BeReal:  For 16-44, daily share a photo of self and surroundings

BeReal is a social media app released in 2020, designed to promote authentic interactions. Its main feature is a daily notification that encourages users to share a photo of themselves and their immediate surroundings given a randomly selected two-minute window every day.

The app is free and can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App Store. Users need to provide their phone number to log in.  BeReal has been well-received, with over five million downloads on Google Play and over two million installs in the last few weeks, according to Sensor Tower data. Its success has even inspired competitors, such as TikTok, to create similar app features.

Studies have shown that 55.1% of its users are between 26-44, while 43.2% is between 16-25.  Another study found that nearly 60% of the Z generation are unable to go more than 4 hours without their phones before feeling uncomfortable and anxious.  BeReal’s daily prompt encourages and relies on this addiction.

One of the significant benefits of BeReal is its emphasis on authenticity, encouraging users to share unpolished and genuine photos, which can help foster social connections and promote self-expression. The app’s unique feature of allowing users to take both a selfie and a frontal shot simultaneously enables users to see the subject and the reaction of the person who took it. The app can be a source of entertainment for young people, allowing them to interact with content posted by their friends and other users.

However, there are also several potential dangers associated with BeReal and other social media and photo-sharing apps, especially among children and young people.

The pressure to perform and create content within a two-minute window can create anxiety for users.Privacy concerns arise with the use of both front and back cameras to capture images, and users who do not post within the two-minute timeframe may be publicly called out for being late. The app’s underlying desire for validation and engagement through social media can lead to a competitive environment where people feel the need to present a desirable image of themselves.

The dangers associated with social media and photo-sharing apps, in general, 9B include the risk of cyberbullying, loss of privacy, sexual exploitation, identity theft, and addiction. Children and young people must be aware of these risks and use photo-sharing apps safely and responsibly, such as setting privacy settings, being cautious about what is shared, and seeking help if they are being bullied or exploited online.