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Is BeReal safe for my child?
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Jun 24, 2024
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What Is BeReal? Is It Safe for My Child?

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Social media has completely changed our lives. Remember the old days when you used Facebook to share posts and leave creative and funny videos on their pages? There were no stories in the newsfeed and no advertising attempting to sell you anything. 

Now, everything has changed, and social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, have become giants in promoting products and services online. Sometimes, it irritates us, and for this reason, we do not even want to log in because we know how difficult it is to resist a tempting advertisement, especially when it shows great deals on products we searched for an hour ago. 

Our friends, relatives, colleagues, and even our university friends post their stories and photos using masks or special filters so they do not look as they do in real life. For those who make new acquaintances online, this is a double shock, as meeting a person offline can, gently saying, disappoint. It is the result of hunting for a “perfect photo”. 

We are so obsessed with getting likes and comments under our posts that we forget to live our real lives and enjoy every moment. The worst thing many people go through is stress, anxiety, and depression when watching other’s attractive photos, stories, and reels, thinking they have a much better life than they do. However, the fact is that if someone appears to have a perfect life, it doesn’t mean they actually do.

BeReal is a new social media app designed to change how we use social media by making it more transparent and authentic. What does it offer, and are there any risks you, as a responsible parent, should know about? Let’s delve into it in this BeReal review.

What Is BeReal?  

Well, so what is BeReal? According to Wikipedia, BeReal is a “French messaging app released in 2020, developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau.” The app is opposite to Instagram or Facebook – it is all about unfiltered social media app use. It is against perfection and photoshopped content. Its main goal is to encourage “users to share photos with friends of themselves and their day-to-day life given a randomly selected two-minute window every day.” 

What is BeReal?

Although the app suits any gender and age group, it is the latest obsession for Gen Z. BeReal can help kids see the world and themselves more realistically. It’s designed to prevent mental health issues that come from comparing one’s life to the unrealistic perfection often portrayed on social media.

The app takes a unique approach: you can’t see others’ photos until you’ve posted your own. There’s no liking; reactions are expressed with face emojis only. When using the app, you must be real on social media. 

The other features that make this app unique are as follows:

  • Users should take a photo with the rear camera and take a selfie at the same time
  • Friends can comment on uploaded photos and view the location using the map feature
  • Instead of likes, users react to photos with RealMojis, representing their genuine reactions
  • Users can choose to share their daily snaps publicly, whereas others can react with RealMojis but cannot comment
  • Users can write a short reflection or caption about their day or the moment captured after uploading their photo, encouraging thoughtful interaction and genuine sharing
  • To view others’ photos, users must first upload their own. No upload means no scrolling through the feed
  • There is also a Discovery feed where users can explore photos from people worldwide who have opted to share their posts publicly.
  • According to BeReal’s Terms of Use, only those who are at least 13 years old can use the app
  • The app is designed to be used briefly each day, during the window when users receive their notifications and post their photos. It limits the amount of time users spend on the app, promoting a more balanced use of social media
  • The content users share through the platform should be unique and do not belong to other users. It says, “If you share Content that you do not have the right to use or that violates laws, rules, regulations, or the User Agreement, we have the right to remove it, and we will remove it. No complaints”.

How Does BeReal App Work?

How does BeReal work?

BeReal, unlike the other social media platforms, focuses on “spontaneous moments” and those taken from “real life.” The app does not allow edited or filtered content in any way, meaning the users cannot share photos that were made with a professional camera and then photoshoot to make them perfect.

The distinctive feature of using this app is that BeReal users have a two-minute window to take real pictures. Users have two minutes to take their pictures, with the prompt time changing daily to keep things spontaneous and avoid staged photos. One can retake their photo once and post it within two hours. Another peculiarity is that only friends who have also posted a photo can see what has been shared on other’s BeReal profiles.

