Musical.ly App – What parents need to know

By Ghislaine Bombusa on

As yet another app that has caught the imagination of over 70 million people worldwide, Musical.ly allows teens to make and share 15 second music videos. These feature users lip-syncing to the latest songs provided by the app, singing their own songs or doing comedy skits.

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About the App

Launched in 2014 Musical.ly describes itself as “the world’s fastest growing social network around music and lifestyle,” with over 70 million users (mostly based in the US).

What is the musical.ly’s Minimum age?

The Terms and Conditions don’t clearly specify but according to Common Sense Media 16+ would be recommended

How does it work?

Users or ‘Musers’ can create an account by using an email or their existing Facebook or Twitter account.

To create videos users can record themselves miming to along to music or record their own songs. The app allows them to speed up or slow down the video. Once their happy with the video it can be posted to their followers and shared on other networks like Facebook Messenger, Vine or WhatsApp.

Like other social networks, users can follow others, comment and like videos on the app. There is a search tool that allows users to watch other videos and search by trending hashtags (i.e. #UnitedKingdom). Hashtags are added to video when posting them; these can also be used to respond to challenges, i.e. GMAchallenge, BangChallenge.

Why do teens love the app?

Many users of musical.ly otherwise known as ‘musers’ use the app because it helps them to ‘connect with friends, watch videos from other musers and showcase their creativity to the world.

The musical.ly community is made up of young and creative people who enjoy sharing their talents, gaining followers (or fans) and getting their content ‘featured’ so it can be seen by millions of musers.

What can you find on the app?

There are a range of videos showcasing comedy skits, lip syncing and a myriad of talents from singing to acrobatics.

What other parents say about the app?

According the Common Sense Media site, many parents believe that the app should be used by teens aged 16 year old and over. This is mainly due to the number of songs with sexual and explicit content featured on the app and the instance of inappropriate profile pictures and usernames being used. See full comments from parents.

Safety features

Blocking a user

If your child is receiving unwanted messages or comments, they can block the user on the app.

You can block a user by going to their profile and selecting the icon with three dots on the right hand corner and then choosing ‘block this user’.

Reporting inappropriate content

If your child comes across any content that is not appropriate they can press the icon with three dots on the side of the screen and select ‘report abuse’ from the list of options.

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7 things you can do to keep them safe on the app

1. Talk to them about Cyberbullying

Users can leave comments on videos posted so, this may leave your child open to receiving negative messages. Giving them guidance about what to do if they are cyberbullied or see others being cyberbullied will help them to keep themselves safe.

3. Make sure they are Share Aware

Help them to think more carefully about what they post and who it may be seen by so that they protect themselves.

4. Get familiar with the community guidelines 

To make sure you know what is and isn’t accepted on the app you and your child can read through the guidelines to help them to be inform about what they can and can’t do on the app.

5. Switching ‘hide location info’ option on

This will make sure that their location is not shown when they post a video.

6. Make sure they know accounts cannot be totally deleted

There is currently no option to delete a musical.ly account but this may be available in the future.

7. Be aware of explicit songs on the app

Some of the songs featured on the musical.ly app may have explicit language and sexual content that may not suitable for your child. It is best to review the app together with your child beforehand.

2. Make their musical.ly account private

Make sure that your child sets their account to be private by going to the cog icon on the right hand side and selecting ‘settings’.

Once in ‘settings’ scroll down to ‘Private account’ option and turn it on. This will ensure that all videos that are posted can only be seen by approved followers but the profile will stay public.

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