The popular Musical.ly App isn’t currently featured on the NSPCC’s Net Aware site, so I wrote to them asking for advice. Here’s their response:
Thank you for suggesting that Musical.ly should be included on our Net Aware site.
Musical.ly does not currently feature on our Net Aware site. This is because it was not in the top 50 sites that children and young people told us they were using last year. As such we cannot give you reviews from parents or children at this time. As Musical.ly is now very popular amongst children it will be included in our next update of Net Aware this year and we are in the process of asking parents and young people what they think about it.
In the meantime I have got in touch with our Online Safety Helpline in case you would like some more information about pupils in your school using Musical.ly safely. They have said:
When you set up an account your profile is immediately public and you need to go into the settings to make it private.
You are able to stop private messages being sent to you but you have to change the settings to do this.
There is a feature called My City which shows all of the videos that are being made by people with public accounts in your area. You need to turn this off too otherwise any videos you make will be publicly shown in this feature and can be viewed by anyone in your location.
Users are able to view other people’s videos, so there is a risk that children may see inappropriate content. There is a reporting feature so that you can report such videos and nasty or bullying comments.
If you would like more information about Musical.ly or about how to change the settings to make it safer, staff at our free Online Safety Helpline will be happy to talk you through the process. You can contact them by ringing 0808 800 5002 and they can help you with any queries that you have about social networks or online safety in general.
The online safety organisation Internet Matters have also produced advice about Musical.ly which you may want to take a look at. You can see it here- https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/musical-ly-app-parents-need-know/. There is also information from the UK Safer Internet Centre on Musical.ly here- http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safety-tools/musically.
On our website we have lots of information about online safety which can help you get to grips with what children like to do on the internet. You can visit our online safety page here- https://www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety.
If you are ever worried about a child’s safety, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, please dial 999.
We hope that this helps.
The Online Safety Team
Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH
020 7825 2500 nspcc.org.uk
Incidentally, like so many other Apps of this type (Instagram, Twitter etc.) there are age restrictions in place for Musical.ly:
musical.ly Terms of Service: 1e Eligibility . THE SERVICE IS NOT FOR PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 13 OR FOR ANY USERS PREVIOUSLY SUSPENDED OR REMOVED FROM THE SERVICE BY THE COMPANY. IF YOU ARE UNDER 13 YEARS OF AGE, YOU MUST NOT USE OR ACCESS THE SERVICE AT ANY TIME OR IN ANY MANNER. Furthermore, by using the Service, you affirm that you are at least 18 years of age.
If there are any other e-safety issues you’d like to discuss please do contact us at school.
Computing Teacher & Head of IT