Bark, an app for parental controls, is designed to give parents peace of mind while their teens and tweens are on social media. Created by a parent looking to keep his kids safe online, Bark works by scanning various social media and messaging apps for concerning keywords that could indicate concerning online behavior.
Parentology talked to Titania Jordan, Bark’s Chief Media Officer, about what parents need to know about the artificial intelligence (AI) app keeping their kids safe online.
How Bark Differs With Parental Controls
Unlike many other products on the market, Jordan says Bark is different because the app’s algorithm analyzes language in the context in which it’s used. The AI is trained to adapt to the ever-evolving nuances of generational slang, an element other apps haven’t yet adapted.
Bark has partnered with more than 24 social media platforms, text, chat, email, YouTube and file exchange devices like Google Drive and OneDrive, to track what your child is saying, the images they’ve uploaded, text within images, plus audio and videos they’re sharing and receiving.
The Bark app protects more than four million kids across the United States, and alerts parents to tens of millions of potential issues. “In 2018 alone, we detected 1.2M+ instances of cyberbullying, 142,000+ instances of self-harm and/or suicidal ideation, and 99 child conversations with sexual predators,” Jordan says. “To date, we’ve also helped prevent 16 school shootings — we offer free content monitoring and web filtering to all K-12 public and private schools in the US.”
A major benefit of using Bark app is parents are able to give their kids a level of privacy they wouldn’t receive if the parents were forced to sit there and read through all of their online activities themselves. “As kids, tweens, and teens grow into adults, we believe they need to learn how to live and thrive with technology — which is why we don’t give parents unfettered access to their kids’ online activities,” she says. Instead, Bark only alert parents to situations the app deems potentially concerning.
When the Bark team finds concerning online activity, their customer support specialists alert parents, and offer helpful advice and recommended actions from child health and wellness experts. Additionally, Jordan says, the team provides parents guidance, kindness and peace of mind during what’s likely a stressful time for them and their child.
Why You Should Consider Bark
Jordan says typically parents think they’ll know when something is going on with their child that needs their attention. This isn’t always the case. If parents rely on spot-checking their kids’ phones to uncover important things they may be missing they’re likely to come up empty.
“Children will either delete problematic messages and images before you can read them, hide them in vault apps, or log out of their real accounts and into their finsta accounts before handing you the phone,” she says, which is something the Bark app can help parents avoid.
“We understand parenting with technology is hard — after all, we’re the first generation of parents to raise kids with smartphones,” Jordan says. “Because of this, everything we do is guided by our perspective as parents trying to help protect kids in the digital age.”
Bark Parental Control — Sources
Titania Jordan, Bark’s Chief Media Officer