The “Lego Rule” of children and play and violence and war and…

Do you like to play video games? I know I do! In fact, Michelle (wife) actually  bought me an XBOX for my birthday when she was pregnant so I would have something to do in the evenings when she was in bed by 8:00. So for all of you fellow geek dads out there who still love to play video games and have kids who will no doubt want to follow in your footsteps one day, this one is for you! And really it’s for everyone because I think there’s a lot of merit to the “Lego Rule”.

This is one small section from a Wired article I just read and I highly recommend reading the entire article. The following is my favorite part:

From the Wired article: Games without frontiers
Commentary by  Clive Thompson

070×070_logo.gif“The Lego Company, it seems, has a policy of not producing toys that replicate 20th century weapons. “You can have swords, and you can have laser guns in space, but no actual 20th century guns,” Anderson says. So his four children can play games like Halo, since it contains only futuristic, fantasy war, where you’re killing only green- or blue-blooded aliens. The same goes for Roman swordplay titles. “But it clearly walls off Grand Theft Auto.

Thompson went on to say,

I e-mailed Lego’s spokesman Michael McNally, and he confirmed the company’s Solomonic logic. Lego, he wrote, agrees thathitman-blood-money.jpg good-versus-evil combat “is at the root of children’s play scenarios, and we believe is an important part of a child’s exploration of the world.” But they don’t want it infecting the children’s perception of the real world around them, so the solution is to place it decisively in the realm of fantasy.

<Click here to read the full article>

I couldn’t agree more, and maybe this is also a great rule for all kinds of play. Regardless of whether we’re talking about video games or cops and robbers, I truecrime_twoguns.jpgbelieve whole-heartedly that kids should be encouraged to play. And I for one will always encourage my daughter to explore, learn, take risks, fall down, scrape a knee, wipe it off, get back up, figure things out, and otherwise learn to think creatively and problem solve. And I’ll encourage her to also do silly things that are completely useless, like learn to ride a unicycle or walk on stilts – because its fun (and I will not forbid it because I’m secretlyclown_on_unicycle.gif worried that these activities may encourage her to join the circus later in life – not that there’s anything wrong with that).

And even though I have a daughter who may not necessarily grow up wanting to play games like Dead to Rights or Hitman, if she does, I think the ‘Lego Rule ‘is definitely the model I would use in deciding which games I wanted her to play. I mean WE. This is definitely the model WE (Michelle and I) would use in deciding which games to let our daughter play…if Michelle agrees with the model that is…


3 thoughts on “The “Lego Rule” of children and play and violence and war and…

  1. I’ve always been a gamer, and it’s hard to pick out what is OK and not ok when my stepson visits. He’s 10, and getting his paws off our copies of more violent games is pretty easy; I just tell him that’s daddy’s game and you can play it when you get older.

    We have both a PS2 and an XBOX in the living room with loads of games, and he picked out the Simpsons Hit and Run on his own on Sunday morning.

    I find that there are also family friendly alternatives that are fun for both parties (Psychonauts, for instance) and you’ve gotta love Lego Star Wars!

  2. Great post and blog. I, too, am a video game and tech freak. . . too the point that I think I play Play Station more than my 6-year-old son. I limit his video games to fantasy (darkest faery, spiro, etc.). Since I am divorced, however, I can not monitor what he’s playing at all times. I know that his mother lets him play games that are rated “T.” I’ve talked to him about it, explained why I would prefer that he not play them, and spoken with his mother.

    What’s really sad (or good depending on how you look at), is he always tells on himself. He knows that it’s not what he should be doing. Oh well, I do what I can.

    Thanks again for the great post.

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