Being cyber safe
Our girls love to dance, sing and perform. They love to share such imaginative endeavours with their peers. While philosophically, such expressions of creativity are applauded, the reality can have very negative consequences when such sharing is online and through an app such as Musical.ly.
A significant number of Junior School girls have Musical.ly accounts. Much media coverage has surrounded this app with the following concerns being raised:
• Uploaded footage is available publically to anyone who has downloaded the app unless privacy settings are consistently set by all users and followers.
• The location of the footage filming is able to be known unless obscured by the user. Even then the clothing – in some cases school uniform, and background shared in the footage enables location tracking.
• Followers may be adults who are able to then privately message the girls.
• There is adult content as hashtags are being hijacked with pornographic material being uploaded and accessible.
• The terms and conditions of the app state that, “The service is not for persons under the age of 13. Furthermore, by using the Service, you affirm that you are at least 18 years of age”.
Given these concerns, I have chatted with girls in Years 3-6 to advise them to take down their footage and close down their Musical.ly accounts so that they are safe, not exposing themselves to adult content or exploitation and complying with the eligibility conditions of the app. Musical.ly is not accessible to Junior School girls here at school.
Our most helpful IT Integrator, Ben Arber, has provided this advice you can read here with step by step instructions for parents enabling you to activate restrictions on Apple and Android devices. For example, you could prevent the use of certain apps, prevent the installation of new apps, disable in-app purchases, only allowing the installation of apps with appropriate ratings, prevent access to certain websites, and lock down other settings. Settings you select here can’t be changed without the PIN you provide.
We seek your support in working with us to ensure our girls engage in activities that are safe, age appropriate and bring about no negative, unintended consequences.
Media source: Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August 2016 - article by Kelsey Munro.