BeReal. App Guide for Parents

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May 12, 2022

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Irene C.

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Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

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.


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