The LEGO Group has struck up a new partnership with the digital citizenship and online child safety think tank DQ Institute for a project that will help kids develop the skills they need when navigating the digital world.
The project sees LEGO launch a new, interactive learning experience – co-designed by the DQ Institute – to teach children vital digital empathy skills at a time when they are spending more time online than ever before.
It will help children explore what digital empathy means and why it is important; helping them to be aware of, sensitive to, and supportive of their own and others’ feelings, needs, and concerns online. During the experience, LEGO Minifigures will present children with a series of dilemmas that they may encounter in the digital world, such as cyber-bullying scenarios, online mobs and the spreading of misinformation, in a way that is easy to understand.
Based on their responses, children will be awarded an online empathy hero status. The experience aims to make the topic of digital empathy easy and accessible for children to understand.
The latest figures have revealed that 45 per cent of children aged between eight and 12 have been affected by cyber-bullying in the past. Meanwhile, the hours that children are spending online has increased dramatically, haven been driven by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
“We share a common vision with the LEGO Group to empower children to be good digital citizens who can minimize cyber risks and maximize their potential in the digital world,” said Yuhyun Park, founder of the DQ Institute and international expert in digital skills and child online safety.
“That is why we are so pleased to be working with the LEGO Group since they are experts in communicating with children. We hope that the playful experience we design together will help to empower children to make the internet a better place for them in the future.”
The LEGO Group is the first toy manufacturer to partner with the DQ Institute to promote digital empathy learning among children. The company has worked closely with the DQ Institute to create the experience in alignment with the DQ framework, the world’s first global standard related to digital literacy, digital skills, and digital readiness.
Each of the four new heroes links directly to the digital empathy skills that the DQ Institute recommends children develop. Sir Hug A Lot will embody online empathy, Butterclops is a representation of online self-awareness, AeroVision has been created to help children acknowledge the perspectives of other people, and Admiral Highfive has been created to talk about being kind online.
“Helping kids understand how to stay safe and be kind to others online has never been more crucial. At the LEGO Group, we know children learn best when they are playing and believe we are uniquely placed to help them explore important topics like digital empathy in a playful and memorable way,” said Kathhrine Kirk Muff, VP of social responsibility at the LEGO Froup.
“This new experience is just the start of our collaboration with the DQ Institute. Together we share an ambition to equip children, and also parents, with the knowledge, tools and skills needed to build a generation of responsible digital citizens.”