Managing Musical.ly Risks

Musical.ly is a DIY music video social networking app that is growing in popularity with young people in primary and secondary schools. It’s fun, interactive karaoke and young people can go to great lengths to make their 15 second videos look professional and then share with friends. It lets you share your own versions of music videos, by filming yourself and/or your friends miming along to the lyrics of a song. Users can shoot in epic, slow, normal, fast or time lapse and then edit. You can view other people’s videos, and remix them.

I first became aware of the risks with this app when my 13 yr old daughter asked me to download it for her and I saw that she was creating videos in her bedroom wearing her school uniform – this means she is inadvertently posting personal information about herself which allows strangers to identify her name (she has a name picture on her bedroom wall) and school. So what do parents need to know about this popular app?

1. Set Private account – You can opt to make your videos public, or available to selected users only. Here lies the first risk – going public. Go to settings (via the cog icon in the top right corner) and turn on ‘private account’ and ‘only friends can direct.ly me’

2. Set Hide location info – You don’t want people to know the location of where your child is videoing so turn on ‘hide location info’

3. Explicit music content – you need to be aware that some of the songs have explicit content that is inappropriate for your child to lip synch to. You will need to talk about this with your child

I know that I would have loved this app when I was young. It brings a whole new dimension to singing in the mirror with a hairbrush. So rather than ban it we identify the risks involved and manage them. As the UK Safer Internet Centre says “New sites pop up all the time, but the message for young people is:

* always stays the same

* respect others online

* think before you post

* only accept friends and followers from people you know and trust”

Safe singing….

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