularity and longevity, with early research revealing that the proportion of sets featuring some sort of weapon — such as toy knives, swords or guns — has risen considerably.

“Today, approximately 30 percent of all the sets currently in the market do contain some form of weapon,” Dr Barteck explained.

Like these?

However, he explained that there were “methodological issues” with that initial finding, as it didn’t identify exactly how the Lego pieces were being played with.

“Just because a blaster is included in the set, doesn’t actually mean that this blaster is being used a blaster [during] play. It could very well be used for something different.”

In response to the weaknesses of the first study, the research team looked at Lego product catalogues, because they include images that “show the actual sets and models in a play scenario”.

“What we could find indeed is that the number of pages [in the catalogues] that do contain some form of violence has increased significantly — and that’s actually been a very stable increase,” Dr Barteck said.

“Approximately, the likelihood that you actually observe a page with a bit of violence on it has increased by 19 percent every year.”

He said while Lego did have a policy on “conflict play”, there remains a disconnect between the company’s intentions and how the product is actually perceived.

“They have become the biggest toy company in the world, so they’re definitely doing something right — but we can also definitely see how our society has changed about what is, for us, an acceptable level of violence in toys,” Dr Barteck said.

Dr Barteck says he’s pleased with the “considerable discussion” that has emerged as a result of his team’s findings.

“It’s important that we discuss these things and make it a topic,” he said.

Picking on Lego? Really?

If they want to pick on Lego then pick on it for its OSH issues. Any parent knows that Lego is the most dangerous anti-personnel device known to man.

There is no pain like standing on a four block. If you want a burglar proof house then spread Lego around the floor under windows.

But seriously do we need to fund these wombles and their research. I bet there is plenty of saving to be had by axing research projects like this.


– Newshub


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  • JC

    You know that missing million people? Well, we killed them back in the 50s playing Cowboys and Indians with our cap guns.

    The same thing will happen with Lego if we don’t get control right now.


  • Gazza

    I knew it! It’s not Bushmaster, Glock, or Smith and Wessen…. it’s Lego that is responsible for the gun crime in the USA…… excellent lets sue them….. morons,can we stop funding these idiots please

    • Sailor Sam

      It’s not Lego that is the problem, it is all the electronic shoot and kill games.
      I await good Dr to do the research on that.

      • Gazza

        …..please, don’t give him any ideas, he will just want more money

  • RightyTighty LeftyLoosey

    Who pays for this “research”?? What child that had Lego growing up did NOT make a sword or gun out of it?

  • Quinton Hogg

    One of the first toys I remember owning was a replica ‘303. Fought some great battles in the Cowles Stadium forrest. Now my sons have an arsenal of knurf guns.

    As to lego this bloke, and i use the term in it’s widest sense, really wants to be a member of the fun police. He really should go an play with his my little pony set.

    My youngest has the lego i had when i was a kid and every month a new lego box seems to appear in his room. he’s taken over construction duties from me and now creates his own things from the vast assortment of bits that he has accumulated. some of them are better than lego things.

    The best thing about lego is that my boy sits at builds stuff for ours rather than using the ipad, ipod, lap top and sometimes all three while watching tv.

    And i have various lego injuries all of which hurt.

    • spanishbride

      The worst lego injury I sustained ( My son was a passionate lego designer, he would create from a photo not from instructions ) was when I knelt on one!

    • taurangaruru

      Toy Winchester rifle, lived in a rural location, used to slide a double happy down the barrel, wait for an approaching car & light the double happy. If the timing was spot on it would explode as the car was alongside & freak the driver out. Scarpering across paddocks was the escape route from enraged drivers. Today it would result in helicopters overhead & the armed defenders squad hunting me down. Times have changed

    • PhantomsDoc

      Hate to say it Quinton, but MLP has a dark undercurrent bent on world domination:

  • Cadwallader

    During the past weekend I predicted that an under-employed academic would criticise Joseph Parker for being a successful boxer. These claims are similar or perhaps even more outlandish. Why is this clown concerned about children’s toys when Maori children are being beaten to death?

