A cheery, popular music app geared toward children and teens appears to have a dark side, KTVB reported.
Parents are being warned to pay attention to the app Musical.ly, which has more than 200 million users. The app, which can be used on cellphones, is designed to create and share videos of lip-syncing, which seems harmless enough. However, if certain words are typed into the app, disturbing and inappropriate videos could appear, KTVB reported.
Reports of videos that showed children stripping and flashing the camera have surfaced, along with other users “liking” the actions to egg on the participants. Code words are constantly changing in order to skirt the app’s moderators, KTVB reported.
Videos featuring anorexia, suicide and self-harm also have surfaced when certain words are typed into the app, KTVB reported.
David Gomez, a school resource officer in Meridian, Idaho, who teaches an internet safety class, said it's vitally important that parents not only know what their kids are doing online, but to also tell their kids they are watching.
"As a parent, if you show your kid that you are checking on them and that you do care and that you're going to be watching out for their best interest, a lot of times that will help shape their decisions when you're not around," Gomez told KTVB.
Parents can use parental controls to block the Musical.ly app altogether, the station reported.
It’s been two years since it was revealed that former NAACP branch leader Rachel Dolezal is actually white. Not only is she on the brink of homelessness, having been unable to find a job, but she’s still maintaining that she did nothing wrong by posing as an African-American woman.
“I’m not going to stoop and apologize and grovel and feel bad about it,” she told the Guardian. “I would just be going back to when I was little and had to be what everybody else told me I should be — to make them happy.”
Dolezal stepped down from her position in 2015 when her parents revealed that she was not actually African-American. While she eventually admitted to being “biologically born white to white parents,” she argued that she identifies as African-American, saying that race is “not coded in your DNA.”
She claims to have applied for more than one hundred jobs, but that no one will hire her, aside from those within the reality television and pornography industries. Even her memoir, “In Full Color,” which is due to be released in March, was turned down by over 30 publishers before one picked up the book. She currently relies on food stamps and help from friends in order to get by. She told the Guardian that she will probably be homeless next month.
“Right now, the only place I feel understood and completely accepted is with my kids and my sister,” she said. “The narrative was that I’d offended both communities in an unforgivable way, so anybody who gave me a dime would be contributing to wrong and oppression and bad things – to a liar and fraud and a con.”
Dolezal says her memoir is her way of telling her side of the story and opening up a dialogue about race and identity.
“The times I tried to explain more, I wasn’t understood more. Nobody wanted to hear, ‘I’m pan-African, pro-black, bisexual, an artist, mother and educator,’” she told the Guardian. “People would just be like, ‘Huh? What? What are you talking about?'”
But would she ever consider simply telling people that she’s white?
“No. This is still home to me,” Dolezal said. “I didn’t feel like I’m ever going to be hurt so much that I somehow leave who I am, because I’m me. It really is who I am. It’s not a choice.”
Read the full story at the Guardian.
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