Billund, February 9th 2021: The LEGO Group has today announced a new partnership with the DQ Institute, a world-leading think tank on digital citizenship and online child safety. The partnership will see the two organisations work together to help children develop the skills they need to thrive in the digital world.
As part of the partnership, the LEGO Group has today launched a new, interactive, fun and safe learning experience, based on the DQ (Digital Intelligence) framework that was pioneered by the DQ Institute. The experience has been co-designed by the DQ Institute and the LEGO Group to teach children vital digital empathy skills at a time when they are spending more time online than ever before.
The interactive experience on www.LEGO.com/kids-saferinternetday will help children explore what digital empathy means and why it is so important; helping them to be aware of, sensitive to, and supportive of one’s own and others’ feelings, needs, and concerns online. During this fun and accessible learning experience, LEGO® Minifigures will present children with a series of dilemmas that they may encounter in the digital world, such as cyberbullying 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 makes the topic of digital empathy easy and accessible for children to understand.
Digital citizenship skills, including digital empathy, are vital for positive experiences in the online world. Digital empathy is one of the core digital citizenship skills that help children develop a keener sense of how their online communication could impact others, with research from the DQ Institute showing that children with high Digital Intelligence (DQ) scores are less likely to get involved with cyberbullying or face other cyber risks(1).
With children spending more time online due to lockdowns, this year’s Safer Internet Day is incredibly important for drawing attention to these issues, especially with 45% of children aged between 8 – 12 years old reporting that they have been affected by cyberbullying in the past(2).
“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 (IEEE 3572.1-2020). For example, each of the four new heroes links directly to the digital empathy skills that the DQ Institute recommends children develop:
- Sir Hug A Lot – who embodies online empathy
- Butterclops – a representation of online self-awareness
- AeroVision – designed to help children acknowledge the perspectives of other people
- Admiral Highfive – a character 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. 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,” said Kathrine Kirk Muff, VP of Social Responsibility at the LEGO Group.
About the DQ Institute
About Safer Internet Day
Every February since 2004, Safer Internet Day (SID) – organised by the Insafe/INHOPE network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) with the support of the European Commission – is a global, community-led observance which provides a space for all stakeholders to reflect on how together we can promote a responsible, respectful, critical and creative use of digital technologies with the ultimate goal of fostering a better internet for all. Having grown in scope over the years, Safer Internet Day is now celebrated by children, young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, industry, decision makers and politicians from over 170 countries.
(1) The #DQEveryChild research conducted between 2017-2020 found that 49% of children with a less than average DQ score on digital empathy have been involved in a cyberbullying incident, compared to only 16% of children with an above average DQ score on digital empathy (sample group of 36,000 children).
(2) Research from the DQ Institute’s 2020 Child Online Safety Index report.