Club Penguin may be shutting down, but there’s a new social network for kids arriving today from LEGO. The company known for its physical blocks and building sets is launching LEGO Life, a safe, online space where kids can share their LEGO creations, and connect with a broader community. Available as an iOS and Android application, the social network is aimed at those under the age of 13, with protections in place to ensure the site remains child-friendly.
According to the company, the idea for the network came about by watching how kids shared their creations in the LEGO Club Magazine’s “Cool Creations” section, and posted stories and photos of their LEGO building to the company’s message boards. LEGO Life means to translate that same activity to an online world, while also offering tools to inspire future building, ways to earn rewards, and a means of commenting on others’ creations.
LEGO Life can be personalized to the individual user, each of whom will have their own newsfeed that’s customized to their interests. Users are prompted to follow their favorite topics and groups, like those dedicated to animals, vehicles, superheroes, and more. The feed will include posts from LEGO Master Builders, as well, which will show off some of the more impressive creations.
Kids get to interact with some LEGO characters, including Master Wu from LEGO NINJAGO, and Emma from LEGO Friends, and LEGO BATMAN. These characters will appear on the network to comment on members’ builds, which are shared by way of photo uploads. The characters will also share other building inspiration, the company says.
There are also LEGO videos to watch, LEGO news updates, quizzes, and other activities.
As part of its safety features, LEGO Life includes its own custom emoji keyboard which kids use when they’re talking about their own creations or commenting on those from others. This keyboard replaces the text when commenting on the user-generated content, explains LEGO. That leaves little room for online bullying to take place, and these emoji comments are moderated.
To further keep kids protected, the network is locked down in a number of ways. The company says it worked with UNICEF on its set of safety features.
The app prohibits sharing of personal info or photos that could be used to identify or locate players, and users’ avatars are just customized LEGO characters. Kids can’t directly chat with each other, only comment. And kids’ user names are generated for them, using a random name generator that comes up with silly 3-word mixes, like “DukeCharmingShrimp” or “ChairmanWilyDolphin.”[gallery ids="1445830,1445829,1445828,1445827,1445826,1445824,1445823,1445822,1445821,1445820,1445819,1445818,1445817"]
Unlike other kids’ social networks, the site doesn’t sell memberships or ask you to pay for items, but it does feature ads for LEGO products.