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Your Innocent Little LEGOs Are Not What They Used To Be Back In Your Day

One of your most important jobs as a parent is making sure your kid doesn’t turn into a violent human being. It’s the reason you won’t let them play Grand Theft Auto V until they’re at least 4-years-old. But now there’s another surprising pastime that might be encouraging the same thing, and it’s … LEGOs? That can’t be right.

Sadly, it’s true. Those plastic blocks could be sending a more aggressive message to your youngster, according to a recent study published in PLOS OneResearchers first looked at how many LEGOs were weapon bricks (axes, swords, guns, trebuchet, etc.). They got their data from BrickLink, a catalogue of every LEGO released by the company since they started making them in 1949, because nerds. They didn’t start making “weapons bricks” until 1978, but since then the proportion of weapons to non weapons bricks has grown by 7.6 percent annually. By 2014 the number of sets that included weapons grew to 30 percent, but you were too worried about your kids swallowing them to notice. Researchers also had 20 individuals rate the level of violence in 20 catalog images of fully constructed sets, and they associated them with violence 80 percent of the time. Of course, maybe they just hate LEGOs.

Overall, the research shows a possible relationship between weapons in movies like Star Wars, which are then turned into LEGOs products, in addition to an increase in violence to compete with other forms of entertainment. However, they did not look at, or find any correlation between, playing with LEGOs and violent behavior in kids or adults. So make a note not to freak out. Christoph Bartneck, one of the authors of the study, recommended throwing out the instructions and letting them make something more creative than the weapon they’re supposed to be. You could also try selling them for a pretty penny online. But more likely you’ll just hide them in your office — you bought that Millennium Falcon for yourself, anyways.

[H/T] The Atlantic