What Parents need to know about Musical.ly

Musical.ly is a social network for sharing user-generated music videos that’s similar to Dubsmash. You can upload your own videos, remix others’ work, or browse content created by other users and by more famous recording artists. Because it involves popular music, there’s lots of swearing and sexual content in the songs, though the videos seen during the review process only contained some tight and revealing clothing. Because teens can select whether to share their videos with their friends or the general public, they’ll want to adjust their settings accordingly. Read the app’s privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

Like most social media apps, musical.ly allows users to use hashtags to categorize videos. Similar to Instagram, users can set their profile to “private” in the settings, which allows them to approve those people he/she allows to see their created videos. There is also a block list.

APP Store rating: 12+ (“infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco, drug, mature/suggestive themes, profanity or crude humor, sexual content and nudity,” etc.), although users are supposed to be at least 13 years old in order to comply with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which applies to websites and online services that collect personal information.

Bottom Line: Due to COPPA, we typically discourage younger middle school usage. But since our testing didn’t uncover anything completely objectionable, we are “warm” towards the app, even for tween internet users, as long as parents have had the right “training” conversations and follow up on what their children are doing on it.

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.