The Musical.ly app reached number 1 in the app charts a few weeks ago. So why is it so popular and what do you need to be aware of to ensure that your child stays safe, when they are using it? Musical.ly is essentially a way of sharing music videos with friends. While this can be great fun particularly for younger users there are a number of safety aspects that both you and your child should be aware of in order to ensure that they stay safe.
The Musical.ly app has an age restriction of 12 years. Age restrictions are set to protect younger users from exposure to things like inappropriate language or images. However as we all know children younger than the age restriction on games or social networking sites regularly access them. Knowledge is power and if you are aware of the age restriction, ideally before your child is, then you can put protections in place. You can also start a conversation about how best to deal with any inappropriate content your child may access. Also remember to put in place any safety settings that are possible, while they are not a 100% guarantee of protection they are certainly a step in the right direction. Remember also to ensure that any account created is set to private mode otherwise the chances of your child being contacted by or contacting a person not known to them is obviously, much higher.
Musical.ly has a search function which could mean that your child could come across adult users and content that is not age appropriate for them while using the app. This may be something that happens completely by accident and is why it’s important that your child is confident in knowing how best, given their age to deal with something like this happening. Reminding your child about the Stop, Block Tell Rule and that if they come across inappropriate content or behaviour online they should: immediately stop what they are doing, block the user who has messaged them, if possible and tell a trusted adult about what they have seen or experienced.
As with many apps Musical.ly has the option of making what is known as ‘in app purchases’ it’s best to keep an eye on this as your child could run up additional costs by inadvertently or purposely making these purchases.
Unique to this app is the fact that even with protections in place your child could listen to song lyrics that contain lyrics you may deem to be inappropriate. Talking to your child and their friends about what apps they are using and enjoy may give you greater insight into the content they are listening to and accessing.
As always, talking to your child about the importance of only sharing content with people that they know and have met is important where all apps are concerned. Particularly for younger children, they can be so caught up in sharing and enjoying what they can do using an app that they forget to remain vigilant to any inappropriate behaviour.
Apps are there to be enjoyed, but it is important to remind your child to stay safe while using them and the Musical.ly app is no different.
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