Musical.ly – 9 Things You Need to Know About the App

Musical.ly is a super-fun karaoke-style app that kids in my area absolutely love. And secretly? So do their parents! Let’s break down why Musical.ly is so beloved and what could possibly go wrong with an app centered around singing.

Image via Galit Breen

From the app description: 

“Musical.ly is a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos. Every day, millions of people use Musical.ly as an outlet to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing. The app celebrates creativity with videos recorded in 15 seconds or less and shared across the Musical.ly community.” 

{ MORE: How to Keep Kids Safe on YouTube and Beyond }

Musical.ly users are called “musers.” Musers can watch each other’s creations and:

  • Like it (click a heart)
  • Comment on it (click a dialogue bubble)
  • Ask a question
  • Start a duet
  • Share on Facebook, Facebook messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, E-mail, or via text message (by clicking the three dots)
  • Shoot a video using the same song or clip (by clicking the spinning circle)

By clicking the + at the bottom of the screen, a user can create their own 15-second video.

Users can pick music, shoot first, use something from their own library, or borrow from their friends’ or followers’ music. 

Some (fun) things to note are that Musical.ly:

  • Is creative
  • Is interactive
  • Encourages silliness and risk-taking
  • Incorporates acting and singing 
  • Also has community challenges

9 things to watch for with Musical.ly:

  1. Adult video content
  2. Explicit language in songs
  3. Lots of innuendo in lyrics
  4. Search button can be used to search for any kind of content 
  5. “Rockstar” mentality (how many likes can I get?)
  6. The public setting is automatic, you have to reset it to private
  7. Anyone can private message you
  8. Location settings are ON, you need to manually turn these off (musers can search for each other via “my city”)
  9. You can block users by going to their profile, press on the “…” in the upper right corner, and select “block this user.” You can unblock a user in this same way. 

    { MORE: Is Using Your Phone Around Your Kids Really That Bad? }

Bottom lines

All in all, Musical.ly is a lot of fun and you can probably see why both kids and parents enjoy it. 

Anything that has a social component does require more monitoring and thinking about the kinds of posts your kids are sharing and who (and how!) they are interacting with.

The live video component of apps like Musical.ly up the ante a bit for kids in terms of their vulnerability. They’re really putting themselves out there with these kinds of videos!

This is a wonderful skill that should not be shied away from. But it does require a bit more input and conversation with you about both content and interactions. Which, when you think about it, is not such a bad thing.

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Resources for you

If your kids are starting to show an interest in the online world, I have a detailed checklist for you to use to help start laying the foundation for an ongoing conversation about their digital use. It’s super helpful and you can get it for free RIGHT HERE.

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online courses Boom, Done Digital Parenting™ and Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. You can get her checklist for moms of new(ish) digital kids RIGHT HERE.

What do you think?

Musical.ly – 9 Things You Need to Know About the App

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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