Sunday, December 15, 2013

Toys for Tots

This afternoon I was looking for stocking items at our local gift store. I happened upon the PlayMobil section. They have a massive amount of PlayMobil and my almost 6 year old is starting to like playing with these toys. I looked around to see if anything would spark my interest, but instead, I saw this toy with this caption.

"Watch out. The bank robber is after all the money in the bank and is demanding the key to the safe- what will the bank manager do? With thirty accessories like files, a computer, a safe and gold bars to create a realistic bank scene, there's plenty to do in the Playmobil bank. Insert the card into the cash machine to withdraw bank notes and open the doors of the safe to reveal the gold bullion inside.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 Not suitable for children under 4 years due to small parts.

I love that PLAYMOBIL is concerned about children possibly choking on small parts, so therefore, deeming this gun robbery scenario as not suitable for children under 4. HOWEVER, this woman, holding a gun at a bank teller, and demanding money.. perfectly suitable for your 4 year old. There are many things wrong with this product, but one that mostly struck me as horrendous was the age recommendation of 4-10. Do we really want our 4 year old children to be introduced to such things at this age. A time when they have the ability to use their imagination in a positive way. Why is there this push and need to show our toddlers violence? If you were in a bank, and a woman showed up in dark sunglasses and a gun and requested all the banks money, don't you think your child would be pretty upset? This type of imagery is unacceptable in our world of already too much violence. 

Furthermore, PLAYMOBIL is a German company.  In Germany, the German Weapons Act was put into law in 1972. It includes, and modifies, previous gun regulation laws. It regulates the handling of knives, firearms and ammunition. It is considered as one of the strictest gun laws in the world. 

However, this company felt it completely fine to make a toy like this. Shame on you PLAYMOBIL!

A little more about their philiosophy as a company.

From PLAYMOBIL'S website they state: 

"The imaginative role play opportunities integrated with a variety of historical and modern play themes is fascinating to children and highly valued by parents and educational practitioners alike."
"PLAYMOBIL®’s unique play principle stimulates imagination and creativity and thus promotes child development. With PLAYMOBIL®, children can not only slip into many different roles, but also recreate and experience the world in miniature. With multiple talents, these cheerful figures successfully overcome all kinds of challenges – as knights or pirates in historical scenarios, as construction workers, vets and police officers today, or as secret agents in futuristic worlds."

It's nice to know that this "cheerful" bank robber can successfully overcome all kinds of challenges. Too bad that the poor bank teller will probably have to spend the rest of his life in complete fear that a blonde woman with glasses could possibly hold him up at gun point again. Too bad he will have challenges in sleep and trust. Ahhh.. maybe they need to have a follow up to this toy.. I see a bank teller and a therapist!


I asked the store that I was in, "Why are you carrying this product?" The owner didn't even realize that this product was so violent. He said "they had to purchase a set" That set included a police man, the robbers, and some other police and swat figurines. After a lengthy discussion with him about how we need to protect children from this imagery and types of play at such a young age, he agreed to contact PLAYMOBIL and discuss returning these items. He also let me know that they received the item in July, and have yet to sell 1 unit. Thank you Ashlanders for not purchasing this toy!

I understand that there will be a lot of people that are completely fine with this product, but I ask "when do we draw the line?" No one wants to be held up at a bank, right? That would not be fun. When will we demand that toy makers not rip the imaginations of children and inundate them with images of violence? Will PLAYMOBIL go as far to have a school setting one day with a gunman? That sounds crazy, right? Well doesn't this seem crazy too?

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