What is BeReal—and is it safe?

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BeReal is a photo-sharing app that encourages its users to post unfiltered photos of their real life at random times throughout the day.

The catch is that you can’t post to BeReal whenever you want. All users need to post in response to a single notification from the BeReal app ... and they have to act fast.

How does the BeReal app work?

BeReal is built around notifications that are sent en masse to all users in a given time zone. Users have two minutes to see the notification, take a photo, and share it with their friends.

If a user notices the notification after the two-minute window closes, they can still post—but their BeReal will be labeled as “late”.

Types of BeReal posts.

BeReal won’t let users see friends’ BeReals until they post their own—and then repeat this process every day. Until someone posts a BeReal, all they'll see are blurred images. 

BeReal account for Boston Red Sox with blurred posts.

There are three ways to create a BeReal:

  1. The classic BeReal post: The app will take two photos, one using the back camera and one using the front camera. There aren’t any filters like on Instagram—so BeReal captures exactly what the user looks like (and where they are).
  2. BeReal Roulette: A Roulette post uses a random photo from your phone’s camera roll.
  3. BeReal BTS: This is short for “behind the scenes, “ not the K-Pop group that is basically this generation’s NKOTB or Backstreet Boys ( ... times a magnitude of several thousand). A BeReal BTS takes a short video of what’s happening right before capturing the still photos.

When using BeReal, users can:

  • Create a post and re-take a photo if needed
  • Share the photo with friends, or friends’ friends, through the BeReal Discover feed
  • See other photos posted by connections
  • Save a BeReal to a chronological feed of “memories” or pin it to a profile page

Followers and friends on BeReal.

If your teen has a BeReal account, they can follow their phone contacts as well as public influencers and brands. If someone wants to follow your teen, though, they’ll have to approve a follow request. In this way, it’s similar to how a private Instagram account works.

Liking posts on BeReal.

BeReal allows other users to comment on and “like” their friends’ posts. The app’s liking mechanism involves something called “Realmojis.” Unlike Snapchat’s Bitmojis, a Realmoji is a selfie—so there’s no good way for your teen to use the app without showing their face.

Can kids see inappropriate content on BeReal?

Yes, it’s possible that your kids may see inappropriate content on BeReal—there’s really no way to avoid this with any social media platform.

That said, BeReal is built around the concept of following your offline friends and family members. If you encourage your kids to stick to following only those people, it may reduce the chance they see inappropriate content.

Is BeReal a distraction?

Because users never know when the BeReal notification will arrive each day—and the fact that any posts outside of the two-minute window will be labeled as late—it can create a sense of urgency or fear of missing out.

One Business Insider journalist who documented her time on the app said that she started to feel as if the “late” label was “a mark of shame” and felt feelings of “panic and inconvenience” when the BeReal notification arrived while she was at work or otherwise occupied.


Does BeReal have safety features?

The app’s safety features include the ability to report users for inappropriate content, notifications if someone screenshots a BeReal, and an option to turn off geotagging.

You can’t implement time limits on BeReal directly through the app. To do that, you’ll need to use a third-party parental control app—and get your kids used to the fact that they may miss some BeReal posts depending on their screen time limits.

Check out our full BeReal guide to learn more about how this app works—and the best ways to keep your kids safe on social media.

If you notice your teen getting visibly upset over missing a notification, getting labeled as “late,” or abandoning schoolwork and chores to do a BeReal, then you may want to consider a break from the app.

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