May 04, 2018
Is Musical.ly safe? Everything you need to know about this popular musical singing and sharing app.
By: Frannie Ucciferri, Common Sense Media
With so many social networks to keep track of, it’s not surprising if your kids’ newfound obsession with the musical.ly app leaves you scratching your head. So what is it exactly?
Musical.ly is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos — often to a soundtrack of the top hits in music — right from your phone. With more than 100 million users, it is incredibly popular, owing in part to its slick mashup of features from other kid favorites. As with the lip-syncing app Dubsmash, users can watch and record videos of themselves lip-syncing to popular music and sound bites. As they did on the now-defunct Vine, kids can create short, shareable videos ranging from funny to serious. And just like YouTube, Musical.ly is an interactive world of videos that lets you connect with friends and admirers through likes, comments, and even duets.
Musical.ly even spawns its own celebrities. Almost overnight, singing sensations like Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorius have gained internet fame, especially with kids and teens.
But with so much information out there, it can be a challenge for parents to know if it’s really safe. While most of the videos are mostly harmless, creative fun, there are real concerns about kids using the app. As with any social network, you have to use privacy settings to limit how much information you and your kids are sharing. And with the integration of live video broadcasting through Live.ly, kids can post stuff without reviewing or editing it first. There have even been reports of online predators using the app to target younger users.
Read Common Sense Media’s full review of Musical.ly, and help your kids use it safely with answers to parents’ most frequently asked questions below:
What is Musical.ly?
Musical.ly (pronounced MU-zik-lee) is a social network for sharing user-generated videos, mostly of people lip-syncing to popular songs. Users — or “musers” — can create and upload their own videos (called musicals) where they lip-sync, sing, dance, or just talk. You can also browse and interact with other musers’ content, which covers a wide range of topics, songs, and styles.
How safe is Musical.ly?
Using any social network can be risky, but it’s possible for kids to safely use the app with adult supervision (and a private account). When you sign up for Musical.ly, your account is public by default, meaning anyone can see your musicals, message you, or use your location information. Parents should make sure to turn on all privacy settings for accounts kids are using, so only people you know can interact with your videos or message you on the app.
How does Musical.ly work?
Musical.ly users sign up with a phone number, email address, Facebook, or Instagram account. Once logged in, you can search popular “musers,” categories (comedy, animals, sports), and hashtags to find videos. Or you can use your phone contacts or social media followers to find friends already on the app. Many kids on musical.ly like to create videos, but plenty of people don’t post themselves — they just use the app to find and follow content creators.