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Is musically safe for kids?

Any app or game which connects to the internet is a potential risk for kids, but what about the popular musically app? You might have heard stories of kids being groomed through the app and inappropriate requests for nude photos. This happened back in 2016 with musical.ly.

What is musical.ly?

It’s an app aimed at teens which allows them to lip-sync with their favourite artists’ songs and share the short videos with friends.

For the most part this is harmless, but the app includes a library of song clips which could include lyrics inappropriate for young children and there’s no way to block that: kids can choose whichever clip they want to sing along to. The main issue from a parents’ point of view is that, like many social media apps, musically defaults to posting everything publically which means anyone can watch and comment on a video your child creates.

As comments aren’t screened by the app’s maker, another user could leave an offensive comment on your child’s video. It’s the same with other apps including Instagram and Twitter[1] where anyone can view your content and follow you.

Videos themselves aren’t curated before they appear on the app, and while you’re unlikely to find anything unsavoury in the ‘Featured’ section of the app, it is possible to find stuff you wouldn’t want your kids seeing. The app is rated as 12+ and, among other content, can include ‘infrequent / mild sexual content and nudity’.

On musically’s page for parents[2], it is very clear that you should not allow children under 13 to use the app.

Can I make musically safe for kids?

Not entirely, no. You can talk to you child and make sure they set their account to private.

This means only their followers can see their videos. Once an account is private you must approve follower requests, which gives you much more control over who can see the videos. Even with a private account, a user’s profile is still publically visible and this can include their real name, their photos, bio and location.

So it’s worth using the ‘hide location info’ in settings when you enable the private account.

Is musically safe for kids?

The app asks if you want to link other social media accounts when you first use it, so it’s important to make sure your child doesn’t reveal too much personal information when they’re creating profiles in such apps. Many use location to find new friends in the same area, and this can be a risk as people aren’t always who they say they are. Unless you supervise your child when they use the app, you can’t be sure who they’re following, what they’re watching or which followers they’re approving.

Ultimately, you need to decide if you’re happy for your child to use musically.

This may be a simple no, or it could be a ‘yes, but only with supervision’.

Whatever your decision, it’s crucial to talk to your child about the risks and dangers of social media and the internet in general as well as laying down ground rules with them, and that they understand those are in place to keep them safe.

If you’re unsure yourself of the risks and sensible ground rules, check out our full guide to keeping kids safe on the internet[3].

References

  1. ^ Twitter (www.techadvisor.co.uk)
  2. ^ page for parents (support.musical.ly)
  3. ^ guide to keeping kids safe on the internet (www.techadvisor.co.uk)

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