Tom, an Education Officer at Childnet International, looks at the LEGO Life app to see what it offers and how children can use it safely.
LEGO have recently launched LEGO Life; a social network app aimed at children under the age of 13. On LEGO’s website parents can sign up to receive the LEGO Life magazine if their children are aged between 5 and 9 or help their children sign up to the LEGO Life app.
What can children do on LEGO Life?
LEGO Life allows users to share photos of something they have made out of LEGO and comment on photos of other peoples creations. You can also show you like someone’s content by clicking the heart underneath. Commenting is done through a series of LEGO emojis instead of text, however you are allowed to comment directly on content from the verified LEGO account.
Within the app you can follow other users and there are official LEGO accounts like LEGO Batman, Emma from LEGO Friends or Master Wu from Ninjago. Following other users can be a great way of seeing many amazing and impressive LEGO creations, and also offers a good opportunity to talk to children about the concept of ‘following’ or being followed on a network and how this allows others to see what you share and do.
Rather than using hashtags LEGO Life has several groups that you can follow or link to when sharing your latest build. These groups will then appear when you open the app or can be visited by tapping the LEGO brick on the bottom of the screen. LEGO want to inspire users to be creative and to come back to the app so there are daily building challenges and the chance to unlock new features as you use the app more. What is unusual about the app is that in setting these challenges it actively encourages users to come off the app, put the device down and go off to build something.
Keeping safe whilst using LEGO Life
When visiting schools we advise children to keep their personal information (full name, address, age, their school, phone number etc.) safe and LEGO Life does not ask them for any of this information.
In order to sign up users need a LEGO ID and for users under the age of 13 a parent’s email address is required for approval.
It’s important to note that, although LEGO Life is aimed at younger building enthusiasts, there is no restriction on anyone over 13 joining the service. Whilst the only way to communicate on LEGO life is through the use of emojis it is important for children to be aware that there may also be adults using the app.
To stop young people using their real names, usernames are randomly generated using 3 words. Instead of a profile photo users get to create a LEGO avatar of themselves instead.
When sharing photos LEGO has set out clearly which photos will be allowed and take steps to moderate the images shared.
The advice for children using the app is to just share photos of their LEGO builds and to be careful that there is nothing in the background of the photo that could reveal anything about them in it, eg certificates with full names and schools.
When it comes to commenting this is done through emojis and to combat cyberbullying the emojis are designed to be positive. The idea here is to have a wholly positive community but it is worth remembering that a young person still may not like the comments they receive or be upset if very few people like the photo they share.
If users are upset by a photo they see there is a report flag in the top right of the screen that they can use.
Currently the only adverts within LEGO Life are for LEGO products and are age appropriate. Whilst these adverts appear very subtly on the newsfeed, and generally look like posts from other users, there doesn’t seem to be any way for a child to click on the advert and be led out of the app to order the item intentionally or accidentally.
The app provides a good opportunity to discuss the importance of protecting personal information online, as well as considering the information that can be shared with others via photos. For parents and carers, a great way to start a discussion about personal information is to show an interest in how their child is using the app and to use it together positively.
Having an open dialogue with children and young people to help them to consider what they post and share and the importance of being positive and kind online are key to supporting them to make the most of LEGO Life or any of their other favourite apps and services.
For more information on how to support young people online, check out our advice here:
For more information about LEGO Life see the LEGO website: