Musical.ly is a popular app with teens & tweens that lets users make lip-sync videos to their favourite songs. Kids create 15-second music videos using snippets of popular songs and record themselves singing, lip-syncing, and dancing. Some kids skip the music all together and prefer 15-second comedy skits. Once they finish recording, kids can add some effects or filters like slow motion, time lapse and reversing and then share them on musical.ly as well as other social networks. Our kids are encouraged to share their videos from within the app to quite a few networks including Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Vine.
Users of Musical.ly are called “musers”. Our kids videos can get likes from other “musers”. A goal for a lot of kids is to have a video of theirs featured. Featured videos are chosen by musical.ly and appear on the “Featured Feed”. These chosen videos receive more likes and fans.
What parents need to know about musical.ly
This app is rated T for Teen on GooglePlay, +12 on iTunes and all ages on Amazon. Musical.ly says it restricts users to 13+ and that anyone 13 – 18 years old must have parental permission to use the app. It doesn’t ask users to enter a birthday or age. Anyone can sign up easily with an email address. After surfing around on musical.ly, I’d say most users are under 18. That being said, there are big brands there to market to your kids as well including MTV and the NBA.
All musical.ly accounts are public by default. This means when your kids post a video, everyone can see it. It also means that anyone can follow them. Within the settings, kids can change their account to private. It should be noted that even with a private account, their profile is still public. Other “musers” can search for their account, see their profile picture, username and bio. Other users can also see their fans, followers and likes. With a private account, only approved followers can see their creations and music videos.
Parents should also know that once your child opens a musical.ly account, they cannot be delete it. Their website promises that this feature is coming soon. In the meanwhile, if you find out your child under the age of 13 is on musical.ly, you can contact them directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and they will delete the personal information and terminate your child’s account.
As far as adult content, it seems that musical.ly’s terms and conditions do not allow explicit content or nudity but it also doesn’t pre-screen videos. Of course, with unscreened user generated content, there are adult videos lurking on this app. If you do a search for the tag #sex, you’ll find some disturbing videos. If an inappropriate video is stumbled upon, report it by pressing the button with the three dots on the bottom right of any video while it is playing.
As with any app, there are pros and cons. If your child what’s to download musical.ly, talk with them first about what is appropriate, how to set up a private account and what to do if someone is harassing them with negative comments about their videos. Most kids are making fun and funny videos, and with all apps, check it out with your kids. Become their fan and follower to see what they are doing but to keep them feeling independent, don’t like or comment on their videos (remember how cool you felt when your parents picked you up at school and talked with your friends – digitally it’s the same thing).