The LEGO Group is taking its campaign to tackle cyberbullying to the next level with a raft of family-focused, digital child safety and wellbeing initiatives under the Build and Talk banner.
The Danish toy maker has developed a new Build and Talk activity guide to help parents and caregivers start conversations with their child about the subject, while completing some simple LEGO builds together. At the same time, a new LEGO Friends #BoostUp experience is being introduced in the LEGO Life App.
The idea is to help children understand and celebrate the power of being kind online and giving them the skills they need to thrive in the digital environment.
Social media and digital networks can provide friendship lifelines for many children globally, particularly at a time when many remain out of school due to the pandemic. While most children use social media as a force for kindness; by the time a child is in their teenage years, the majority say they have experienced some form of cyberbullying.
The new initiatives from the LEGO Group have been developed to help children feel empowered to spot and act on cyberbullying if and when they experience or witness it.
The ‘Build &Talk’ activity series is designed to help parents have online safety and wellbeing conversations with children aged six to 10 within the safe environment of play. The latest activity pack is designed to help children understand what cyberbullying is, open up about their experiences and empower children and adults to take positive action if they witness or experience any kind of cyberbullying.
Families can download the activity pack to a tablet or phone, grab some LEGO bricks and work together to build a simple, colourful character – a ‘Meanie’ – that helps guide a conversation and helps children learn about being kind online and looking out for others through play.
Like the rest of the Build and Talk activities, the series has been created in line with UNICEF guidelines and advice to help parents find new ways to talk to children, aged six to 10, about digital safety and wellbeing while they play.
Families can also tune into a live Build and Talk session about cyberbullying on World Children’s Day on November 20th, a day that celebrates children’s rights, including their right to be protected from harm online. The livestream will be hosted by the LEGO Group’s vice president of design, Matthew James Ashton, and senior design manager, Amy Corbett from LEGO Masters.
Meanwhile, LEGO Friends and Peppy Pals have co-created a series of fun #BoostUp experiences in the LEGO Life app that celebrate friendship. Children are encouraged to take part in a series of polls, storytelling quizzes and virtual building activities that support those who have experienced cyberbullying, help them build the courage to act on abuse they see online, and encourage supportive online behaviours.
The activities are now available on LEGO Life, a safe social media network for children that is used by approximately 9 million children across 78 countries.
“With the #BoostUp campaign we want to create a safe space where children can voice their perspective on what being kind online means to them,” said Paulina Olsson, CEO and co-founder of Peppy Pals.
“Navigating the world of online friendships and communities can feel exciting and fun, but it can also feel scary and lonely for children. Through different videos, polls, quizzes and building challenges we give kids a way to express their feelings, and in doing so help each other deal with both the positive and negative aspects of spending time online.”
Anna Rafferty, VP of digital consumer engagement at the LEGO Group, added: “When children play, it makes learning easier easier. This is why we have developed a range of engaging play experiences in both the real world and online that can help families with education on challenging subjects such as cyberbullying.
“We hope that by using LEGO bricks and platforms that transcend age, gender and culture, we can help families around the world connect with each other in a fun, natural way while helping children learn about communicating respectfully with each other digitally, spreading kindness and positivity and protecting the wellbeing of themselves and others online.”