BeReal (Rated 12+, Social Networking)
BeReal is an app that encourages users to share an unedited photo once per day in response to a push message. The user’s friends also receive the same notification, prompting the group to take a picture of what they are currently experiencing.
When users receive an alert, they have up to 2 minutes to share the photo and may then view the images their friends have already uploaded. The software is straightforward, recording a selfie and a front-facing shot simultaneously.
What Draws Children and Teens To Use This App?
The app aims to engage users more authentically than many other popular photo-sharing apps. It has no filters and provides a small 2-minute time window to document your current state. Some BeReal prompts have unique challenges to them that users don’t expect.
What Else Should Parents Know About The App?
Limited App Communication
Users react to photos others post using emojis they can choose from within the RealMojis app. Any other communication is limited to posting captions and descriptions of the submitted photos.
By default, BeReal displays photos to the user’s friends who have already contributed to their BeReals. You can also select to share your photo PUBLICLY, but it will only be seen by people who have already shared a BeReal picture during that day’s picture window.
Inappropriate Content Can Still Be Shared
Captions and descriptions could contain inappropriate and graphic language. Images and videos shared could be wrong without warning. Spontaneous photos are taken of whatever the user wants to share, and those with bad intentions could exploit this.
Location Information Can Be Shared
Geo-location is enabled by default. If a BeReal is uploaded to the public Discover feed, any user can see your location based on the uploaded photos. Given that BeReal prompts users throughout their day, images are highly likely to be taken from private areas like at home.
The BeReal app does not feature parental controls.
Negative Reinforcement of App Usage
One possibility is created by the two-minute time restriction for taking the shot. If the image is missed or uploaded outside the window of time, BeReal sends a notice to all the user’s friends informing them that they were “late.” This negative reinforcement may cause users to prioritize the app between school and work during the day.
Consistent Documentation of Personal Nature
The app encourages users to take “candid” images and videos of themselves, which means users continually divulge their whereabouts, interests, and other possibly personal facts. With no privacy features or blocking abilities, strangers can observe your child or teen’s posts and gain a more intimate knowledge of their day-by-day activities and whereabouts.
If your child or teen uses the BeReal app, I strongly recommend that the geo-location tracking be completely disabled. If they share a photo from a public place they want their friends to know about, they could always type it into the caption or description to share what or where they are attending.
Additionally, your child or teen can discover other people to add to their friend’s list or to add friends from their contact list. Sharing these photos with strangers can be limited by only adding close friends that the family is familiar with or family members.
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