This app bills itself as a more authentic, less time-consuming social media experience than Instagram and Facebook -- and could be an interesting way to stay in touch. The exact time that BeReal prompts users to take a photo changes each day, but everyone gets the notification at once. In theory, that should provide a glimpse of what your friends or other acquaintances are up to at that moment, instead of people only sharing posed and planned photos. Kids can't use filters or make other edits before sharing the image, and the app's overall structure eliminates any anxiety about coming up with a clever caption or visually novel image. Some posts may be mundane, but other users will expect that -- and they'll be sharing images that show unglamorous parts of their daily routine, too.
The timing element might not always work well, if kids miss the notification or can't immediately take a photo because they're in the middle of class or somewhere else. You can post something after the earmarked window, but that may detract somewhat from the sense of connection real-time posting provides. There's no option to like posts -- kids can instead take and use selfie versions of popular emojis, where they're laughing, surprised, or replicating other facial expressions. If that was intended to stave off stress about whether their posts are getting a lot of approval, it's unclear if it'll have that effect. The amount of comments and RealMojis a post gets could potentially affect kids' self-esteem in the same way seeing the total number of likes a post has received might. As a number of app store reviews have noted, BeReal can have some upload delays and other functionality issues. You don't seem to be able to easily delete and retake your daily image if you accidentally film yourself out of frame, for example, or just don't like the end result -- and the navigation appears to reach a dead end at points. If you're in the process of leaving a RealMoji on someone's post, for instance, and decide you don't want to, there's no cancel or back button. You have to close and reopen the app to exit that screen. Kids may find that, while they appreciate the once-a-day timeframe, having a little more control over some aspects of the app might make using it easier. The premise, though, has promise. With a few tweaks, BeReal could serve as a consistently fun way to check in with friends and family and get a low-key, granular look at part of their everyday life.