Styled as ‘not another social network’, BeReal is marketed as an antidote to the overly curated feeds and filters of sharing giants, Instagram and TikTok.
Authenticity is the BeReal app’s currency, as it aims to break the patterns of Insta vs Reality culture by shining a light on its users’ genuine, everyday lives.
Gen-Z is leading the craze for BeReal, and in recent months its popularity has exploded with downloads reported;y rising over 300% since the start of 2022.
Each day, users receive a random notification to say ‘it’s time to BeReal’ with a two-minute window to share a picture of what they’re doing right in that moment. The idea behind this quick-fire sharing mechanic is to rip up the rulebook on curated content and start a movement for unfiltered sharing.
In a quirky twist from most other apps, the app takes a photo using both your front and back camera at the same time, capturing a dual perspective of what it is that you’re up to.
If you miss the window to post, you can’t access other users’ content until you do. Once you’ve posted, the app’s ‘Discover’ section is unlocked, and you gain access to view other users’ posts from that day.
BeReal has also done away with traditional ‘like’ mechanics, enabling users to use a ‘realmoji’ of their actual face and human reaction to their friends’ pictures.
Is BeReal a good app for teens to use?
Designed to break some of the socially-damaging patterns of traditional social channels, the intent behind the app is positive. Users are alerted as to how many times someone has retaken their photo, so you get an idea of how ‘real’ it actually is.
By not allowing access to the main feed of content without sharing first, the BeReal app makes it difficult to ‘lurk’ online, and promotes a more socially-proactive environment where users aren’t hiding in the virtual shadows.
The once-a-day posting mechanic also puts a stop to mindless scrolling, creating a dedicated pocket of time in the day to keep up with and share what you’re doing with friends
With its calendar view of your daily posts called ‘memories’, you can use BeReal to keep a digital diary of your life. The caption feature allows you to expand on your activities, and helps you to keep a record of what’s happening in the moment that you can look back on later.
The realmoji feature is a great way to bring a personal touch to engaging with other users’ posts. It adds a human element that’s removed from the passive ‘like’ culture of other social apps. By taking a selfie, you can give your friends kudos and reaction to whatever they’ve posted.
BeReal also helps prevent social media procrastination. Once you’ve posted and checked out what your friends are up to, there’s no reason to keep on scrolling, making BeReal more of a healthy habit when it comes to spending time online.
There are no filters, so what you see is what you get! Most social media apps allow you to distort your image, which experts believe has led to huge rise in anxiety and unhealthy comparisons with others. BeReal eschews this trend with its raw posting aesthetic.
Is there a negative side to BeReal?
As with all things in life, nothing is perfect. While BeReal definitely offers a refreshing alternative to many of the downsides of social sharing, it’s not without its flaws.
If you don’t post a picture within the two minute window, your post is marked as ‘late’, which your friends get a notification informing them about. This can put pressure on users to be on high-alert to watch out for the daily posting deadline. It can also be a mark of shame for users to be called out for being late to the party – something socially-anxious teens might find uncomfortable about.
The posting window also can cause users to feel panicked, and may make them rush into sharing something embarrassing or inappropriate to make the deadline. Not having time to consider what you’re posting and what the consequences might be can encourage impulsive and even dangerous behavior.
The BeReal app also proactively discourages you from deleting content that you’ve posted. You are forced to give a reason for deleting content. If you choose to get rid of a post, you’re banned from removing the next one. While this can help users let go of the idea of being post-perfect, it can also lead to embarrassment or humiliation if content can’t be removed.
Is BeReal safe?
Many parents with teens and tweens who love their social media apps will be intrigued by the principles behind BeReal. But is it safe?
The lack of social comparison is a great feature to help mitigate the negative impact of counting likes and online popularity contents.
BeReal’s terms & conditions state that “BeReal is open to users over the age of 13 only, and.Apple certifies the app ‘12+’ and Google certifies it ‘Teen’, which means that users may encounter suggestive themes, crude content, bad language or mild violence. As with all social platforms, children should only connect with, and follow, people they know in ‘real life’, which can reduce, but not completely remove the risks of seeing something they shouldn’t.
While BeReal is designed for friends, users can upload their content to the public feed, and if this is something your child is doing regularly, it can leave them vulnerable to predatory behavior.
How can I protect my kids using BeReal?
BeReal was developed in France, which makes it bound to follow the data and privacy protections of the EU. This means BeReal is required to be transparent about what data it collects, what it uses it for, and how long it stores it.
When it comes to adding more security features to protect teens when using BeReal, parents should also consider the following things to make the experience as positive as possible.
1. Make BeReal private.
The pictures you share are automatically private, but you can upload them to the public feed should you wish. This means they’re discoverable by all other users. Educate your child about this and ensure that they never enable this setting when the press post.
2. Turn off location settings.
You can share where you are when you post your content. Ensure your teen never does this. Even when only sharing with friends, content can end up in the wrong hands and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Teach proper digital etiquette.
Never give out personal or identifying information that could be used against them.
4. Keep talking.
Check in with your child about their social media habits, and leave the door open for them to share their concerns at any time.
Ensure your teen understands that whatever goes online, stays online. What you post lives on in your digital footprint and can impact everything from college applications to future employment prospects. If in doubt, don’t post.
5. Have a family media plan.
Set clear boundaries at home about social media use. Outline how often, and for how long, teens can use their devices. Display these rules somewhere easy to see in your home, and review regularly.
6. Get some added peace of mind.
By installing Kidslox to monitor the time your child is spending online. You can also block dangerous sites and add extra layers of security to the apps they use.