Twenty years ago, Lego(s) were just brick patterns used to make various characters, buildings and what not, but now there are Lego movies, video games as well as books. To add to all this, Lego creators have come up with a social network for kids — Lego Life.
The Lego Life app is available for download at Google Play Store as well as Apple’s App Store for free and is 100% free to use too. The app is currently available in a few countries — US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland.
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By the looks of it, the social network for kids borrows heavily from photo sharing app Instagram and looks like its Lego version.
The app is a way for kids to share their creations online with other Lego fans as the company aims to build a social media network for kids below 13 years of age, protecting them from the creepy internet as well as allowing them to share and watch everything that says Lego.
“You will be able to like and comment, save your favourite pictures, videos and apps, see the challenges you have signed up for and completed, create and customise your own avatar, share your creations with other Lego fans around the world,” their website states.
The app has all the social media requisites such as user profile, news feed and the ability to comment on and like other users’ posts as well, but it has been designed specifically keeping in mind to build a safe environment for kids.
How is Lego Life Safe?
To sign up for Lego Life, kids need to obtain the permission of their parents to join, by providing their email address, where a separate confirmation is sent. While this isn’t a foolproof plan, as a tech-savvy kid can easily beat them to this, the real safe ecosystem starts after one has registered.
New users are given anonymous usernames, which are randomly generated by an automated algorithm. Users then have to customise their own mini-Lego figurines using the app, which will be displayed as their profile picture.
To keep the user uploaded content safe for kids was a tricky part, but Lego has partnered with a content moderation company — Crisp — which screens every single image before it’s uploaded to the site via algorithms as well as human intervention.
Lego keyboard has also been incorporated within the Lego Life app, which allows users to comment on posts using Lego emojis only — no text comments are allowed inside the app.
Other than that, the company isn’t rolling out a chat window inside the app, until it comes out with a way to ascertain that two persons in contact know each other.
Needless to say, since Lego has built a platform where it will potentially gather millions of users, the company also markets its own products like Lego Batman or Lego Star Wars, among others to prospective buyers, which are kids — also their users.
The Loopholes in Safety
While a lot of content on the Newsfeed of users will include Lego stuff and the profile picture is a Lego-based avatar too, it is entirely possible that a selfie from a user (read: 13 years old or younger) pops up alongwith their latest creation — just to brag to their friends and establish that they really are who they claim to be during school recess hours.
Not to spoil the mood, but paedophiles are lurking on the internet in huge numbers and a social media for kids can very well turn out to be their playground if the identity of the users isn’t kept in check.
Although the app looks promising and may turn out to be a great idea for the company to centralise the Lego experience, it has a lot more work to do in order to ensure that their target users — children below the age of 13 — experience a smooth and safe environment.
The app will also be released in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months.