If you are above the age of 20, you probably haven’t heard of the app Musical.ly. Musical.ly is a lip-dub app where users can make short clips of themselves lip-syncing to their favorite songs. This app surprisingly has 80 million registered users, or “musers”, who post about 10 million times a day. These so-called “musers” are mostly teens and tweens, but there are even a lot of kids using the app. Musical.ly complies with federal laws that make it so kids under the age of 13 cannot operate an online account on their own, but just like on every other social media outlet kids are lying about their age in order to make an account. Musical.ly has accounts in place to try to monitor these issues but if you spend any amount of time on the app you will be consumed by kids dancing around in their videos.
Musical.ly has created a community where kids are comfortable posting these silly videos, which sounds pretty wholesome. But lets flash back to your own elementary and middle school years, and think of all the poor social decisions you made. Because of features like being able to comment on other peoples’ videos, this app can be dangerous to young kids. If we look at the way young kids behave on other social media outlets, it is no surprise to find that kids on Musical.ly are sharing usernames for Instagram and Snapchat, and even sharing phone numbers on these very public comment sections.
Kids clearly need to be educated on why posting private information online is very dangerous. But what also concerns me about apps like Musical.ly whose demographic is the youngest any social media outlet has seen yet, is just the silly videos themselves. A young girl dancing and singing in her bedroom seems wholesome, but in reality a lot of these videos are kind of creepy. If you type in “Musical.ly” into Youtube, what pops up is not fun, original Musical.ly videos, but instead things like “Top 10 Most Cringe-worthy Kids on Musically Compilation” makes up most of the search results. Any time adults make fun of innocent kids, whether in private or on a public outlet, its gross.
Musical.ly has gained power in the music industry with its large amount of users. There is talk of artists releasing music teasers strictly on Musical.ly, and other impressive things like this. With this power, Musical.ly has an obligation to amp up its regulation of child-users. But because kids make up such large part of the app’s demographic, I doubt that they will.