What is Musical.ly?

Musical.ly is a free social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short musical videos.
— Musical.ly website
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Lipsynching to your favourite song has always been popular, but in the past year has become a part of our mainstream media thanks to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and his epic lip sync battles with other celebrities. If your child loves music like mine does, then no doubt they have asked you if they can have the app Musical.ly.  Rolling Stone magazine just published an interesting article  about how many big pop stars including Katy Perry are using the app to release new singles.

What is it? 

The Musical.ly app is a video platform that lets users create, save and share videos up to 15 seconds in length.  You can select music or other or quotes from movies/tv shows etc from the online library and then film a video of you with this as the "soundtrack".  There are lots of special effects you can add including fast and slow motion, filters, time lapse and duet capabilities.  The app essentially lets users be creative and express themselves.

Here is an excellent overview that Common Sense Media created: 

When you watch a Musical.ly video you can:

  • Like it (by clicking on a heart) 

  • Leave a comment (musical.ly prompt you by "say something nice")

  • Share the video on Facebook (and Facebook messenger), Instagram,

  • Report abuse

The terms of service state that users must be 13 years old to use this platform.

If you decide to let your child use Musical.ly, here are some things I think you should know:

  • You need to know their account name and password.
     
  • You should create an account for yourself too so that you can follow your child and see the videos they share.  
     
  • Set the account settings to Private (the default setting is Public).  When private setting is turned on it will hide the location from other users and only permit friends private messages.  To access the privacy setting you click the "wheel" in the upper right hand when you are on the user profile page.  Next, click "settings", scroll down to "privacy" and move the switches for "private account, hide location info, and only friends can direct.ly me" to ON.
     
  • Routinely check who is following your child and ensure both of you know all of the followers. Also check what accounts your child is following to ensure the content is appropriate.  Remind your child that you can check their account any time you want to make sure they are safe and using the app appropriately.
     
  • Know that not all of the songs are appropriate for kids and may have explicit lyrics.
     
  •  Discuss with your kids what you deem is ok and not ok for filming.  For example "no filming in your bedroom"

Be aware of the dangers of using apps like this too.  Google it, there are no shortage of stories of pedophiles using this app...

Why I let my kid use Musical.ly

My kid has an account.  I monitor it all of the time, and I review who he follows and who is following him.  We have not had any negative experiences to deal with so far.  What I love about the app is that he is super creative and he is having fun.  I am amazed at some of his videos and have even joined in on a duet with him a couple of times.

Ultimately, the choice is YOURS whether you decide to allow it or not.  Let me know what you think!