BeReal. App Guide for Parents

, you're logged in!
May 12, 2022

Become a member or log in to view this course

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Login as a VIP to learn more about the BeReal. app

This BeReal. app guide will help VIP members learn:

  • What is the BeReal. app?
  • Why do students want to use it?
  • What are the dangers of using BeReal.?
  • What can parents do to keep kids safe on BeReal. app?

Unlock this video to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on BeReal.

Become a member or log in to view this course

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

BeReal. is the latest social media app aimed at bringing online social interactions back to “real life.”  With the absence of camera filters or editing options, the idea of authenticity is gaining traction and the download rate has seen an increase of 315% since the start of the year.  (Source: NPR

Although the chance to see a more accurate glimpse into our friends’ lives may sound appealing, this new app poses a few dangers to students that parents need to know.

Parent training video

What we're covering in this video:

(Click on a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What is BeReal.?
  2. Why should parents care about BeReal.?
  3. Potential dangers using BeReal.
  4. Why do students want to use BeReal.?
  5. Tips for keeping your students safe on BeReal.?

What is BeReal.?

  • BeReal. is a social app designed to share photos with your friends
  • The app notifies users at a random time, once per day, to take an unfiltered photo through the app and then post it for their friends to view
  • There is a two-minute time limit to take the picture using both the front and back cameras simultaneously on the phone
  • BeReal. users can take a do-over photo within the two minutes, but friends will be notified that it is not the original photo
  • Users can not see others’ photos until they have made their daily post
  • If the user is late posting their photo, that will be posted with the photo
  • Users can post a “RealMoji” which is a photoreaction to any post, but can only comment on friends’ posts
  • There is a “Discovery” tab to scroll through everyone on BeReal. that posts publicly
  • BeReal. states that users must be at least 13 years old to use the app

Where is BeReal. available and who can use it?

BeReal logo

Why do students want to use BeReal.?

  • The app is low commitment since you can only post a photo once a day
  • Connects them to their friends both near and far
  • Less pressure to take a “perfect” photo and allows a real glimpse into others’ lives

Why should parents & educators care?

  • There are no parental controls built into the app
  • There is a location-sharing feature and a “Snap Map” style map that allows users to share their location when taking a picture and see where all of their friends are
  • By posting every day and sharing your location, habits can be determined by predators
  • With the pressure of only 2 minutes to take a picture, personal information (like an address, name, credit card or account information on a piece of paper) could easily be included in the photo and published 
  • Since the notification to post arrives at a random daily time, it may appear while the user is in the car, pressuring the driver to take a photo and post while driving
  • There is no way to have a private account, although users can choose to post each individual photo to “My friends only” or on to the “Discovery” page where strangers can view and comment on photos
  • There is an option to report or block content or other users on the Android, but the only option on the iPhone is to report
  • Although there is an age limit of 13 and a birthdate is required, an email address is not required and  it would be very easy for a younger user to enter an inaccurate birthday when setting up your account
  • When using the app on an Android, strangers can share your photo on other social media platforms without your permission

What can parents & educators do?

  • Join BeReal. for yourself and get to know how it works for yourself
  • Have a discussion with your student about why they want to use the app
  • Discuss the dangers of sharing your location online
  • Talk about the personal information that should not be shared with others such as addresses, banking information, etc.
  • Turn off all notifications except for the “Time to BeReal.” notification and encourage your student to only share photos with friends, not publicly
  • Help students recognize that missing one day isn’t a crisis and how they might connect with friends in other ways if they miss that 2-minute window
  • Remind your students that it is never okay to text or take photos while driving

BeReal. is slightly different between the Android and Apple apps. Below we show how to adjust settings in both devices:

How to turn off location sharing (iPhone)

  • Go to Settings in your iPhone
  • Scroll down, tap “BeReal.”
  • Tap “Location”
  • Tap “Never”

How to turn off location sharing (Android)

  • Go to Settings in your Android
  • Scroll down, tap “Apps”
  • Tap “BeReal.”
  • Tap “Permissions”
  • Tap “Location”
  • Tap “Don’t allow”

How to turn off notifications

  • Open the app on your student’s device
  • Tap the icon in the top right corner
  • Tap the 3 dots in the top right corner
  • Tap “Notifications”
  • We suggest turning off all of these notifications to decrease the amount of distractions
  • On the Android, the app gives you an option to disable the BeReal. notification for 12 hours

BeReal. dangers

Why Sharing Your Location on social media is a bad thing. The safety and privacy concerns behind location sharing
Not only does your social media status update or location check-in information tell somebody where you currently are, but it also tells them where you aren’t. This information can be just as dangerous in the hands of criminals—particularly when you post enough data to identify patterns in your daily or weekly routines.

Lifewire

7 pieces of personal information you should think twice about sharing on social media
If certain pieces of personally identifiable information end up in the wrong hands, you could fall victim to identity theft, phishing, or other types of fraud.

Mental Floss

Conclusion

The idea of a more genuine and authentic social media experience may sound very appealing to many students today.  Although the simple idea behind the BeReal. app sounds less distracting than other social platforms, there are still dangers for students.  

Tell us what you think! Are your students asking for BeReal. or already sharing one photo a day?

Additional Resources

Listen to MomTalk podcast where Beth and Andrea discuss BeReal.


, can you give us some feedback about this lesson?

Logged in and still not seeing content? This course may not be part of your membership plan. Click here to join.

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We Release VIP Content Each Month:

Some content is free, others require a VIP membership

Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with SmartSocial.com
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Youtube
Spotify

Here are some of the latest resources at SmartSocial.com:

BeReal. App Guide for Parents

Fill out this form to receive free tips each week

Note: Many of our 400+ resources now require a low-cost membership to help us deliver great research and expert safety guides. Become a member today, login here, or have your district request a partnership to make these resources free for your community.