The LEGO Group have launched a new app, LEGO Life, designed to be a safe way for children to interact with the brand. The app is focused on children sharing ideas, builds and being generally creative. The app has been trialed in some territories, but today launches in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. Further roll outs are promised over the next few years.
As part of a press release, the LEGO Group provided this summary of the app’s aims:
“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.”
The LEGO Group credit the ‘pride of creation’ that children have with inspiring the LEGO Life app. As well as building inspiration, challenges and tips, the app promises children ‘direct interaction with their favorite LEGO characters’. One thing likely to be popular is the LEGO Emoji Keyboard.
“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.”
With the recent closure of the official LEGO message boards, the LEGO Group seemed to be lacking digital ways of reaching younger fans – until this announcement, as the plan is for the app to build a significant social media-style network.
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.
What will be most important for parents is the safety element, as most social media platforms require sign-up information and subsequently collect data on users. The LEGO Group are keen to emphasise that moderators will filter content. BBC’s Newsbeat confirms that children will not upload photos of themselves and tracking is not used by the app.