Is BeReal Safe for Kids? A Comprehensive Guide for Parents
BeReal was introduced in 2020, and over the past few years, it has garnered a huge user base and skyrocketed in popularity among young people. As of January 2024, the app has been installed over 100 million times globally, with over 25 million daily active users.
According to statistics, over 43% of its users are young people. With the growth in young users comes an increase in parental concern. Of course, parents have a right to worry and ask questions about how safe the app is for their kids. Is BeReal safe? Should you allow your child to sign up on the app? In this comprehensive guide, we will talk about the concerns in detail.
What is BeReal and How Does It Work
Before exploring the potential risks of this app, it's important to explain what the app is all about. Understanding the unique features and mechanics of this app will enable parents to navigate its impact on their kids.
Unlike the exaggerated perfection generally associated with social media platforms, BeReal is all about unfiltered authenticity. This platform sends notifications at random times to users requesting immediate action. Users can capture and share their real-time picture within 2 minutes of receiving the notification, using the front and back cameras on their devices. Once shared, it will push your BeReals to your friends who have also shared a BeReal during that day.
The goal is to share a genuine, unfiltered glimpse of your current surroundings and activities. It's worth mentioning that BeReal offers limited interactions despite people's reactions and comments on your post.
What Age is BeReal For
With a background knowledge of what BeReal is, let’s find out the target audience for this app. So, is BeReal age-appropriate for kids, and does it have any parental control options?
Here is the fact. The minimum age rating for BeReal is 12+. This raises the question again –
Unfortunately, the app currently does not have built-in features like restricted mode or parental controls. In other words, parents cannot directly limit their kids’ interactions or filter their content on the app. What does this mean? Parents must be vigilant and take proactive measures to protect their kids’ online experiences.
Is BeReal Safe for Kids? – Potential Risks
Although the idea of unfiltered authenticity has its appeal, it also raises safety concerns, especially for young people. In this section, we'll explore some critical potential risks associated with this app. Let's get right into it.
BeReal leaves no room for filtered content. It allows users to see what friends of friends shared, which potentially exposes children to age-inappropriate sights and languages from people with bad intentions.
Additionally, unlike other social apps, BeReal offers no control over what children see. Of course, older teenagers might be able to navigate the platform better, but younger children are mostly unprepared for unexpected happenstances.
Two of the interaction features of BeReal are reactions and comments, which have no moderation. This makes them a good place for cyberbullying. Negativity and hurtful comments can significantly affect a child's well-being and self-esteem.
Unlike other social platforms that offer the blocking option, BeReal has no direct mechanism that allows users to block other users. This leaves kids vulnerable to repeated negativity.
As mentioned earlier, BeReal requires both front and back cameras when taking snapshots. This raises a fundamental concern about privacy, whether for kids or teens.
With background details and selfies showing in photos, there are bound to be unintended location leaks and identity theft, which pose a high-security risk. So, is BeReal safe for 12-year-olds? The truth is no.
By its very nature, social media can be highly engaging and addictive. With the unique features of BeReal and its lack of parental controls, the risk of potential addiction is high.
The daily prompts and two-minute requirement to capture and share often lead to compulsive phone checking. The random notifications and limited window for sharing also come with a sense of FOMO. The fear of missing out encourages users to constantly check the app, which can be addictive. The absence of parental control features on the app heightens this addiction and its effects.
What to Do While Your Kid is Using BeReal
With an understanding of the potential risks of using BeReal, it's time to explore the practical solutions and tools for your child's safe and positive online experience.
Set Privacy Settings on their Phone
The first recommendation is to turn off location permissions for BeReal on your child's phone settings. With this, you reduce the risk of your child unintentionally sharing their location in their posts.
It is also a good idea to block the front camera access for BeReal through their phone settings. This provides additional control over the information your kid unintentionally shares on the app.
Also, it is recommended to discuss mindful sharing practices with your kid. It's important to highlight the significance of avoiding sharing personal details and being mindful of the environment in which they take pictures.
Monitor Your Kid's BeReal Usage
If you are asking – is BeReal safe for kids – this practical solution is for you. To monitor your child's BeReal usage, we recommend using parental control apps like AirDroid Parental Control.
One of the features of AirDroid is the App Time Limits. This feature lets you set specific time limits for different app usage on your child's phone, including BeReal usage. With this, you can prevent excessive screen time and promote healthy digital habits in your child.
Another exceptional feature is Screen Mirroring, which lets you monitor your kid's phone screen remotely in real-time. So, you can discreetly view the content they interact with on BeReal, ensuring timely intervention.
Use Kid-Friendly Social Media
If you are still worried about age-inappropriate content exposure due to BeReal's unique features, you may want to consider other social platforms. There are platforms specifically designed for children.
These platforms generally have educational elements, safety features, and stricter content moderation. These kid-friendly platforms include GeckoLife, Messenger Kids, Kidzworld, Gromsocial, ChatFOSS, Kinzoo, and Franktown Rocks, among others.
Talk to Your Kids about Your BeReal Safety Concerns
Open communication is critical when discussing social media concerns with children. You should discuss the potential risks of using BeReal with your child. Highlight the importance of online safety practices, such as thinking before sharing, respecting others, and reporting negative experiences online.
By combining privacy awareness, open communication, parental control apps, and exploring kid-friendly alternatives, you can guide your child through responsible usage of BeReal and other social media apps. While this post offers a fundamental guide, you must adapt these strategies to the unique needs and maturity level of your child for effectiveness.