Musical.ly app parents guide

Is the Musical.ly app safe? Here is The Modern Parents guide

The Musical.ly app is fast gaining popularity with younger tweens and teens, particularly girls, as they lip sync to their favourite songs and become virtual stars in their own music video clips. I am pretty sure I would have loved this in my youth. Who am I kidding? I would probably love this right now. So the appeal is obvious.

Like all apps however, there are certain features and settings that parents need to be aware of as well as the types of content their kids may be exposed to.  And like all technology, it is largely our behaviour and the way we use it, that helps determine the benefits and the safety.

So here are a few things to note if your child is one of the many having a play around with the musical.ly app:

About Musical.ly app:

  • it is an app that allows you to make and record videos that can be uploaded and shared with an online community.
  • Videos can be edited with creative effects and filters
  • Users (or musers ) can find other users, artists & celebs to follow
  • You can record and upload your own original tracks for others to use
  • when you have chosen a song you get to see the videos of others who have used that song if they haven’t made it private (to get inspiration if needed)
  • you can collaborate with others from around the world to create duets etc
  • users can share videos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and other social networks
  • Videos can also be saved to your camera roll
  • There is a leaderboard of videos dependant on their ranking from ‘likes’ etc
  • Users are encouraged to do their own lip sync video of celebrities latest songs to upload and compete for various prizes such as a skype call with that celebrity, a shout out to their fans etc
  • The use of hashtags is a popular way to find users to follow, to be followed or to join in competitions

Keeping safe and smart on Musical.ly

  • Videos can be saved privately so only the user can see them. (see images below)
  • Many users of Musical.ly are creating videos with friends so always explain to kids the need to ask permission before they upload those videos or share them to social networks.
  • Be aware when uploading to social networks who your other followers are on those networks and who is therefore likely to have access to your videos. (see image below to keep profile private)
  • Know that no settings are every 100% guaranteed so only share a video of yourself or others that you are comfortable with, remembering it may get seen by others not intended.
  • You can delete videos or change settings to private at any time.
  • Be wary when collaborating with others that they may not be who they say they are.  It is best to collaborate with only those you know.
  • if one of your followers gives your video a ‘heart’ then all of their followers can view that video ….even if it is private. So it is difficult to know who has access if your friends have lots of followers or unknown followers.
  • Obviously when viewing other people’s videos there are going to be different standards of what is and isn’t appropriate.
  • The terms of the Musical.ly app do state that there can be: Mild sexual content & nudity, mature suggestive themes, tobacco or drug use references, mild profanity and crude humour.   

Please note that this is the same for all 13+ social networks. Think of all the video clips available on MTV and the like and remember that they can view similiar here.

Below are some images of how to set up privately and to ensure that profiles are not revealing any extra information that may allow others to connect with them.

musical.ly privacy settings

Basic privacy settings for younger users of the Musical.ly app

Check profile page to ensure privacy and avoid unwanted connections

Check profile page to ensure privacy and avoid unwanted connections

Available: Free app on iOS and Android.

Some reviews from users:

“this app is literally my life”

“I luv this app. Luv it!! This app is awesome and addictive”

So it seems the traction it is getting with young teens particularly, is testament to the amount of fun the ‘musers’ are having with this app. But please be aware it is a social media network, and therefore has a focus on ‘sharing’ and ‘connecting’.

When your child is starting out, this is the perfect time to pay attention and communicate with them about how they enjoy these networks whilst keeping themselves safe and respecting themselves and others. Use this time to monitor their followers, the types of videos they are posting, the use of privacy settings and the need to check with others before posting videos they appear in. It is also a good time to remind them that whilst we can do what we can to keep things private, nothing is ever guaranteed to stay that way online. Keep this in mind when sharing any content so that you are comfortable with this becoming public…..just in case.

 

 

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6 Responses to Is the Musical.ly app safe? Here is The Modern Parents guide

  1. Cat@lifethroughthehaze May 11, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

    Martine

    Just wondering my daughters are 11 (yep twins) and they really want to get this. We have always had a no social media til 13 rule thanks to the Facebook and Insta rules. This year our girls had to get iPads for yr 5 at school. So they have 10yr old friends that would also be using the app.

    The school has demanded we take this app off the iPads because of the potential for bullying (there was an issue that I wrote about on my blog in a roundabout fashion). I am in two minds about this one and I feel that if I was to set it up with the appropriate settings, rules and only approved friends by their father and I in conjunction with their friends parents then I kind of feel this would be ok.

    What do you think or is 11 just too young? And I am totally happy to go with that 11 is too young.

    Thanks
    Cat

    • Martine Oglethorpe May 26, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      Technically I would say 11 is too young, because with most kids they are not using it with the parental supervision that it requires. As I said it is more than just privacy settings etc, they have to understand the other complexities of a social network that is premised on sharing and commenting and liking etc. If videos were never to be uploaded publicly (which also means ensuring other kids aren’t uploading videos of them) it may be something that you could work at together to help learn the ‘rules’ of social networks. It must also be noted however that the content of other videos can be highly inappropriate (however no different to what they often see on youtube or on music video clips on the TV! So, whilst I would say it is young, it is similiar to all apps that kids use. They all require certain skills and behaviours and I certainly would prefer you be there to help them rather than wait a year or so and leave them to their own devices (so to speak!). Once again , the trouble comes if they start doing it at friends houses where you have little control etc. So a hard one, but one that I think you need to make based on your own values, with informed knowledge and with constant open and honest communication with your daughter. If however the school has insisted it not be on the ipad then this is a rule you should follow.

  2. Monica July 6, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    This is a good article but it has totally failed to mention the newest and extremely worrying feature of Musical.ly, the Live.ly, yes, a live video feed, usually from your daughter’s bedroom. My younger daughter has logged into Musical.ly on my phone so I know when one of her ‘friends’ is starting a live feed. Let’s just say you wouldn’t believe the number of kids who have done a live video in the last week. They encourage ‘viewers’ to join their broadcast and then to ask them questions by typing in the comments box. My daughter and I watched one and I stared in disbelief as the young female video star, steaming live from her bedroom in her pyjamas, gave out masses of detail about herself and her family in response to viewers’ questions.

    Thanks, Musical.ly, you’ve ruined a fun app. I’m about as happy as I was when I happened upon my elder daughter broadcasting a live Facebook video.

    Speak to your video star about this; please don’t think your child wouldn’t be silly enough to start a Live.ly as I have seen a number of your daughters’ names/accounts pop up in the notification banner at the top of my screen.

    Rant over.

  3. Amy July 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Thanks for all this information. I can barely keep up with my daughters online use now she’s started high school! And as for the live streaming, she started doing this during the week and I had no idea what it was, thanks for the warning!

  4. Karina July 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    Am I correct that there is no way of closing down an account? A friend of my daughters has set up an account with my daughter and another of their friends using my daughters email address without her (or my) permission. I’m wanting to shit this account down with no success.

    • Martine Oglethorpe July 24, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

      Hi Karina, at this point in time I believe you are correct, but I also believe this will be rectified shortly as the creators realise this is an anomaly. In the meantime you can delete individual videos if that helps.

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