A LEGO app with social media functions.
Social media has become a central part of life over the last 10 years whether we 'like' it or not and it's no wonder that our children are curious about Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Now, here at Academy of FUN!, we do not particularly like the idea of children being glued to electronic devices. Our personal mission is to promote and develop relevant skills & cognitive ability that children will require in later life and enrich their lives. It is rare that apps for tablets and smartphones encourage the kind of play that we believe to be important but we think we've found one that will and will at the same time introduce them to social media in a secure and safe way.
LEGO Life is totally free app. It allows children to connect, interact with other children who share their love of LEGO and encourages creative play and problem solving in the real world. Here are a few of things you can do with Lego Life...
Build an Avatar
A lot of modern games have a Create-A-Character option, Lego Life is no different. Upon registering you are given the option of building a mini figure that best represents you or you can go with a pre made mini figure. You can select every piece of your minifigure from head and body parts to utensils, weapons and accessories. They've got all of your children's favourite pieces. I decided to make myself a Samurai Centurion and I couldn't be happier! Your child will also get to choose their username. The usernames are generated as a sequence of 3 random words and they can request alternatives until they get to one they like. eg. "Unicorn Cabbage Metal"
Vidoes are uploaded by Lego themselves (a user cannot upload any videos) and will often be the cartoons linked to Lego themes such as Ninjago and Legends of Chima but there are also feature instructional videos on how to build new things with the bricks you already have! There are also LEGO adverts, though so far as we can tell they aren't any adverts for third parties so at least you know they're not being brainwashed into wanting some random new toys and junk food!
This particular part of the app is about showing the world the totally awesome thing you have built! Your photos can also be edited in the app to include Lego stickers. This section is heavily regulated by Lego Staff monitoring for any humans in the photos uploaded or any hidden communication such as written messages (which are not allowed). It's all about sharing the models and letting them speak for you.
Comment & Like
If you have seen something that someone else has made that you like you can hit the heart button and let that person know they will receive a message saying "Someone likes your photo" If you want to leave a comment you can, however this is only possible by the use of Lego stickers and emoticons. There is absolutely no way to communicate succinctly with any other person on the app.
If your child is interested in something in particular, be it a character or Lego franchise with the use of hashtags "#" and a search engine they can find their favourite type of Lego eg. #StarWars or #LegendOfChima.
We love this part! There three types of challenges on the app:
We think this app is the safest way for your child to interact with other children online and a good way to introduce them to the positive elements of social media. Every possible precaution seems to have been taken to protect users from negative interaction. They have anonymous profiles and your email address is used to request permission for them using the app. We enjoyed seeing the pride, the excitement, a sense of inclusion and the spark of new ideas from the children using this app. Lego Life gets The Academy Of Fun! Seal Of Approval!!
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