Is Musical.ly Safe For Kids?

Is Musical.ly Safe For Kids?

Musical.ly

Updated 1st Sept 2016

What Is It?

Musical.ly 13+ is a free social media music app where users can watch user generated lip sync video, and create video themselves lip-syncing or dancing to music available on the app. It has over 80 millions users.  Choose your music, or mix someone else video and create your own short music or audio video using filters and video styles. It is a fun lip-sync style app, where users can mime and dance to music they choose from within the app or create their own music videos.

 

Live.ly

Users can also live stream to their Musical.ly friends/followers via Musical.ly’s add on app Live.ly which is also free and available for download only from the Apple app store.

Musical.ly
Musical.ly

Age Ratings For Musical.ly & Live.ly

Although both apps are listed on iTunes as 12+ Musical.ly’s own terms of use as seen below specify you must be at least 13 years of age or…18 years of age. It’s not clear weather it’s 13years or 18years. See Below.

 

Age limit for Musical.ly 13yrs

Children’s Privacy – From Musical.ly

“We do not knowingly collect information from children under 13 and we do not want it. We will take steps to delete it if we learn we have collected it.

If you learn that your child has provided us with Personal Information without your consent, then you could alert us at privacy@musical.ly. If we learn that we have collected any Personal Information from children under 13, then we will promptly take steps to delete such information and terminate the child’s account.”

Dangers for kids:

  • 18+ content in the songs lyrics. Swearing and adult concepts in the provided music.
  • Pornography, graphic content, suicide notes.
  • Musical.ly users can search for other users to view or follow near their own location/city
  • User generated videos can be viewed and shared onto other social media and messaging apps increasing exposure
  • Bullying in comments.
  • Users can publicise their messager usernames or social media profiles on their Musical.ly profile
  • Live.ly live streaming is not private even if you have the privacy settings set up.
  • Using live streaming Musical.ly app Live.ly may mean larger exposure with mean comments, interacting in real time with viewers.
  • Many fake user accounts, used to hijack views or set up to bully.
  • Hacking of accounts by promotional accounts (Free Musical.ly Crowns) within the apps.
  • Not easy to report accounts for being fakes or underage inside the app.
  • Many underage accounts with large amounts of followers.
  • Easy for users to create multiple accounts and hide them from their parents.
  • Fake Musical.ly apps on the app store that charge for download or offer followers

 

Fake Musical.ly ad-on apps
Fake Musical.ly ad-on apps

 

 

Self harming in Musical.ly
Self harming in Musical.ly

Bullying

There is a potential for bullying in comments either on Musical.ly and Live.ly or on the other social media platforms where the video can easily be shared. Some users without privacy settings enabled are sharing their general location and schools if filming in their school uniforms. There is a risk of over exposure for younger children and teens. There is also a huge risk for users that publicise their other social media accounts on their profiles their or messager user names to be approached by strangers.

How Do I Delete My Musical.ly Account?

You can’t…..If you decide to delete your Musical.ly account at this stage deleting the content from the Musical.ly servers is not possible See Link. Of course you can delete the app from the device. Your child’s videos and account will still be on Musical.ly’s data base.

Privacy Settings

 (See settings below) NOTE: Privacy settings do not block adult content.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-25-at-4_10_53-PM-1024x861

Musical.ly Sharing To Social Media
Musical.ly Sharing To Social Media

 

Blocking

To block a user, or report abuse go to their profile, press on the “…” in the upper right corner, and select “block this user.” You can unblock a user on the same menu.

Block or report user on Musical.ly
Block or report user on Musical.ly

Reporting Inappropriate Content

To Report A Video For Abuse or Adult content Click the 3 dots lower right column of the video and click report Abuse.

Reporting Inappropriate Content On Musical.ly
Reporting Inappropriate Content On Musical.ly

In App Purchases

Users can spend money in this app to buy “gifts” but the app will prompt you to confirm you are 13years of age, and ask to verify a phone number via a code sent to a mobile phone number. If your child’s iTunes or Google Play account is linked to your credit card, make sure you turn off In App Purchases in the parental controls on your child’s device for Apple devices through “Restrictions” or via your Google Play account.

Conclusion

Younger Teens should be encouraged to use the available privacy settings so that they only share with friends, and therefor limit exposure. The adult content in the music is not suitable for younger teens or children. Some #Hashtags lead to graphic pornography or violent and self harm images or video. Younger children risk added exposure by having their videos seen and shared by predatory adults via the app. Musical.ly has spawned a huge market for fake add-on apps pretending to link to Musical.ly or boost followers and give crowns. These apps often cost money or may lead to a users account being hacked.

Always search on Google for a review for any App your child wants to use, or check this website or commonsensemedia.org before allowing your child to use an app! 

More reviews from parents reporting inappropriate content and bullying at www.commonsensemedia.org

Review from commonsensemedia.org
Review from commonsensemedia.org

 

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