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Welcome to the The Cap – our very own recap series of the topics and trends impacting teens and tweens today dedicated to keeping the common parent in the know.
📮 In today's Issue, we cover:
What is it❓ 
BeReal is a French social media app released in 2020. BeReal’s main feature is a daily notification that encourages users to “be real” by sharing a “real” photo of themselves and their immediate surroundings in a randomly-selected 2 minute window every day. Users then have 2 minutes to post a selfie of themselves and exactly what they are doing. 
The goal behind BeReal is to bring authenticity back to social media and it has become a disruptor in the social media landscape by offering an experience other than constant scrolling and annoying advertisements. Instead, BeReal users can only see their friends and can't watch them 24/7 since each BeReal post disappears 24 hours after being uploaded. Photos in BeReal are unfiltered, unedited and given an asterisk* if they were retaken. Photos taken outside of the 2 minute timeframe are even marked with how late they were posted.

Why does it matter❓ 
BeReal's approach to “authenticity" by asking users to “be real” has skyrocketed its popularity -- especially with Gen Z and younger. The app is aged for users 13 and older.
BeReal creates a new experience for users. 
  • All images posted have to be in the here and now.
  • There are no filters or followers.
  • There is also no time to prep for your daily photo because notifications come at a different time each day.
  • It doesn't allow users to post existing photos from their camera reels that may have been touched up.
But, despite BeReal’s focus on authenticity and encouraging natural and unedited posting, a pressure to entertain or be doing something ‘cool’ when your notification comes can exist. While a filter-free "real" image is appealing, when that 2 minute notification comes on, stress hormones can kick in along with anxiety around taking a decent photo. There's also the matter of where your teen may be when they receive the notification, whether that be in class, at practice, playing sports, at their job and even in the bathroom or shower.

The Cap 🎒 
Although very different from other social media apps and arguably much safer, BeReal still presents the risk of your child posting and viewing inappropriate photos. And there's no way to see or monitor your child's history within the app because photos are automatically deleted after 24 hours. 
Also - be aware that Geo-location is turned ON in the BeReal app by default, giving other users a real-time location of your child's whereabouts. Turning off the Geo-location is simple. Tap the location icon at the bottom of the BeReal screen after uploading your photos to turn it off.

The Good News ☀️ 
From a mental health perspective, BeReal may be a healthier choice since its focus is not likes, shares, and comments and it keeps no number counts or ways to objectively compare one account to another. The app simply aims to make people feel good about themselves and their lives by removing the things we can focus too much on - followers, likes, filters, etc.
Teens and tweens are definitely using BeReal. So, have a conversation with your child and set parameters about what's appropriate to post on BeReal, when to skip a BeReal and how much screen time they are having in general.

From the Expert 
“Any social media app that promotes authenticity and also limits the time that you're on, in my opinion, is one that's valuable.” 

"When a child is engaging in a new app, it's a teachable moment to remind them of your own family rules about social media and engage with them together." 
- Dr. Janet Taylor, Psychiatrist

Sources on BeReal:

Founders of The Common Parent: Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer (Cat & Nat)
The Cap Contributors:  Catherine Belknap, Natalie Telfer, Kelly Kresen, Josee Telfer, Cath Tassie, Allie Coughlin, Sam Phelan and Lauren Bechard
Special Thanks to Dr. Taylor

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The contents of The Cap and The Common Parent platforms, portals and emails (the "Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, therapy, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your situation.