LEGO today has launched a new kid-focused social network called LEGO Life that uses an iOS or Android app for access. From the press release below, and the video, it seems that LEGO has taken some serious steps into considering the safety of children using the network. It still seems like a very challenging space to be in, but potentially lucrative for the brand as kids get even more invested.
LEGO Group Launches LEGO® Life, a Safe Social Network for Kids Under 13
– LEGO Life Extends Play Through an Evolving Community of Inspiration that Adheres to the Highest Standards for Child Safety Online –
– New LEGO Emoji Keyboard and Themed Feeds Innovate on the Best of Today’s Social Network Features to Allow Kids and Tweens to Share and Communicate with Thousands of Other LEGO Fans –
BILLUND, Denmark (January 31, 2017) – Building on its experience with nurturing communities and extending its expertise in developing quality, child-friendly digital play experiences, The LEGO Group today announced the launch of LEGO® Life, a safe social network for kids under the age of 13. The app-centered digital experience allows young LEGO builders of all levels and interests to connect with a community of like-minded peers to express their creativity, share their LEGO creations, interact with LEGO characters, and inspire one another. The experience launches today in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland, with additional markets launching in 2017 and 2018.
“The LEGO Group aims to develop digital experiences that complement and enhance LEGO play,” said Rob Lowe, head of LEGO Life. “LEGO Life creates a platform that amplifies the joy of building and pride of creation that kids experience with tactile play through the digital world in a safe way – further unleashing creativity among kids and tweens on a much broader scale.”
LEGO® Life Increases the Sociability and Personalization of LEGO Play
LEGO Life bridges physical and digital play experiences, innovating on the best of today’s social network features to add a social layer to LEGO play. After seeing millions of kids share their pride of creation in the “Cool Creations” section of LEGO Club Magazine and use LEGO.com message boards to share stories and photos about LEGO building, a richer, more dynamic social media platform such as LEGO Life is a natural next step in the evolution of LEGO community engagement.
“LEGO Life provides the platform where kids and tweens can take their LEGO creations and stories and give them the audience they deserve,” added Lowe.
The LEGO Life app lets kids personalize their LEGO experience through direct interaction with their favorite LEGO characters, exclusive content, an in-depth 3D LEGO minifigure avatar creator, and fun building inspiration and challenges. LEGO Life also introduces a custom LEGO Emoji Keyboard with which kids and tweens can communicate about what they create in LEGO form, as well as comment on what their peers share.
“LEGO bricks are already established as a global visual language that kids understand and use to express themselves,” explained Lowe. “The LEGO Emoji Keyboard takes this personalization one step further with a keyboard of recognizable emojis augmented by stickers and phrases that let kids engage safely within LEGO Life.”
According to global research that informed the development of LEGO Life, 90 percent of kids surveyed are aware of emojis and their use in communication. When asked if they use emoji icons, approximately 40 percent of kids said “yes.” By infusing a LEGO look and feel into familiar emoji vernacular, the LEGO Emoji Keyboard helps kids and tweens inspire and support each other even though their spelling and typing skills may be still developing.
LEGO® Life is a Constantly Growing Source of Inspiration
Similar to mainstream social media platforms, LEGO Life delivers a newsfeed customized to user preferences. The app encourages kids and tweens to identify and “follow” topics of interest so that their feed is populated with relevant images, challenges and more. For example, kids can choose to follow groups dedicated to certain animals, vehicles, heroes, specific LEGO themes, seasonal programs or regional topics that they find most relevant.
Additionally, LEGO Life provides kids and tweens with inspiration and mentorship in fun and engaging ways. LEGO Master Builders will share creations and issue a variety of building challenges within LEGO Life to encourage building and sharing among the community. Characters such as Master Wu from LEGO NINJAGO, Emma from LEGO Friends and LEGO BATMAN™ will share building inspiration and will appear within the app to comment on member builds. New features will be continually added to the experience.
As the network grows and expands, users will find other ways to customize their LEGO experience, such as earning rewards for their engagement in LEGO activities and the ability to inventory their LEGO collection, among many other things. LEGO Life will also be available through many other LEGO touchpoints to enable as many LEGO fans as possible to experience its potential.
LEGO® Life is Safe and Secure
LEGO Life is a safe social network for kids under 13. It is designed to be a child’s first digital social experience, taking users by the hand and introducing them to some of the core concepts of a social network, all through the trusted values associated with the LEGO brand. As detailed in the Digital Safety section of LEGO Life, participants’ safety is assured in several ways.
No Personal Information
LEGO Life prevents kids from sharing personal information, images, or anything that could allow users to identify and locate one another. For example, when a user creates an account, he or she uses the random name generator to create a silly 3-word mix for a display name, such as “DukeCharmingShrimp” or “ChairmanWilyDolphin.” In place of real or facial photos for LEGO Life profiles, users create their avatar by selecting the LEGO minifigure or minidoll of their choice, adding clothing, hair and more to create their virtual persona.
All content and comments on LEGO Life are monitored by LEGO employees who specialize in moderation to ensure that it is LEGO Life-appropriate and child-friendly. All moderators go through brand and child safety training, and the moderation team is located in LEGO offices around the world to ensure quality, always-on service. Use of the LEGO Emoji Keyboard replaces actual text when commenting on user-generated content. Commenting is tightly controlled and pre-moderated while emoji comments are post-moderated, keeping communication simple, universal, positive and fun.
Adherence to the LEGO Safety Pledge and UNICEF Standards
The LEGO safety pledge is a method for parents to talk to their children about digital safety while establishing a shared commitment to ground rules for online social behavior, and LEGO Life policies and procedures adhere to these ground rules. Additionally, LEGO Group has an ongoing partnership with UNICEF through which the company received guidance as to how to ensure child safety in developing LEGO Life. UNICEF and LEGO Group also partnered to develop a tool which enables companies to assess their current efforts around children’s digital safety.
LEGO Life may be downloaded for free beginning today in the App Store for iOS devices and at Google Play for Android devices.