Is BeReal safe for my child?


What is BeReal?

BeReal is a popular image-sharing app where you can post your own pictures as well as view other people’s. Users can only post once a day and are only able to see their friends’ images if they have shared their own.

At a different time every day, users receive an alert telling them it’s ‘Time to BeReal’. This gives them two minutes to take a picture, using both the front and back camera of their device and post it on the app. You can add captions to your images and each image you take is saved into a collection of ‘memories’ which is displayed on your profile.

What age rating is BeReal?

The app is rated 12+

Features of BeReal

The idea behind BeReal is to get a genuine snapshot of users’ lives. Certain features of the app are designed to encourage users to post as their ‘real’ selves. 

  • you are only allowed two minutes to take and upload your image and you don’t know when this will happen. This means users don’t have time to stage their surroundings or change their appearance. If you post outside of this window, other users will be able to see that you have posted later 
  • BeReal images can’t include filters and don’t allow you to edit the content. The app also alerts others if you retake your photo more than once
  • using both the front and back camera encourages you to post a selfie alongside what you can see in front of you. The app will also prompt you if your face isn’t clearly visible in the frame
  • you can only view your friends’ posts after you have uploaded your own, encouraging everybody to share at the same time 
  • one of the unique features of BeReal, is the way you can react to other posts. Like other social media apps, you can choose from six standard emojis but in BeReal you can also create your own emoji, called a ‘RealMoji’. This means you take a live selfie, using your facial expression as the reaction. You can save these and use them again or take a new one when you want to react to someone’s post. 

You can have BeReal set up in two different ways: 

  • Discovery mode – allows you to share your images publicly. This means any other users can view and react to your posts. They will also be able to view your profile
  • My friends only – only people you add as a friend can see your posts. They will also be able to react to and comment on your images. 

Tips to help keep your child safe on BeReal 

There are no specific parental controls on BeReal, but the following tips can help to keep your child safe when using the app. 

Talk to them about sharing 

Have regular conversations with your child about what is and isn’t ok to share. Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as: 

  • personal information, like names, phone numbers, links to other social media accounts or their school 
  • Recognisable live or frequent locations (for example, street signs) 
  • other people's personal information 
  • links to join private group chats 
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos. 

Make sure they know that sharing pictures other people without their consent is not ok. 

Set rules around friends 

Make sure your child is using the ‘my friends only’ mode on BeReal. Talk to them about who they add as friends and tell them to come to you if they receive a friend request from someone they don’t know. Remind them that friends of friends might be people their friends don’t know either so it’s best to not add or accept requests from them. To remove a friend, follow these steps: 

  1. tap the friend icon in the top left corner.
  2. go to the ‘friends’ tab
  3. tap the x icon beside the friend you want to remove
  4. tap delete
  5. know where to report.

It is possible that your child might see content on BeReal that is inappropriate or worrying. If this happens, you should report it to the platform. To report something on BeReal simply tap on the three dots in the top right corner and click ‘report’. 

Set rules around location sharing 

When you post on BeReal, you have the option to share your location with others. This means that everyone on your BeReal can see your live location when you post. To turn off location-sharing: 

  1. take the picture
  2. tap the location icon above ‘send’ 
  3. tap the option to turn your location off.

What are the risks of BeReal?

You can only see your friends’ pictures if you share your own. This could mean that your child feels like they have to post an image, even if they don’t feel like it. Because of the time limit, children could end up posting in situations where it is unsafe or inappropriate, for example at school. 

Although BeReal is designed to make users feel like they are seeing each other's real lives, young people could be worried about how they will look in the picture. This might make them anxious or feel like they have to prepare for the notification.

By posting pictures on BeReal, children could reveal their current location. There is also a map function on BeReal that allows others to see where you have taken your picture, unless you turn this function off. If your account is set to ‘discovery mode’, this information can be seen by anybody. 

BeReal do not monitor what others are posting so your child could be at risk of viewing harmful or upsetting images. 

BeReal users take a picture using the front and back camera of their device. This means they might accidentally include something in the image that they don’t want others to see. Users might unintentionally share pictures of other people without their consent. 

There is no private messaging function in BeReal, but users can comment on and react to friends’ images (or talk to others who have commented on a friends’ image). With a public account (‘discovery mode’), anyone can view or react to your image. 

Worried about a child?

Contact our Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing [email protected].

Children can contact Childline any time to get support themselves.

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