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Is BeReal Safe For Kids? What Parents Need To Know

Despite its approach of prioritizing authenticity over sharing, BeReal has some privacy risks that might make you think twice about letting your kids use it.

Despite its approach of prioritizing authenticity over sharing, BeReal has some privacy risks that might make you think twice about letting your kids use it.

Illustration of the BeReal app on a smartphone with a question mark over the screen

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      Should Your Child Be Using BeReal?

      Since its launch in 2020, BeReal has become a popular social media platform among young people, thanks to its focus on real-time photo sharing. BeReal sends its users an alert at a random time of day and prompts them to snap a photo within two minutes by using both their front and back cameras. 

      By encouraging users to share genuine moments, BeReal aims to be more authentic than platforms like Snapchat. But is BeReal safe for your kids?

      On the surface, BeReal seems to offer a positive experience for younger users due to its emphasis on authenticity. However, it still comes with many of the same security issues found on other social media platforms — including location sharing, unwanted contact from strangers, and more.

      Note: On June 10th, 2024, mobile app and games publisher Voodoo announced that they had acquired BeReal with the goal to “scale BeReal into the iconic social network for authenticity.” [*] What this change means for the future of the app is uncertain.


      Is the BeReal App Safe For Kids and Teens? What Parents Need To Know 

      At first, BeReal’s unique approach to photo sharing seems starkly at odds with how most social media apps work. Users can only share one image per day, there are no filters, and only users who share photos can comment or react. 

      All of these features make BeReal a safer, more private photo sharing app for young kids and teenagers — reducing some of the social pressures normally associated with social media use.

      Here’s what parents should know about how BeReal works:

      • Age rating. BeReal has a 12+ rating in the Apple App Store and a 13+ rating from Common Sense Media [*], which called it a “slightly buggy, yet potentially intriguing way to connect.”
      • Discovery page. BeReal used to have a Discovery feed where users could see BeReal posts from strangers who had made their posts available to the public. But in August 2023, BeReal replaced this feed with a “Friends of Friends” feed [*].  
      • Location sharing. If your location services are enabled, the BeReal app will give coordinates of your location at the time of the post. 
      • Community guidelines. On its website, BeReal outlines a collection of Community Standards to encourage respect for other users. These standards address issues like bullying, hateful content, illegal activity, and child sexual exploitation.
      • RealMoji reactions. BeReal has its own take on emojis by allowing users to take photos of their reactions to posts. Some RealMojis are instant, while others can be saved to use on future posts. 
      • RealPeople & RealBrands. These features allow celebrities, influencers, and official brand accounts to showcase promotions and share unfiltered, behind-the-scenes moments with their community. 
      • Tagging. Users can tag other people in their photos, letting those who are tagged repost the image to their networks of BeReal friends.
      • Bonus BeReal. Until 2023, BeReal only allowed users to post once per day. The launch of the bonus feature gives users the chance to retake photos with two Bonus BeReal posts if they upload their first daily photo during the two-minute daily window, and one extra post if they miss the window [*]. 
      • RealGroup. Like group chats on iMessage or Instagram direct messages (DMs), RealGroups lets users create closed chat groups with friends.

      The bottom line: On the surface, this app is an excellent way for kids to use social media safely. However, parents should remember that BeReal is still a social media app and includes many risks similar to those associated with other platforms.

      What Are the Safety and Privacy Risks of Using BeReal?

      A pop-up alert from BeReal on an iPhone stating that you have 2 minutes to take a BeReal and share it with friends
      BeReal gives users a limited window to take a photo and see what their friends are up to.

      BeReal’s limited feature set reduces some of the safety and mental health risks that are present with other social networks — but it’s not without its own issues. 

      1. The app’s real-time nature can create a sense of anxiety for its users to post and perform

      The two-minute window during which it’s “time to BeReal” can cause undue anxiety for kids — especially if they're in class or busy when the notification comes up. Additionally, an app that pressures children and teens into dropping whatever they're doing to focus on taking the perfect selfie may send the wrong message about what's important.

