Without doubt, the biggest criticism we all have of social media is that everyone always looks fabulous! And while we all know that everyone is only sharing the best version of themselves, let’s be honest – it can be a little wearing. Well, there’s a new social media platform that is determined to uproot our online curated lives by having users post very real pictures of themselves – with no time to stage or add filters!
Developed in France in 2020, BeReal is where Aussie teenagers are currently spending their time and energy online. And to be honest, I can totally see why. It’s all about sharing random, authentic pics without having to spend time and energy making them look beautiful. In fact, my 19-year-old tells me that the uglier and weirder the photo, the better! How refreshing!!!
How Does It Work?
Once you’ve signed up, the app will send all users a notification at a random time throughout the day that it’s ‘time to BeReal’. As soon as the user opens the app to share a pic, they have just 2 minutes to take a picture of whatever they’re doing at that particular moment whether they’re on the bus, at the gym or chilling at home in trackies. The app will take 2 pictures using the front and back cameras so that your followers can see what you look like and where you are.
Now, if you don’t manage to post in 2 minutes, you’re officially late and your friends will know. In fact, there’s a small amount of shame for being tardy – as if on some level you’re not committed to being authentic. But don’t let this worry you too much – we can’t wait around all day awaiting the notification to post!
When you have uploaded your daily snap, your friends can comment, respond to your pic with ‘RealMojis’ and even see where you are in the world with the map feature. Users can also choose to upload their pics to the public feed where other users can leave “RealMoji’ reactions but no comments. But in order to access either the public feed or your friends’ photos, users will need to take their own picture too.
Now for my favourite parts of this app – this app has NO filters, NO option to ‘like’ anything, NO follower counts and NO private messaging!! How liberating!!
Is It Safe?
Like all social media platforms, there are a few risks however with a bit of strategy and a few smarts, users should be able to have a safe and positive experience. And when compared to platforms where follower counts and likes are public, influencers dominate and comments are allowed, BeReal is definitely a great choice.
Here are my top tips to keep the experience safe and positive:
1. Disable Your Location To Avoid Being ‘Discoverable’
Before you share your pics, ensure you disable your location to avoid the app sharing your exact location on the map. You don’t want an ill-intentioned follower knowing your exact whereabouts!
2. Think (Quickly) Before You Post
The very brief 2-minute posting window may result in rushed decisions about what to post and potentially oversharing of personal information. So, ensure you (and your kids) know not to share anything that can identify their location, any identifiable numbers such as passports or licences or, their computer screens that may display confidential information.
3. Don’t Feel Pressures to Post If You Can’t
Accept that there will be times when you just can’t post within the 2-minute time frame. You may be driving, sleeping or doing something far more important. You can absolutely still post late.
4. Know How To Report Bad Behaviour
If you see a post that is inappropriate, then report it immediately. It’s an investment in keeping the BeReal community as safe as possible. Simply tap the three dots at the top right of the post. A report button should appear. You will then have the option to flag the post as undesirable or inappropriate.
5. Be Aware of the Comparison Trap!
Like all social media platforms, users may compare their posts with others. They may think their lives are boring and predictable, particularly if their friends are doing more exciting things. If a young person is prone to anxiety or low mood, this may not be helpful. As a parent, reminding your kids that perception is not reality, and that one photo does not define a person may be required. But if it all gets too much, a digital detox might be just the thing!
So, if your kids have embraced BeReal then your homework is pretty easy – join up too! It’s impossible to understand your kids’ online world if you don’t take some time to step inside it. And for what it’s worth – I think you’ll really like this one. The fact that there is no public like count, follower tally, filters or private messaging makes the Mama Bear in me very happy!!