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.
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.