      💪 Take control of how your kids use their smart devices. Aura’s parental controls allow you to set time limits, schedules, or completely block apps and websites on your child’s devices. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      2. Strangers could find your kids on the Discovery page

      BeReal's updated Friends of Friends feature replaces the old Discovery feed, allowing users to view posts from friends of their friends. Although this seems like a tighter circle, it still opens doors for strangers to view your child's daily posts, posing potential privacy risks.

      3. BeReal shares your location by default

      There are reports that the location sharing feature on BeReal is very precise, down to a user’s exact block or building [*]. By sharing this detail on every post, the app could expose your children's whereabouts, including their school and home addresses. 

      📚 Related: How Can Someone Track My Location Using My Phone?

      4. No built-in parental controls

      BeReal does not include native parental control features, which hampers the ability of parents to oversee their child’s interactions. If your child befriends any strangers through the app, you won’t be able to monitor the chat or stay ahead of potential issues like cyberbullying or phishing scams. 

      5. Potential exposure to inappropriate content

      A 2023 study found that 59% of BeReal users have been exposed to sexual content — more than any other platform [*]. 

      While the app's community standards discourage nudity or behavior that could incite hate, BeReal’s focus on sharing spontaneous moments could mean your kid sees some content that isn't suitable for their age. 

      📚 Related: How To Block Inappropriate Content On Your Child’s Devices

      6. BeReal’s can be shared on other platforms

      As with Snapchat, users can take screenshots and forward images from other users. If this happens, your children's images could be shared elsewhere online, which may put them at risk or cause embarrassment. 

      7. RealGroup messages aren’t encrypted

      The lack of encryption on BeReal's RealGroup feature means unauthorized individuals could intercept content in group chats. Hackers could gain access to personal conversations or images if anyone's smartphone is compromised or if users are on unsecured networks. In the wrong hands, this stolen information could be used to target your child with online scams or blackmail.

      🥇 Set time limits on apps, get warned if your child is being bullied online, and more. Aura's award-winning parental controls help you keep tabs on your children online and protect them from threats. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      What You Can Do To Make BeReal Safer For Your Kids

      Like any social media platform, BeReal comes with inherent risks — and only you can decide if it’s right for your children or not. If you decide to let them use the app, there are a few additional safety measures you can take:

      Try BeReal for yourself

      The best way to understand the risks associated with any app is to try it for yourself. When your child first downloads BeReal, consider designating a few days (or a week) for your kids to only interact with family members. This approach will give you and your family an idea of how the app works and how your child reacts to different scenarios. 

      📚 Related: The Digital Talk: An Online Safety Guide for Your Family

      Make sure their account is set to “friends only”

      You can share images on BeReal with a closed circle, or you can post to a wider network so that friends of your friends will see your photos. By restricting sharing to "Friends Only," you can improve privacy and reduce unwanted interactions. 

      • Explain the benefits to your child. It’s important to talk about online privacy with your children — especially when it comes to sharing images. Show them news articles about scams like sextortion to help them understand why they shouldn’t share photos without first thinking about all of the possible ramifications. 
      • Remove images from the public feed. You can check your sharing settings by going to your latest post and tapping on the three horizontal dots below Add a caption, and then Options. If the post is available for “Friends of Friends,” you will see an option to remove it.
      • Choose the right setting for future posts. The next time you take a photo on BeReal, you’ll see an option that says My Friends Only. Tap on this option to make sure your photo is only shown to your trusted circle of Friends.

      Disable location settings

      By default, BeReal shows the precise locations where users snap their BeReal posts. If you want your kids to hide their locations, you need to disable this setting. You can only disable location sharing after taking a photo — but before you post it. 

      How to turn off your location in BeReal on iPhone:

      • When you receive a BeReal notification, take your picture, but don’t send it yet.
      • In the photo preview, tap on your location (at the bottom of the image).
      • When the pop-up menu appears, tap Location off, and then tap Send to post your picture.

