New music app causes concern for parents

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - With summer coming, kids will be spending more time on their smartphones and on social media.

One popular app with teens is causing concern for some parents and law enforcement.

The smartphone app musical.ly lets you create music videos and upload them for anyone to see.

“It's a creative outlet for her, she's a little singer,” said Stephanie Neary, a mom from Singer Island with a 12-year-old daughter who loves the app.

Security and internet expert Alan Crowetz, CEO and president of Infostream in West Palm Beach, warns the app can be a gateway for bad guys.

“Pedophiles the kind of people you wouldn't want to be involved in this kind of site are the kind of people it will attract as well as the good people,” said Crowetz.

Jupiter police say it’s another app for strangers to potentially make contact with children.

We found at least one local Facebook group out of Jupiter worried. One mom claiming two grown men contacted her friend's daughter after she used the app.

“Apps like this strike me as the Amazon shopping list Craigslist of children,” said Crowetz.

Alan says that's why it's so important for parents to talk to their kids about online safety.

“They should not talk to strangers like they would in real life,” explained Crowetz. “They should be careful what information they share. They should be taught to secure their accounts rather than keeping them open.”

Mom Stephanie knows the dangers all too well.

“I know there can be creepers out there and that's a concern of mine because my daughter is impressionable at 12-years-old,” said Stephanie.

That's why she watches her daughter's accounts and music videos very closely.

“I like to see what's going on and I've never seen anything inappropriate,” said Stephanie.

A spokeswoman with musical.ly e-mailed this response:

musical.ly prioritizes the safety of our users and strives to ensure that all Musical.ly users can enjoy our application without abuse or threats from any other user.  We take appropriate measures to expeditiously remove offensive or inappropriate content from the musical.ly app.  Our users can also block any other user from contacting them and they can report abusive users or communications to us through the application.  Messages from friends are clearly identified from unknown senders so users can tell who is contacting them and can decide whether to engage. We are also implementing machine-learning technology to scan messages to block spam and inappropriate content.

 

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