Privacy and Safety

So, is BeReal safe for kids? As mentioned earlier, the BeReal app is designed for users who are 13 years old and up. However, like any other social media platform, BeReal may expose kids to content or people you may not allow as a parent. That being said, the app does not have built-in features like restricted mode or parental controls. What does it mean? Parents cannot control or monitor their kids’ interactions using this platform. It poses a significant risk, as children can easily access age-inappropriate content that can hurt their mental well-being.

Dangers of BeReal

The idea of ​​unfiltered authenticity is appealing but also raises safety concerns, especially for young people. In this section, we will examine some critical potential risks associated with this program and answer the main question many users ask: “Is BeReal safe?”

Pressure to Share on the Spot

As mentioned earlier, BeReal encourages users to share their real photos and share what they do or where they are at the moment, which creates pressure to post immediately, even if it is inconvenient, inappropriate, or unsafe. It may force the kids to share their content without considering the privacy or safety of sharing the data (as sometimes kids are run by emotions and may not even understand the consequences of sharing the data publicly).

Sharing Location

Similarly to Instagram, BeReal users frequently add their location tags when sharing their content online. This may inadequately disclose their private information, such as home address, frequent location, or current whereabouts, making it easier for strangers to find them in real life. 

Inappropriate Content

There is no room for filtered content when using the BeReal app. It means your child can see not only their friends’ posts but also posts from their friends’ friends. So, if they share 18+ content and share inappropriate thoughts under their posts, your kid may also see that. BeReal has no tool to filter the content kids can see. Of course, adolescents can navigate the platform better, but younger kids are mostly unprepared for such unexpected content.

Unwanted Communication

Given that your kid can see the posts of their friends’ friends, there is a high risk they will receive a text message from people they might not be familiar with. It can lead to undesired communication, including interactions with strangers with bad intentions. 

Oversharing

Oversharing is the other risk when using the platform. Because BeReal encourages its users to share their real-time experiences through regular posting, it can lead to oversharing. Your child can post every moment of their daily life, which can tell too much about their personality. This lack of privacy can expose them to various risks, including cyberbullying, bullying, and exploitation. Online predators and pedophiles can also use this information to understand your kid’s preferences better and target them more effectively.

What Do Kids Like About BeReal?

Kids love how easy the app is to use. But what they love more is how it greatly connects them with their online friends, creating a feeling they have known them all their life. The platform’s regular notifications of posting real-time content encourage kids to take photos of where they are at the moment, who they communicate with, or what they do. In addition, kids may search for celebrities, bloggers, or influencers there.

Regardless of whether they are at school, staying at home and playing games, or walking with their friends, the other BeReal users will also know about that. And this information adds a sense of connection to their friends that other social media apps don’t provide. That is one of the features that makes kids like the platform so much.

The other reason why kids love BeReal is that it has a positive social media environment. They may not feel stressed or sad when using the platform, as they do not worry about the quality or likes under their posts. Moreover, because the platform does not allow sharing masks or photoshopped images, there’s less opportunity for kids to compare themselves to others and feel bad about their lives. Be who you are and simply share your daily moments – that is what being a BeReal user means. 

What Do Parents Need to Know About BeReal

Because the BeReal platform appeared in 2022, it is less well known than the world’s giants, Facebook or Instagram, with over 3 million and 2 million monthly active users, respectively. However, offering many more possibilities and a more entertaining environment, the platform is capturing more and more kids to join it. That is why parents should pay attention when their kids share content online. 

Tips and Guidelines

There are certain tips and guidelines parents must tell their kids when creating a profile on BeReal:

  • Sharing photos: As a parent, you should check whether the posts your kids share online are not publicly shared. Check whether they are not shared in the “Discovery” (means open to everyone) timeline when your kids post them. Also, talk with your kid and explain the importance of sharing private photos. Tell them why posting sensitive data is dangerous and explain the possible consequences so they understand what to share and what is better not to share with their friends.
  • Friends list: Ask your child to allow only the trusted family members to follow your kid. Also, your child can control who sees their posts. Explain to them why only trusted people can access it – by doing so, you will be certain strangers won’t get access to your kid’s online content they share on BeReal. 
  • Location sharing: Like any other social app, BeReal allows location sharing. Ask your kid not to share it when posting content or messaging to friends. 
  • Personal information: Besides location sharing, kids should not share their home addresses, phone numbers, credit card details, or sensitive photos with other users. Explain to them that the people they share this information with can easily use it to their advantage. So, before posting, if they are vague about whether the content is safe to share, it is better to think twice. 
  • Set screen time limits: To ensure your child balances online and offline activities, set screen time limits.

