Musical.ly is a stunningly popular app that’s been grabbing the attention of not just adults, but teens and even grade school kids. Using the Musical.ly app, users can:
- Create brief videos of themselves lip syncing or dancing to songs or movie scenes, TV scenes, and it even has a special category for Disney films.
- Create videos of users performing original work.
- Create videos of remixes of well-known songs.
- Post these to a feed for viewing.
- Browse endless videos of other users and recording stars.
It’s important to note that some of the app’s top ranked users appear to be in grade school, even though Musical.ly’s TOS states it prohibits users younger than 13. This application doesn’t garner age information of users. Though this app attracts a large contingent of young children, it does not openly market to them. It markets to the 13 and over demographic, but the app company’s support page does have a section devoted towards parents.
So just because an app attracts a lot of kids who haven’t yet learned their multiplication tables, does this mean there is an inherent danger or privacy concern in this application, which really, is all about music and fun?
Sometimes that fun can go over the edge for a 10 year old. Whenever a tween is socializing with adults, there are too many things that can go wrong. It’s common for women and men in their 20s to be dancing and lip syncing in their underwear, strutting their stuff. And when a child sees this, they mimic that behavior and create the same video. Now adults are watching and sharing a video that your little girl shot in her bedroom. Not cool.
Thus far, there is no evidence or data that points towards any harm in young kids using this application, even though it’s marketed towards those older than 13 (perhaps just to comply with child privacy laws).
In fact, so far, it seems as though the biggest harm is the exposure of children to songs that contain sexual content. But gee, wouldn’t they be exposed to this on TV or at least, as far as lyrics, on an old-fashioned radio?
My young kids take dance lessons. All the kids at their dance school use Musical.ly. They asked me if they could download the apps to my phone (because my kids don’t yet have their own cell phones) for fun. It didn’t take much research and a concerned parent’s observation to determine my answer. My children won’t be using the Musical.ly app, and neither should your children.
Please consider sharing this post with other parents of young children.