Music.ly (pronounced as if there were not a period), is a video social media platform based around (you guessed it) music and marketed by the company as a way to “live with passion, live music.ly”

It has been one of the most popular topics among teens in my office. And…one of the most concerning sites among their parents. My standard for anything teen related is to test it out myself.  So, today I created a Music.ly  account and started playing around with it.

Music.ly 101

Signing Up Is Easy

  • Download the app
  • Create a login by using your phone number, email, or Facebook account
  • Choose a user name (mine is playtherapymom) and password
  • Upload a selfie (or skip it)
  • Search for your contacts that are already on the app
  • Start following “popular” people as suggested by the app
  • Set your privacy settings (the default is public access to everything).

What Do You Do On Music.ly?

1. WATCH VIDEOS:

You can watch videos that other people made.  They are videos of people lip syncing and dancing to different songs.

Some of them are pretty funny. Some of them are frankly, just silly. Some of these kids are amazingly talented dancers and super creative people. Assuming you have friends on here, you would be interested in watching the videos that they made.

WHY?

You might be wondering why people would watch other strangers lip sync music videos.  The only answer I can give you is that it seems to be entertaining.

I have to admit that I got caught up for more than a few minutes just browsing the popular videos.  It gave me flashbacks to my childhood when we actually watched music videos on MTV.

2. CREATE VIDEOS

Next up, create your first video.  Start by choosing a song.  Then, there are different “special effects” that you can choose to enhance your video. Hold the record button on your phone and sing and dance away.

WHY?

Again, there is an entertainment factor is creating these videos.  It’s fun and silly and the effects make it even more fun and silly.  Honestly, it is harder than it looks to make it look good. The featured music.ly videos make it look so easy.  My videos were not impressive.

I can see why it is fun for all ages.  In fact, I think my toddlers will have a blast watching themselves sing “Let It Go.”  Follow me on music.ly and you might get to see that!

The Potential Dangers of Music.ly?

So, at first glance, this social media platform seems harmless enough. But is it safe?

Common sense media lists 50 reviews where people talk about potential dangers of this site and give a cautious approval for those 14 and up. Among their concerns:

Your Music.ly videos AND LOCATION are not automatically set to private.

The default setting is for anyone, anywhere to fan you and see your videos. This allows complete strangers to watch your videos and direct message you.

(Go to settings to set privacy settings for only friends can contact, hide location and set account as private). 

Quickly links to inappropriate content.

Using the hashtags, you can easily go from a harmless video to a mildly inappropriate video and some parents say, even to explicit adult content. (I will say I searched for inappropriate content and it didn’t come up as fast as I expected.  But, based on reviews, this seems to be a huge problem).

Music lyrics have suggestive sexual content.

The problem most parents seem to have is with young children lip syncing to music that has suggestive sexual content (that they may or may not understand) and often includes dancing that is also mildly to overtly sexual in nature as well.

(You can report inappropriate content directly in the app or by emailing info@musical.ly). 

Difficult to Monitor.  

With private settings and other restrictions in place, parents reported that it was still too difficult to monitor.  Many parents reported that children were messaged by “weirdos” or accidentally got linked to content that they were not looking for.

Time Consuming Distraction. 

As with most social media, this is a time consuming distraction.  A hunt for likes, a way to avoid homework, or something that keeps kids from going to sleep.  I can see where kids would watch and make these videos until sunrise.

Final Thoughts

I would not allow any elementary school ages children (or younger)  to use this app without DIRECT supervision.  Meaning, you are standing next to them while they are filming and are closely monitoring all content.

For children in middle school and older, I would proceed with strong caution.  Know your child and their level of trustworthy-ness. Do some research and set reasonable limits based on your child’s age, maturity, and current behaviors.

 

Why a white daisy?

Apparently, when people  are asked to draw a flower, the first one that comes to mind for a majority of people is the daisy shape.   This single flower (just the flower part without the stem or any leaves and on a solid black background) was show to study participants after being shown a high-arousal negative image. Examples of high-arousal negative images include awful things like violence, injuries and car crashes.  Two trials were conducted:  in the first subjects were shown a high arousal image and then either a) the flower image b) a mosaic of fragments of the flower image or c) a visual fixation point.  In the second trial, the high arousal image was followed by either a) the flower image, b) a chair (deemed a neutral image) or c) a blue sky with clouds (deemed a positive non-floral image).   Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were taken throughout the experiments.  

As expected, mean blood pressure was lower when participants viewed the flower versus the fixation point or the mosaic flower,  but what was unexpected is that the flower image actually reduced mean blood pressure to a level lower than the baseline.  Both the flower image and the blue sky had a similar positive impact in changing mood from negative to positive (with the blue sky having the most overall impact).  However, only the flower (not the sky) caused a reduction in mean blood pressure.  It was determined that viewing a simple flower image could in fact change a negative mood into a more positive one and also decrease blood pressure. 

The power of the single flower image was then studied in regards to salivary cortisol levels.  During this study, the high-arousal images were once again paired with the flower image, the flower fragment mosaic or the fixation point.  Once again, only the flower image was shown to significantly decrease stress during the recovery phase. One final examination looked at fMRI images of the brain during these conditions.  Through this imagery it was discovered that the flower image was effective in decreasing the amygdala-hippocampus activation that occurred after viewing the high arousal images. Researchers speculated that the flower image was a distraction tool that was helped prevent the recall of the stressful images.  

The brief viewing of this single flower image was shown to be effective at reducing negative emotions and created better functioning of both the cardiovascular and endocrine systems! Having such a simple tool available to help reduce stress and regulate unpleasant emotions and is one possible tool for interrupting ruminating thoughts or unpleasant flashbacks.  

About the Author Jen Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>