Pros and Cons of the BeReal App

Here is a short explanation of the BeReal app for kids. As a parent, you should know these details to decide whether to allow your child to create an account or continue using the app if they already have one.

Pros

  • Good online communication platform that is free to use
  • Has age restrictions so that only those who are 13 and older can register and use the app
  • Helps kids stay connected with their friends round-the-clock
  • Does not allow filters or Photoshop, encouraging users to show their real selves without the pressure of looking perfect
  • Sharing posts is allowed once or twice a day, reducing the app’s excessive use
  • Available in 13 languages

Cons

  • Sharing location data with strangers can lead to serious risks
  • Kids may feel pressured to share their real-time content even when they don’t want to
  • Other users may know too much about your kid’s life through the frequent real posting
  • Risk of sharing sensitive or personal information with online predators
  • The app uses front and back camera to take photos at random times, which may raise privacy concerns due to the constant pressure to create and posts content in a 2-minute interval
  • Users who don’t post within this timeframe might be publicly reminded of being late
  • Photo-sharing apps can increase vulnerability to cyberbullying due to the rapid and widespread sharing of images and comments, which can be challenging to remove once posted
  • Kids may have screen addiction caused by the BeReal app and experience the so-called feeling of FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

How to Keep Your Kids Safe If They Use BeReal?

When all the dangers are listed, how can you protect your kid? Firstly, parents need to know that open communication with their kids is the main priority. They should not be afraid to share their feelings, emotions, and fears with you. You, in turn, as a parent, should never criticize them. Instead, provide them with wise advice on how it would be better to act in a specific situation. This foundation of trust and guidance can empower them to make safer and more informed choices online.

How Can uMobix Help?

How Can uMobix help with BeReal?

In case you have noticed that your kid still shared their geolocation or other content you asked them not to share, you can install a special app, like uMobix, that will help you control BeReal app usage remotely even when you do not have physical access to their cell phone. So, this parental control app will keep you updated on the app usage and send you screenshot reports on how they use it. If you detect that your child might be in danger because someone is encouraging them to share their current location, you can immediately block the BeReal app on their device. 

Additionally, uMobix can block other dangerous apps, games, and even dating apps, restricting them from sharing sensitive data. It can also block porn, calls, and even their device, providing comprehensive protection for your child in case of emergencies.

Wrapping Up

As BeReal gains popularity, parents should be aware of its potential dangers. While maintaining open communication is critical in a parent-child relationship, it’s also important to be proactive. uMobix is ​​a great tool that can clearly understand what apps your child is using and for how long. It can even show you the text messages and files they share with other users while using different social media apps. Having one in your arsenal will keep your child safe while using BeReal and other social networking and instant messaging apps.

FAQ

The safety of the app varies depending on how the person uses it. The BeReal app is dangerous for naive kids who want to share everything with their friends online. It can lead to cyberbullying, bullying, meeting online predators, accessing inappropriate content, and more. Therefore, parents must track their kids' online activities and explain safe practices for online interaction to them.

The age restriction for the BeReal app is 13 years old and above. However, it can vary depending on regional laws and the app's terms of service. Therefore, it is recommended that parents check BeReal and consider whether it's suitable for their kids based on their maturity and readiness for social media.

BeReal sends notifications at a random time daily. User sees the "Time to BeReal" notification sent to their cell phone or tablet. Users have 2 minutes to open the app and take their BeReal.

It all depends on the account's settings. Your kid's posts can be visible to their friends list or the BeReal public, including users they do not know.

Once a BeReal post is published, it remains visible on the app for 24 hours. After this period, the post is archived and moved to the user's private memories, where only the user can access it.

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