LEGO Life: What is it and how can children use it safely?
Back in February 2017 the LEGO Group launched LEGO Life, a social network aimed at children under the age of 13.
Extending its expertise in developing quality, child-friendly digital play experiences, the app gives users the ability to upload images of creations they have made out of LEGO and comment on pictures other users have shared.
Letting peers know you like their creation can be done through clicking the heart button underneath the image, a feature similar to social network Instagram, whilst commenting is done through LEGO’s custom emoji keyboard.
Children can choose to follow their peers as well as official LEGO accounts, such as Master Wu from LEGO Ninjango, Emma from LEGO Friends and LEGO Batman.
LEGO Master Builders will share their own creations and provide a variety of building challenges within LEGO Life, to help inspire and encourage children to put down their device and go off and build a creation, which they can later share within the community.
How can children stay safe when using the app?
LEGO Life has been designed to provide children with their first digital social experience, introducing users to the concepts of a social network, through the trusted values associated with the brand.
The LEGO Group recognise the importance of protecting children when online and implement several ways in which to keep participants safe, details of which can be found on their website.
In order to sign up to the app, users need a LEGO ID. For those users under the age of 13 a parent’s email address is required for approval.
To keep the real identities of young people hidden, LEGO will never ask participants’ for personal information such as their full name, address, age, etc and instead provide account usernames which have been randomly generated using 3 words.
Users are then asked to create a ‘LEGO Mini-me’ to display as their profile picture instead of uploading a real photograph.
To ensure that LEGO Life remains appropriate and child-friendly, all contents and comments are monitored by LEGO employees who specialise in moderation. In order for images to be approved, users must ensure their pictures:
- Are age-appropriate
- Don’t show real people
- Are LEGO-related
- Don’t link off to other websites
Tips and Advice
It’s important to understand that although LEGO Life is aimed at younger people, there are no restrictions on anyone over the age of 13 joining the app, therefore parents and carers must be aware that adults could also potentially be using the social network.
Children must be aware of anything which may be included in a picture that could give away personal information, for example their name, location, or even their school logo.
The app provides an ideal opportunity for parents and carers to discuss the importance of online safety and highlight how sharing personal information online can put them at risk.
Enabling comments through emoji’s as opposed to actual text helps to encourage simple, fun and positive communication throughout the online community, however there may be instances where the young individuals dislike a comment they have seen or received.
In these cases a reporting flag can be found in the top right of the screen for them to use. The LEGO ID Pledge is a great way to open up dialogue and talk to children and young people about digital safety.
The more they understand about the importance of being kind and responsible online, the better the experience they will have when using their favourite apps and services.
For more information on how to support children online, visit the Childline website: http://bit.ly/1lDZCFG