BeReal is a free photo sharing app that aims to offer a more authentic image sharing experience, with over 3.5 million daily active users. BeReal users are prompted each day to take a photo of whatever they are doing, wherever they are, within two minutes of being notified by the app to share a ‘BeReal’ photo. This image is shared with friends on the platform, who can comment and react to the image. The image only lasts a day, before users are notified again to send the next daily photo. The aim is for BeReal users to share real-time images, rather than overly filtered or heavily edited images as seen on other photo sharing platforms. All BeReal images you share are saved to your BeReal calendar, where they are stored as daily memories, which can be compiled into a showreel at the end of each year.

The minimum age restriction for BeReal users is 13, however it does not appear to have any particular age verification methods.

All BeReal accounts are automatically set to private where only user's friends on the app can see.

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.

This app is appealing to many young people as it is unlike many other social media apps. Many other photo sharing apps focus on image, offering a wide range of editing tools to curate the perfect picture. BeReal’s purpose is to be “an authentic, spontaneous, and candid social network”. This is refreshing for many young social media users as they feel they can post more freely without the same level of pressure to look a certain way and without the same level of judgement experienced on other social media platforms.  The app has no ads meaning that users can just see what their friends post without any interruptions, or their feed being influenced by any other factors. By only having two minutes to post it creates a competitive atmosphere of who is going to post first.  

  • Users are prompted to take of picture of themselves and what they are doing. The camera function within the app means users take both a forward-facing image and a selfie simultaneously, showing both what they are doing and what they look like whilst doing it. Users have only two minutes from being notified to share their post.

  • These are selfies that users on the platform can take in reaction to another user’s photo, instead of using an emoji.

  • Users can comment on their friend’s BeReal images.

  • Each daily BeReal post is saved to user’s profile and stored as ‘Memories’. No one else can view their ‘Memories’ and at the end of the year they are compiled into a showreel.

  • This refers to a page on the app where users can view BeReal images that are posted from public accounts. Each time a user posts, they can choose their audience from either ‘Friends’ or ‘Public’. If they choose ‘Public’, their image is available for all users on the platform to see and comment on in ‘Discovery’ mode.

  • If users fail to post their BeReal within two minutes of being notified, it will be marked as ‘late’.

  • This is a small display on a device home screen that shows BeReal activity without having to open the app. Available to iOS users only.

As all of the content created on BeReal is user generated, it is challenging to monitor. Under the terms of service, BeReal invites users to report any content that is sexual or pornographic, includes hate speech, extremism, violence, suicide or self-harm. BeReal states that as a hosting company, it is not obliged to monitor the content posted on the platform, instead relying on users to self-govern and report content they feel is inappropriate. To help limit the type of content your child is exposed to on the platform, it is recommended that they only post and interact with known friends within the app.

While BeReal offers a different type of photo sharing experience for its users, it is possible that some users may still compare their posts with others, or use the platform to showcase how ‘real’ and exciting their lives are. Some users may feel inclined to post in-the-moment photos that they may not otherwise share if given more thinking time before posting. The two-minute time frame within which users have to post their photos may put additional pressure on some users, resulting in them posting images they may later regret. Remind you child what is and is not appropriate to post online, and to talk to you if they encounter content they find disturbing or upsetting.

When users download the app, it syncs with the contacts on that device, creating a list of friends to connect with. By default, BeReal only allows users to share their posts with their friends. However, all users can select their audience for each post, choosing between ‘Friends’ or ‘Everyone’. It is recommended that younger users only share their posts with ‘Friends’. If your child chooses to share their post with ‘Everyone’, all other users on the platform will be able to view and comment on their post.  Speak to your child about the risks of connecting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information within their posts. Encourage them to tell you if they have been asked more personal questions or to chat privately using a different app.

Users of BeReal can react to other user’s posts through ‘Comments’ and ‘RealMojis’. The use of these features may expose your child to bullying behaviours. To help limit harmful interactions, it is recommended your child only shares content with known friends within the app. If your child experiences bullying on the platform, encourage them to report the users by following the instructions in the ‘Reporting and blocking’ section of this app guide.  

When users download BeReal, they are invited to enable location settings, which allows the app to track where they have posted from in the world, showing their location on a map with each post. While this feature does not actively allow users to track the real-time location of other users, it is recommended that location settings are disabled using the settings listed in the ‘Managing interactions and content’ section of this app guide.

