KANSAS CITY, Mo. - 41 Action News anchor Christa Dubill recently conducted a survey of local kids ages 9 to 15. The survey found one of the most popular apps local kids are using is called musical.ly. Here is what parents need to know about protecting their kids while using musical.ly.
What is musical.ly?
musical.ly is a video social network where users can create and share short videos and set them to popular music clips. The app’s developers tout it as ‘a great way for our users to express themselves creatively within a community full of other enthusiastic creators.'
The app is loaded with creative posts from people all over the world and set to clips from hundreds of popular songs. However, developers strongly encourage parents to monitor their child's account. And with good reason.
Some of the top parental complaints about the app are:
Song lyrics are sometimes inappropriate
A user's location can show up on posts and comments
When using the "search" option, kids can easily come across inappropriate content
Users can live stream to the masses, perhaps without understanding what they're doing
Here are some simple moves you can make within the app to better protect your child while they use musical.ly:
Make your child’s account private, so only people they/you choose can see their videos.
Turn off location information. If this is not done, your child’s location will be displayed on any of their posts, comments, etc.
Consider restricting direct messages by limiting messaging only to “friends."
If you are interested in setting these restrictions on your child’s musical.ly account, you’ll need to have the device on which the app is loaded. (Note: the number one rule for protecting kids on their devices is for parents to always know their child's passcode. All experts agree this is non-negotiable.)
This is what the app icon looks like.
musical.ly app icon
Once in the app, tap the small head and shoulders image on the bottom right corner of the screen.
Home screen of musical.ly app
Then tap the settings icon in the top right corner. Tap “settings.”
Scroll down to the section showing the direct.ly, location and private toggles.
Privacy settings in musical.ly
Click all three to “on,” which should turn the toggle green.
Turning on privacy settings for musical.ly
With these settings, only people who have been approved to follow the user will be able to see their posts, your child's location will not post with uploads and comments, and only friends will be able to direct message the user.
This, of course, only works if kids DO NOT ALLOW STRANGERS to follow them. If a stranger is approved, these security settings are obsolete. The experts all say to talk to your kids about making smart decisions on their devices.