ARTICLES, INTERNET SAFETY. FACTS ABOUT CYBER BULLYING
The Newest App to Protect Your Kids From
Most parents are aware of the latest and hippest apps around like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, over the last few years, a new app has emerged and is making headway at becoming the top social media app for teens – it’s called musical.ly. You’ve probably never heard of it, and if you have you probably didn’t pay much attention to it—that’s because you’re not the demographic musical.ly appeals to.
The Chinese based app is a social network for video creation and live broadcasting. It’s like an all in one mixture of Vine, Snapchat, and Dubsmash. Users can record a video of their favourite song between 15 seconds and one minute; they can then edit the video to add video effects and filters. A user, called a muser, can then share their creation on the network for other musers to watch and comment on. “I think that musical.ly is a very unique app in the sense that you can put these effects on there that may come from iMovie and you can put filters on there as if you’re on Instagram,” Liza Koshy, a muser with over 2 million followers, told Teen Vogue. The base idea of the app sounds fun, but is it really?
More than just music videos
It seems like a fun app at first, but then you start to do some digging and realize that 13-year-olds shouldn’t be using this platform. In the terms and conditions, you must be 13 to sign up for musical.ly, but it’s easy to find younger kids on the platform—it’s easy enough to put in a different year for your birthday, it’s not like they’re asking to see proof of your birthdate. You can live stream via live.ly; it feeds right into the musical.ly app for all to see. It didn’t take long to realize that this feature isn’t regulated. That’s right, I opened up porn. Now that’s not something you want a 13-year-old to see, right? That doesn’t mean that all other apps are safe from this. It’s just as easy to stumble on porn on a variety of other social media platforms. Either way, it’s something that you don’t want to expose your child to.
Trying to get to the top
It can pay to be followed, literally. Users like 13-year-old Danielle Cohn have cashed in on their musical.ly. She has gained endorsements from major companies like Samsung, Six Flags, Live Nation and others. It hasn’t come without controversy. Buzz Feed published an article earlier this year about how much hate both her and her mom have received as a result of Danielle becoming a social media influencer.
Many other kids want to become influencers or high enough followings that they become a celebrity on the platform. Unfortunately, a lot of these kids find that “sex sells”. By dressing down, they find that they can get views and follows. While that tactic can pay off, it can also lead to cyberbullying. Users can create multiple anonymous accounts to leave negative comments on videos. Google “Musical.ly Cringe Compilation” you can find multiple videos of kids and teens alike that have been plucked and made into a video making fun of their musical.ly videos—at the end of the day, it’s a form of cyberbullying.
Just like many dark corners of the internet you’re bound to find child predators lurking, and in an app that’s full of kids, there is sure to be some there. You can make your account private to try to hide them from the dangers of having others who are not approved see their videos.
The app, however, takes another dark turn, suicide. It doesn’t take much to find suicide notes or self-harm videos left by users. Like many other platforms, musical.ly utilizes hashtags in order to connect users with like-minded videos and communities. The hashtags #selfharm and #cutter seem to have plenty of content, banning it or deleting it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the apps bigwigs.
Every social media platform has its pros and cons, none of these companies are squeaky clean. However, why does a 13-year-old need this app to be popular? Get your teen involved in something healthy, invest their time into sports or activities that will help them grow instead of wasting time away on this app. If you’re on the other side of the coin flip and allow your teen to get musical.ly be sure to make your child’s account private to protect them. If your kid currently has this app and you’ve decided that you no longer want them to have it, be warned that you cannot delete your account at this time, but there is a way to remove your account from being visible while deleting all of its content.