The simple design of the platform means it is very easy for users to engage with. Unlike many other social media platforms, BeReal does not have any effects or filters users can apply to their photos, allowing for more authentic images. However, BeReal does allow users to retake their photos, telling their friends how many times that photo was taken. For some users, this could lead to anxiety, feeling they may be judged by others. The time pressure of photo sharing could also lead to some users posting content that they may later regret. If your child has a BeReal account, it is important that they are aware of what they share and the impact this will have on their digital footprint. Have a conversation with your child to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to share.  Ensure your child knows it can be difficult to keep ownership of any content once it has been shared online, as content can easily be copied and reposted without their knowledge and can then become difficult to remove from the internet. BeReal does have a feature which notifies users when their post has been screen shotted. However, this safeguard does not prevent the onward sharing of that image, so users should think carefully about the content they choose to share in their posts.  

The persuasive design of the BeReal app means that that it can be difficult for users to manage their usage of it. The app’s notification dependence means users are constantly being reminded and alerted to engage with the app by sharing a photo or commenting on those posted by friends. Daily notification reminders are sent to users, prompting them to post in real time at randomised times, day or night. If a user fails to post, the notification reminder will remain on the device lock screen, with a timer reminding the user how late their post is. The level of urgency and implied time constraints of the notifications can be very difficult for some users to manage. Explain to your child how the platform is designed to keep users engaged for longer periods of time. This can put some users under pressure and can lead to anxiety when they are unable to respond to notifications with the two-minute time frame. Work with your child to set realistic time limits and boundaries for using the app.  

  • The default setting on BeReal is ‘Private’ meaning users can only share images with contacts from their device or friends they have added on the platform.

    To post only to ‘Friends’:

    • Before you post your photo, select ‘Friends’ from the audience drop down menu.
    • Note: users will need to select this option each time they post.
  • There are limited safety settings on BeReal. The best way to manage interactions and content is to post only to ‘Friends’. Users will also be asked to share their location when downloading the app.

    It is recommended users do not share their location and decline this option.

    To ‘delete’ a BeReal:

    • Go to the ‘My Friends’ page and click on the three dots next to the time the BeReal was posted.
    • Select ‘Options’ and choose ‘Delete my BeReal’.

    To ‘delete’ a previous BeReal:

    • Go to your profile in the top right-hand corner.
    • Select the BeReal you wish to delete.
    • Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner.
    • Select ‘Delete from memories’.

    To ‘unfriend’ someone:

    • Go to the ‘Friends’ list and select who you want to unfriend.
    • Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner.
    • Select ‘Delete’.

    To disable your location when posting:

    • Before you post a photo, select the button in the bottom corner which has the location.
    • This will not share the location of your post.
    • Note: users will need to select this button each time they post. To disable location sharing entirely, go to the location services within the device main settings.

    To disable location services on iOS:

    • Go to your settings menu and scroll to ‘Privacy’.
    • Select ‘Location services’ and toggle off the ‘Location services’ option.

    To disable location services on Android:

    • Go to your settings menu and select the ‘Location’ option.
    • Toggle off to disable location services.
  • Users can report other users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To ‘Report’ a user:

    • Go to the profile of the person you wish to report and tap on the user’s name.
    • Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select ‘Report’.

    To ‘Report’ a BeReal post:

    • Go to the BeReal post you wish to report.
    • Select the three dots in the top right-hand corner and choose ‘Report’.
    • Choose from either of the following options:
      • It’s undesirable
      • It’s inappropriate
  • Users will be asked to receive notifications when they download the app. To help manage time, it is recommended users do not enable this feature. There are some settings to manage notifications within the app.

    To manage notifications:

    • Go to your profile and click on the three-dot icon and select ‘Notifications’.
    • Toggle on or off the notifications you wish to receive from the following options:
      • Mentions
      • Comments
      • Friend requests
      • Late BeReal
      • RealMojis

    To disable notifications on iOS:

    • Go to your settings menu and scroll down to ‘Notifications’.
    • Scroll through the apps and select BeReal.
    • Choose the appropriate notification settings to suit your child.

    To disable notifications on Android:

    • Go to your settings menu and select ‘Notifications’ followed by ‘App settings’.
    • Scroll through the apps and select BeReal.
    • Choose the appropriate notification settings to suit your child.

As with many other social media platforms, the pressure to respond to notifications immediately can be overwhelming for some users. The two-minute time frame of the BeReal notifications could be disruptive and overwhelming for some users. Talk to your child about using the notification settings on their device to help manage this pressure and reassure them that meeting the time frame is not essential in order to enjoy using this app with their friends.