Playmobil is known world-wide as one of the foremost inventors of elaborate children’s play sets. Their collection of moveable figurines and tiny accessories has helped develop children’s imaginations for nearly forty years. Now, the German toymaker is under fire for one of their newest play sets: “Bank with Safe.”
Anti-gun activists in the U.K. are calling the new play set “horrendous,” saying that it is “stimulating those imaginations in the wrong way.”
The “Bank with Safe” set — sold on Playmobil’s website for $49.99 — includes a blonde bank robber toting a handgun, a red hand bag, and dark sunglasses. The set also includes a banker, ATM machine, and tiny gold bars and cash.
The target audience of the toy are kids ages 4 to 10, so there is no blood or violence. The banker even has a strangely serene look on his face. In the advertisement, the banker is posed holding money out for the robber. The robber waits with the gun pointed at the floor, hand bag outstretched.
No police figurines are included in the set, so the poor banker is on his own. Policemen are available in another City Action set, however. Obviously, in the current climate of continual gun debate, the play set is not sitting well with certain advocacy groups in the U.K., where the toy is currently available in Britain’s Toys ‘R Us stores.
“We don’t want to be encouraging young people to look at these sorts of things. I think it is horrendous that young people are given all these images to shape them,” Danny Bryan, chairman of Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, claims. “I wonder what is going on. It is sending out the wrong message.”
Yahoo! News cites one commenter, who wrote a letter to Early Learning Centre, a popular toy shop in the U.K. that stocks the set. Paul Green writes, “How does this product reconcile with your published aim to stock ‘toys that help children get off to the best possible start?’ The best possible start in what exactly? Criminal activity? Are you planning on having a play drugs den complete with dirty syringes or a play pub complete with brawling figures with broken beer bottles and fake blood?”
But other parents don’t see the problem. Sara Kent, who lives in California with her husband and daughter, told The Inquisitr that gun violence isn’t something that begins with toys, but with parenting:
“From my personal point of view I see nothing wrong with the toy. It’s our jobs as parents to in still a knowledge of gun safety with our children. In my house my daughter plays with fake swords and guns. If letting her play with toy that involves a gun or any sort of weapon makes her think its okay to harm someone with the real thing, I’d take that as a parenting failure on my part for not telling her what damage the real thing could do!”
Others feel that it’s better to let kids to their own imagining, instead of putting toys in their hands that suggest violence. Tara Yaws, mother to 6-year-old Peyton and 4-year-old Dylan, said she wouldn’t buy the set for her sons. “I don’t like realistic violent play and crime play,” says the mother of three. “I don’t it when they shoot pretend to shoot guns at people. I am still getting used to how boys play and they do play in a much rougher way.”
She adds, “It is a hard spot with their toys, but I suppose you have to choose what you as a parent are comfortable with.”
What do you think about Playmobil’s new “Bank with Safe” set?