Lego, it’s central to most childhoods and has certainly stood the test of time. Now Lego has embraced social networking, with the launch of the Lego Life app. The app has been developed for Android and iOS, to offer children the chance to freely express themselves and share ideas in a friendly environment, but what do parents need to know about the app to ensure that their child stays safe while using it?
This Lego Life app enables children post images of their Lego creations and comment on others creations. Children under the age of 13 will need parental consent to sign up for the app. There is however no restriction on an adult signing up to the app. There are strict restrictions too on what comments can be made via the app. Text comments aren’t allowed but users can choose from prewritten comments to post or Lego emojis and stickers. The developers of the app have joined forces with a content moderation company to bring algorithmic detection to the platform to ensure every uploaded image stays faceless, and strictly Lego related. Instead of images to identify users, Lego avatars will be used. Another way that kids using the app will be kept safe is that users won’t be asked for any personal information and there will be no tracking enabled in the app so the location of a user will not be identified. Lego is treating the development of this app as one big experiment, according to James Lema, Creative Director with Lego Life: “Sometimes you have to put things out there and be surprised, and either pivot, improve, or take down. We’re absolutely building in the ability to be surprised.” Certainly at first glance the Lego Life app prioritizes safety and parental involvement. However, even with those things in place it is always a good idea to continue to have regular conversations with your child about staying safe online.
Given the appeal of Lego among young children, it is highly likely that the Lego Life app will be used be used by children at quite a young age. If your child does start to use the app remind them of the importance of treating people the same way they would when they are online as they do when they are offline. Being kind in the emojis they may choose to comment on what others have shared. At Zeeko we have found the T-Shirt Rule to be a very effective way of making children think twice before they post something online. We encourage the children we talk to in schools that before posting anything online they should think: “Would I put this post or photo on my t-shirt so everybody can see it?” Remind your child that the online world is much bigger than they imagine and everything they post will be there for everybody to see it and cannot be easily deleted. Also, let your child know that it is ok for them to talk to you about what they experience when using this app or indeed any other, without fear of there being a negative consequence for them. Keeping the lines of communication open and having regular conversations about staying safe online will help to make sure your child is well equipped to enjoy themselves and stay safe online.