  • geoff

    Soft research, dressed up as science, funded by the taxpayer.

    • Isherman

      What is actually the point of the ‘research’, by the good Dr’s own admission, this doesn’t take into account how its played with, just for starters. What is it being correlated too? What does this all translate to? If they don’t demonstrate what this is leading to, lets call it what it really is…subsidised Lefty PC pacifist activism.

  • Poppa

    On the radio news this morning the first article was about Auckland uni being short of cash, so they need to bring in more international students. My suggestion to make the books balance would be to e!ploy less frivolous researchers, and/or protesters like Jane Kelsey.

    • Cadwallader

      Interesting point. When does an “academic” move through the barrier to become nothing more than a protestor? Ms Kelsey is neither an academic nor an advocate for her cause, she is a rabble-rousing protestor paid for by the University…us! I’d be delighted to read her terms of tenure.

      • phronesis

        I think you will find that university academics of the activist kind can point to the statutory roll of universities as the conscience and critic of society. A once important role but unfortunately now that the lefty infiltration of the academy is complete we have con-science and socialism instead.

        • Andinz

          A great post! Love the bit about turning conscience into con-science as a feature of lefties.

  • Sally

    There is a solution to preventing Lego injuries. Lego has produced hyper padded slipper.

    • Chris EM

      Are those Lego marijuana leaves in the background?

  • socantor

    Me play too?

  • KatB

    I think they should include more knives, swords and guns in the sets, they’re not the ones that hurt when you stand on them, It’s the blocks that hurt. Of course the downfall of society has nothing to do with the breakdown of the family unit, it’s all to do with Lego. Close down Legoland now. Thank goodness somebody had the foresight to study this.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    What does our delight in the introduction of a pink lego range say about our household?

  • JEL51

    I came to the very same conclusion whilst doing the Santa run last Christmas, so can I have me a PhD too please.

  • taurangaruru

    “Conflict play” I bet the so called Dr would ban kids from playing games like cowboys & indians given half a chance

    • Old Dig

      Oh they banned those games years ago. They wont be happy until they have banned fun and imagination altogether.

  • Andinz

    With Lego you could conceivably take a sword and turn it into a ploughshare.
    I’ll bet the good doctor has some “violent” playthings in his own toybox. Look how he has turned out, notwithstanding prowess with water pistols etc. Betcha..
    Cowboys and Indians were good in the ’50’s. And I confess to practicing often with shanghais and road metal. Anybody remember?

    I think I learned to control boyhood urges well enough .. but my blood pressure does goes up when Islam is mentioned. Funny that ..

  • Aylene Price

    The children at the childcare I work at (ages 5 -9) have standard lego blocks – the boys make guns with them, or space stations, the girls make houses. There is no dangerous ‘add-on’ required from lego to make these the designs of choice.

  • Big_Al

    Good god, what a waste of taxpayers money. Nothing violent about Leggo. Any violence in our kids heads comes from all the violence that is in the video games and on our screens these days. Many can’t decipher between fiction and reality, and that’s where the main problems lie.
    What next! Go back in time and discover that Meccano sets from the 50’s and 60’s caused my generation to become violent.
    Actually, it taught us to use our creative talents to build all sorts of things, as did Leggo for later generations. To actually waste our taxpayers money on these so called “academics” to study Leggo is just beyond comprehension.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    There was hair appearing in all the usual places before I ever really got near a real rifle , under close supervision and instruction from a seasoned deer stalker grandfather. Like many a crude wooden gun was made for the battles we raged and followed our bows and arrows from our Indian days.
    The most amazing thing with Lego is although the packs have a range of what can be constructed the user often creates something of their own from imagination stimulated simply by the selection of blocks.
    This is a skill to be nurtured and will serve them well later when they can visualise something and make it from what is at hand when they are hardworking mum or dad making a home for their family.
    My boys enjoyed the bus we had near the sandpit made from a long box with a real steering wheel and column (brand new) which were rescued from where a local car maker discarded surplus components.
    Time for the trough to be replaced with spoon feeding for results based research.