“LEGO Life” is a social network for aspiring architects 13-years old and younger, sporting built-in safety measures and full-time moderation.
Kids used LEGO to express their creativity long before Minecraft, and the colorful studded blocks remain one of the most popular children’s toys in the country. Having successfully made the leap onto the big screen with their widely acclaimed movie of the same name, the company is now making a go at social media.
LEGO Life is a social network tailored for kids between 5 and 13 years of age. Children are prompted to customize an iconic LEGO “minifigure” to represent themselves and share their creations through an interface very reminiscent of Instagram. They’re also able to respond to other posts with custom emoji.
According to a very enthusiastic announcement video, the app is “full of awesome stuff.” There are LEGO character profiles to browse, fan groups to join, building challenges in which to participate, and activities using virtual stickers. And it’s all free — if you don’t count the ads peppered throughout.
To keep things relatively safe, The LEGO Group is employing a team of full-time moderators. They’ll check pictures for any sort of personal information and keep an eye on the comments linked to posts. As an additional safety measure, LEGO Life does not feature any way for users to directly chat with one another.
It’s difficult to know whether the tactics will be effective. Depending on the network’s popularity, it could require a veritable army of moderators to ensure that vulnerable content doesn’t slip through the cracks, or even sit on the network long enough to be exposed to predators.
It seems like a fun idea and a stop-gap to less curated forms of social networking for kids growing up with iPhones and tablets. Its focus on product marketing and the potential for abuse are still definite concerns, but, if handled responsibly, it could be a great place to inspire young builders.
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