BeReal Header Image for App Review

What is BeReal?

“BeReal users post a picture, called a “BeReal,” within a random 2-minute window each day from wherever they are, doing whatever they’re doing.” CNET. Read more details below!

App Category: Social Media

APP Store rating: 

How does BeReal work?

  • The app sends users a notification at a random time during the day. Once you’ve received that notification, you have a 2-minute window to post a photo. Photos disappear from BeReal after 24 hours.
  • Who can see your pictures? BeReal shows your picture to your friends who have submitted their own BeReals by default. You can also choose to share your picture PUBLICLY, but only those who have also shared a BeReal picture during that day’s picture window will see it.
  • Pinning Posts. You can now pin up to three posts to display at the top of your profile, similar to Instagram.
  • Mention Friends. BeReal also added the ability to tag others with an @ to tag friends in the post.
  • What happens if you miss the 2-minute window on BeReal? Nothing. No streaks. No follower counts. You just miss seeing your friends’ BeReals from that 2-minute window.
  • Can you edit your BeReal picture? NOPE. This is something that new users love. No filters! But you can delete it if you don’t like it.
  • Can you post outside the 2-minute window? Yes! But BeReal will tell your friends in the push notification that you were late. Shame!
  • How do you add friends on BeReal? You can search the Friends of Friends tab for usernames, or add your contacts from your phone.
  • Who are RealPeople? Users in the UK have access to another public feed, but it’s limited to the “the most interesting people in the world.” These are mainly celebrities, influencers, and well known people that use BeReal to show a more “authentic” version of their life.
  • What are Bonus BeReals? Another feature limited to the UK, Bonus BeReals let users post 2 more pictures a day if they post on time. Nothing revolutionary for most social media, but it’s worth noting for this app.

Does BeReal have any risks? Yes, a few stand out:

  • In a recent study from ParentsTogetherAction, they claim 59% of users on BeReal have been exposed to sexual content while using the app. That’s higher than most other social media platforms according to their survey.
  • Could my child add a friend who they don’t know on BeReal? Sure, similar to other social networks.
  • Could someone send an inappropriate photo on BeReal? Sure, this is a real risk.
  • Is BeReal addictive? There’s 2 sides to this. When you receive the glaring warning that the 2-minute window has started, your brain fires off some stress hormones. There’s anxiety. On the other side of the equation, you can quickly view your friends’ BeReal photos. This can last minutes or longer, depending on how many comments and reactions you add. Thumbing through the PUBLIC feed can be addictive, feeling a little like the Instagram Explore feed. BeReal touts itself as the anti-scroll, but some users report fascination with the public feed. 
  • Does BeReal share my location? Yes! Geo-location is ON by default, which is a bummer. This means if you decide to post your BeReal to the public Friends of Friends feed, then you risk showing your location to strangers.
  • The Friends of Friends tab is where people can choose to share their BeReal publicly. We didn’t see explicit photos, but these clearly aren’t moderated. If you’re going to allow your child to use this app, then this is a spot worthy of conversation.
  • Sharing Music on BeReal. Users can share a song from either Spotify or Apple Music along with their post. Explicit songs are surely to be around, stay mindful of this! Especially in the Friends of Friends tab.

How to turn off location sharing on BeReal:

  • When posting your BeReal, in the bottom part of the screen you’ll see a location icon.
  • Tap on this location icon – you will be able to turn location off.
  • Now your location in BeReal is disabled. It’s simple!

The bottom line: is BeReal safe?

BeReal is social media, but a slightly less intense version. Slightly less pressure to perform. Slightly less temptation to scroll mindlessly. Yet, has potentially more risk of explicit and suggestive content. Not the perfect “anti-TikTok” or “anti-Instagram” that it markets itself to be, but kids will want to try it. We especially don’t like the geo-location sharing or the Friends of Friends (public photo) features. Please be careful!

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

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