      How to turn off your location in BeReal on Android:

      • After taking your BeReal, tap the Send button.
      • On the Send options page, in the Other options section, uncheck the Share my position option to hide your location.
      • Tap on Send

      📚 Related: The 10 Best Parental Control Apps for iPhones

      Consider turning off BTS mode

      Another feature on BeReal is Behind The Scenes (BTS), which lets users record the last few seconds before snapping a photo. While BTS is enabled by default, you can disable the feature anytime. 

      How to disable BTS before taking a BeReal:

      • Open the camera to take your BeReal photo.
      • Check that the BTS option in the top right is switched Off. If it’s on, tap it to disable BTS.
      • Alternatively, you can disable BTS by turning it off before you tap on Send

      How to disable BTS after sharing a BeReal:

      • Tap on your BeReal to view the image in full preview.
      • Tap on the three dots settings option in the top right corner.
      • Tap on Remove BTS, and then Confirm.

      Teach your child not to share sensitive information

      BeReal wants users to share more from their real lives — but this can inadvertently put your child’s personally identifiable information (PII) at risk. 

      • Focus on online privacy. It’s crucial to educate kids on why they shouldn’t share personal information online — such as their address, phone number, or school name.
      • Discuss sharing photos. Online predators and bullies can use photos of children for nefarious purposes, including blackmail and harassment. Teach kids about these risks by showing them news stories detailing instances in which photo sharing went wrong.
      • Educate kids about privacy settings. As you help your child understand what they shouldn’t share online, show them how to properly use privacy settings on all apps, platforms, and websites. By giving them autonomy, you can empower your kids to take control of their own profiles in a mature and secure way.

      📚 Related: How Does Child Identity Theft Happen?

      Block and report inappropriate accounts

      From adult content to cyberbullying, there’s always a risk that your child will encounter inappropriate content online. The best thing you can do is to prepare your child to deal with situations before they arise.

      • Show your child the reporting tools. Like most apps, BeReal lets users report issues to its customer support team. To report another person’s content, click on the three dots at the top right of their post. Next, tap on the Report button in the bottom right corner.
      • Talk openly about the risks. You can discuss scenarios that may happen on BeReal, such as seeing adult content or receiving lewd messages. By chatting openly, you can help your children understand that they have a safe place to talk about anything that makes them uncomfortable.
      • Create protocols. You and your child can create a step-by-step plan for handling each potential scenario. As you can't always see what your kids are doing online, knowing that they have a plan in place to tackle tricky situations can give you peace of mind. 

      Set time limits or block the app during certain hours

      Screenshot of the Aura parental controls app showing total screen time and app time limits
      Aura allows parents to track their child’s screen time and set daily limits on app usage.

      BeReal’s design isn’t as addictive as apps like Roblox, TikTok, or Instagram. But new features  — like the Friends of Friends feed — allow users to interact with others, encouraging more screen time. Setting clear boundaries on internet usage is vital to protecting your child's well-being.

      • Agree on house rules for the internet. You can come together as a family to set ground rules and expectations for online activity. For example, your kids can agree to only use their smartphones after they complete their homework. 
      • Use third-party parental controls. There are no built-in parental controls on BeReal, but you can manage your children's screen time on their iPads or smartphones by using Aura parental controls. Aura’s Pause the Internet feature lets you disable internet access anytime, so your child's smartphone use never interferes with homework or bedtime. 

      📚 Related: How To Block Apps on iPhones: What Parents Need To Know

      The Bottom Line: Set Healthy Limits on Social Media  

      BeReal is one of the better social media apps for kids, thanks to its design and limited feature set. However, the platform could change — especially as the company looks for ways to monetize its users. The introduction of RealBrands and Bonus BeReal features indicates a move toward increased app usage and advertising.

      If you want to monitor how your kids use this app — and the internet in general — you need a reliable platform that keeps them safe. 

      Aura’s award-winning parental controls help you keep tabs on how your children are using their devices, block inappropriate content or apps, and get warned if their sensitive information has been leaked. 

      Protect your kids from online threats. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you to increase awareness about digital safety. Aura’s services may not provide the exact features we write about, nor may cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat discussed in our articles. Please review our Terms during enrollment or setup for more information. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime.

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