A new addition to the app musical.ly has taken off worldwide but is causing concerns for parents.
Live.ly is a live stream video platform that works alongside the musical.ly app. It allows teens to broadcast their lives to the world as it happens, it also initiates group video chats with their friends to hang out virtually.
[As of August 2018 this app is no longer available, it has merged to become TikTok app – read more about the new app]
About the App
What is the Live.ly app?
Live.ly is a live video streaming platform created by musical.ly. Teens can use Live.ly to broadcast to fans and friends, and have real-time interactions. They can broadcast real-time, anytime to anyone who is on the app and take a snapshot, comment, send digital gifts and follow broadcasters.
What is the Live.ly’s minimum age?
The Terms and Conditions specify that users be at least 13 years old but that by using the service, they are affirming that they’re 18, which makes little sense. Common Sense Media According to Common Sense Media recommends a minimum age of 16+ for the app.
How does it work?
Users can create an account by using their existing Musical.ly, Facebook or Twitter account.
To create broadcasts users or ‘streamers’ can record their own videos and then Go Live to start live streaming videos to their Musical.ly fans. People can leave comments and more to interact with the streamer.
When a user watches a Live.ly stream in Musical.ly they can send a virtual gift to the person who is live. They can also post real-time comments, and can even be “guested” into live chats.
Why do teens love the app?
Many users of Live.ly use the app because it helps them to connect with friends, watch broadcasts from other users and showcases their live streams to the world.
What can you find on the app?
There is a range of videos showcasing comedy skits, lip syncing and a myriad of talents from singing to acrobatics. A recent investigation from Channel 4 also found that there were users streaming inappropriate content on the app.
What parents need to be aware of?
Live streaming “life” can be risky, especially for a young person who may be influenced to share too much personal information or inappropriate content to gain more viewers or likes.
The open forum allows a users to receive live responses which can potentially mean that inappropriate content is sent to children. Parents should take extreme caution when deciding if their children should use this app based on the risks.
We’d advise parents to talk to their children and assess whether they are equipped with the tools and understanding to deal with these issues before letting them use the app.
Children may not be aware of how much information they are giving away when they are streaming live from their homes and other personal environments.
A user might forget they have hundreds of strangers viewing their broadcasting and watching them answer personal questions from anonymous viewers. Viewing the broadcasts also requires no registration or age verification at all.
Choose who sends Live comments
By going to the setting section of the app and choosing ‘live comments’ users can set to only receive comments from people who they follow rather than anyone on the app.
Choose who sends them ‘Go live’ requests
Again, within the settings sections, users can select ‘close friends’ so they only notify people they are connected to and consider friends to get a notification that they are ‘live streaming’.
Click on settings
Select option from list
Select people I follow
Choose close friends
Things you can do to keep children safe on the app
1. Talk to them about online risks and sharing safety
Help your child understand how to deal with different online risks that they may be exposed to on the app such as cyberbullying or inappropriate content. Give them the tools to recognise the difference between ‘real friends and followers. See our expert social tips to help start the conversation.
2. 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.
3. Check minimum age of app
Check that your child is the minimum age required to be on the app as content will be aimed at children over 13 years old.
4. Protect their personal data
Advise your child not to link the app to their other social account so it does not pull in personal information into their Wishbone account and draw information about their friends. Also, make sure they choose an anonymous username and a strong password to protect their content.
5. Make sure they know accounts cannot be totally deleted
There is currently no option to delete an account. If your child decides to delete their account at this stage deleting the content the servers is not possible. Of course you can delete the app from the device. Your child’s videos and account will still be on live.ly’s data base.but this may be available in the future.
6. 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.