Horrified parents find more than just porn on Musical.ly app

Some parents are having their fears confirmed when a few of them found porn on musical.ly, a popular music app aimed at kids and teenagers. And it's not just porn that you'll be horrified to find there.

Your children may have asked you on more than one occasion about having access to certain apps before. And you have your misgivings… yet you give in, especially if it’s a well-known music app like musical.ly. But some parents had their fears confirmed when a few of them found porn on musical.ly.

Thousands of children have direct access to porn on musicall.ly, which is an app its developers aim at teens. Their parents are clueless to the dangers, a leading cyber safety expert has warned. What’s even more disturbing is that the horrors of this app go beyond just porn. 

Porn on musical.ly

One online website, The New Daily, obtained a login for Musical.ly to find out what’s up. Within 30 minutes, they had located dozens of videos depicting explicit sexual activity.

porn on musical.ly

Porn on musical.ly is a huge danger to young ones using this app.

They also found several videos clearly depicting underage full-frontal and partial nudity. In one video, a girl identifying herself as 11 years old dances suggestively above a comment that includes the hashtags “#f.ckme” and “#f.ckgirl” (our censorship, not the app’s).

The app’s developers say they “prioritize the safety of our users” and “take appropriate measures to expeditiously remove offensive or inappropriate content” from Musical.ly. But obviously the reality is different from the developers’ intentions. 

Poor regulation of porn on musical.ly

“When a user flags content as inappropriate, it is removed within 15 minutes,” a spokesperson said. He also adds that developers were also implementing “machine-learning technology” to block inappropriate content.

The New Daily writes that they flagged two videos depicting underage nudity and female masturbation, respectively as inappropriate. They then requested that the app remove the content, providing detailed reasons why. But 10 days later, the flagged content was still visible.

There are also hundreds of easily-found and frequently “liked” examples of pornography that have not been removed in the week since The New Daily saw them on musical.ly.

Expert advice regarding porn on musical.ly

Susan McLean, a former policewoman who now teaches cyber safety to schoolchildren and their parents, has a lot to say regarding porn on musical.ly. She says the app is phenomenally popular among both pre-teen and teenage children and especially girls. And it’s still popular despite hosting content which includes depictions of hardcore sex, underage nudity and alleged self-harm.

The app is highly popular because it encourages users to video themselves lip-syncing and dancing along to popular music. Thus, they create a “musical” which they upload to the app for other users to view, “like,” and comment on.

“Sexual predators no longer trawl apps like Facebook or Instagram, because they’re so heavily regulated now. The sort of stuff you’ve seen on musical.ly wouldn’t last for two minutes on those apps. The predators have gravitated to apps like musical.ly where they know there’s a high percentage of young children and no active policing,” Ms McLean says.

When a mom finds porn on musical.ly

One parent by the name of Anastasia Basil wrote about what she discovered on musical.ly. She found children as young as eight sexually objectifying themselves on the app.

“The worst thing is watching little kids (as young as eight) sexually objectify themselves. The kids who get it right (the tweeny Kardashians) gain followers. The kids who get it wrong  —  those not “sexy” enough, funny enough, pop-culturey enough  —  are openly ridiculed in the comment section,” she writes.

porn on musical.ly

“They told me I look like a Kardashian, what am I gonna do now?”

Basil also writes that to get past the app’s filters, kids use hashtags like #thot (That Ho Over There), or #fgirl, #hottie, #sxy, #whooty or #sin.

The hashtags change often to keep the app’s filters and monitors from keeping up.

There are even worse things than porn on musical.ly

Basil also found videos of individuals who self-harm on the app.

“There are #selfharm videos that show suicide options  —  bathtubs filling, images of blades, a child’s voice saying she doesn’t want to live any more. I saw a boy with a bleeding chest (yes, real blood). I saw a young girl whose thighs were so cut up,” she says. “The images are deeply upsetting.”

In addition to cutting, there are lots of hashtags and positivity around eating disorders on musical.ly. Users use hashtags like #proana for “pro anorexia” to encourage anorexics to stick together and achieve their goal of not eating.

Most heart-breaking of all is that she found little kids trying to save “slightly older” kids who depicted harming themselves on the app.

“Their effort might seem beautiful, hopeful even, but it isn’t. A child stepping into the darkness of another child is not beautiful, it’s wrong. I saw this comment beneath a #suicide video: ‘u r beautiful plz dont kill urself im only 10 but i will b ur friend.’”

Developing more than porn on musical.ly

Another major concern for McLean is a recently added sub-section of the musical.ly app called Lively. Lively allows any user to host a live stream visible to other musical.ly users.

She has been told of at least one instance of a child allegedly threatening to self-harm. All this while thousands of users from around the world watched. There have also been reports that the function has featured underage nudity.

“I had a woman in Quebec get in touch with me, distraught because there was a girl from Brisbane who was threatening to self-harm on a live stream,” McLean says. “There is no editing, no filtering for this function, which children can use in any way they choose. It needs to be banned.”

McLean’s advice to parents is simple: 

“If your child is under 13, get off it. It’s already illegal, and there are things on there that they just shouldn’t see. If they’re over 13, get on it yourself and convince yourself you’re happy with the environment. I certainly wouldn’t want my child exposed to it.”

 

Sources: The New Daily, Medium

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Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore