Is your tween or teen using the Musical.ly app? My tween asked for permission to use it recently and I’ve been looking into what it’s all about. It seems to be the latest craze at the moment, hitting #1 in the App Store charts in 19 countries, so what do parents need to know about this app? Here is our Musical.ly App: Parents Guide:
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What is the Musical.ly app?
musical.ly is a video community that allows you to create, share and discover short music videos. There is an app available for both iPhone and Android phones and devices.
It is a social media community and people can follow and like each other’s videos as well as sending messages. So as with every social community there are some things parents need to be aware of.
How does it work
You download the app and create an account – you can sign in using Facebook or Twitter or use an email to create an account.
- You then find a track (or use music from your own device) to create a lip sync video to the song. You can add effects and then share your videos.
- There’s a search facility on the app and the musical.ly community is encouraged to like videos as well as try to rank on the leaderboard.
- Musical.ly allows users to upload their own content.
- Musical.ly offers users the ability to use hashtags to categorize videos. It does have certain inappropriate words prohibited in the tag search, i.e., you can’t search for “sex”.
What Parents Need to be Aware Of
While it sounds very innocent and fun, there are no age controls, so there are a few things to be aware of.
- The Musical.ly App is Rated 12+ on the iTunes Store for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor.
- Your tween may be singing along to very inappropriate lyrics because songs are not age-rated.
- The search functionality means they could discover adult oriented videos that other users have posted.
- The hashtags which are used to categorize videos may allow results on searches to show more adult content. It does have certain inappropriate words prohibited in the tag search, but that may not stop your child from seeing content they shouldn’t have.
- If your account is not set to private then you could receive messages from strangers.
- There are also in-app purchases so you need to be careful about your child running up extra costs.
When I was researching the app, I came across this good summary about the app on Protectyoungeyes.com as well as this set of comments from parents which is worth reading too.
You may decide not to allow your child to use the app, but if you do then here are some tips.
Tips for Parents if Your Child or Teen is using the Musical.ly App
#1. Make sure the account is private.
Go into the settings screen and make sure three things in particular are switched on: only friends can direct.ly me, hide location info and private account.
#2. Try it yourself
Try it yourself and get your child to show you the basics. This is one of the best ways of learning and understanding what it’s about.
#3. Keep an eye on what they do
Make it a stipulation that they have to use the app when you are about so you can keep an eye on what they are accessing.
#4. Check in-app purchases are off
Make sure in-app purchases are switched off for the app if you don’t wish to run up a bill.
#5. Have a conversation again about internet safety
Remind your child that they should only befriend true life friends or family members on the app and to tell you if they see anything strange.
I have decided to allow my tween to continue to use the app but only under supervision.
It’s a tricky balance as a parent making sure they get to have fun – and the concept of this app is fun – while keeping them safe and avoiding them from being exposed to material they shouldn’t be seeing.
Over to you now. Does your tween or teen use the musical.ly app? What are your thoughts on it?