Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bark Monitoring – The Smart Way to Keep Kids Safer Online

August 21, 2019

Bark is a parental monitoring service that helps you keep your child safer while they use their cell phones and other devices. Bark’s AI machine-learning algorithms continually monitor email and text messages as well as over 25 social media platforms. If something concerning is found, an alert is sent to the parents via email and/or text.

This post uses affiliate links. If you click on my links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

According to Bark’s 2017 Children & Teen Cyber Fact Sheet, parents should be concerned about the following:

  • 66% of teens and 57% of tweens experienced cyberbullying (as a bully, victim, or witness)
  • 54% of teens and 40% of tweens engaged in conversations about depression and/or anxiety
  • 72% of teens and 53% of tweens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature
  • 18% of teens and 11% of tweens were involved with a self-harm/suicidal situation
  • 70% of teens and 54% of tweens engaged in conversations surrounding illegal drugs/alcohol
  • 40% of teens and 28% of tweens expressed or encountered violent subject matter/thoughts

*Findings after analyzing over 500 million messages across texting, email, and social media of children ages 8-17 in 2017.

Use this referral link to receive 20% off your Bark subscription: http://Bark.us/?ref=9PTWVG6

Bark’s CMO, Titania Jordan says, “Having Bark connected to your child’s devices and accounts is similar to wearing a seatbelt. You would not let your child drive a car without wearing one, so why give them a device that can access the world 24/7/365 without a safeguard?”

Bark Parental Monitoring Software

As Bark monitor’s your child’s activities on their cell phone and other devices, it looks for instances of things like bullying, drugs, alcohol, suicidal ideas, depression, sexting, grooming and more. Bark’s AI is also able to detect and analyze photos, videos, gifs, emojis, and audio since today’s teens communicate in so many different ways. The flagged activity that is sent to parents as an alert also includes recommended actions and a list of resources for dealing with the issues that have been flagged.

Use this referral link to receive 20% off your Bark subscription: http://Bark.us/?ref=9PTWVG6

How to Set it Up

If you would like to try Bark, they offer a free seven-day trial. After the seven days, it costs $9 per month or $99 per year. That includes your entire family and covers an unlimited number of devices and monitors an unlimited number of accounts. After you sign up for the free trial, you will be able to download the app and set up your account. Then you will begin linking your children to your account. And finally, you input the username and password for each email account and social media account they use. After you do that, monitoring begins.

The monitoring of text messages is accomplished in different ways depending upon whether your child has an Android or an iPhone. Android’s operating system is more of an open system that lends itself to more possibilities for monitoring and parental controls while Apple keeps the iOS operating system more closed and locked down. When you put the Bark app on an Android or Amazon device, it will enable full monitoring of the device and allow the child to use the app to check in. When you put the Bark app on an Apple iOS device, it only allows the child to use it for check in. In order to fully monitor an Apple iOS device, a back up of the device must be created and then the back up will be monitored for any concerning content. After you initially set up your child’s iOS monitoring, the Bark software program will back up your child’s iOS device to your computer automatically when the device is on your home’s WiFi, and then Bark desktop app will upload new backups to Bark for analysis. To be clear, this is not a limitation of Bark, it is a limitation of the iOS operating system and the way Apple designed it.

Bark also cannot monitor Instagram, Snapchat or Tik Tok direct messages on Apple iOS devices, but it can for the more open platform of Androids. Bark can also monitor what a child watches on YouTube on Androids, but not Apple iOS devices. There is some YouTube functionality for Bark on Apple devices, but not as much as there is on Android devices. This is true for all parental control apps and not just Bark and is an ongoing frustration for parents that choose to get iPhones and other iOS devices for their children. If you have not yet purchased a phone for your child, there are several reasons your child’s first phone should be an Android.

I highly recommend the Bark app. I have had it now for two weeks and it has been a lifesaver for me. Instead of me having to babysit my 15 year olds cell phone it does that for me by alerting me to any potential concerns. It will check text messages, any pictures that may be inappropriate, depression or Suicidal Thoughts, cyberbullying, profanity, emails, websites that are visited, etc. It allowed me to have a trial first to make sure I liked it. I did have one problem and the customer service was outstanding and we scheduled a time on the phone for them to walk me through it. Everything works perfect! It then allows her some privacy so that I don’t have to check everything but yet I am notified if there is a concern. Well worth the $9 a month for that peace of mind.

~Bark Parent, Gina Geiger

What Platforms Does Bark Support?

Bark supports the following social media, email, and messaging platforms:

  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • Gmail
  • Outlook / Hotmail
  • OneDrive
  • OneNote
  • Dropbox
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • Comcast Mail
  • AOL Mail
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • GroupMe
  • Houseparty
  • Messenger Kids
  • Flickr
  • WhatsApp
  • Kik
  • iOS Text Messaging / Photos / Videos / Browsing History
  • Android Text Messaging / Photos / Videos
  • Amazon Fire Tablet
  • Chrome web browsing (requires extension)
  • Ask.fm
  • Slack
  • Reddit
  • Kidzworld
  • Discord

Bark also alerts you about risky apps installed on your child’s device. They routinely add additional platforms. If there is a certain platform you’d like them to support, let them know at [email protected]

*Information about platforms covered comes from Bark’s FAQ page. https://www.bark.us/faq

I had the pleasure of meeting the Bark team in Atlanta recently. I was impressed with their passion for keeping children safe. They have reliable customer service. I have contacted them a couple of times and they are quick to answer and very helpful. Bark has received awards from The National Parenting Center, Mom’s Choice and the National Parenting Product. ConsumersAdvocate.com gives Bark a rating of 9.6 out of 10.

Bark is one great tool in a parent’s tool chest to keep their children safe while using smart devices and cell phones. You should also consider adding whole home WiFi filtering and parental controls (for limiting time as well as certain apps) as well as making sure to keep the lines of communication open and use issues that come up as important teaching moments. All of these tools will help make a parent’s job easier, but it is important to know that nothing is foolproof and teaching your child how to navigate this world of technology must be a top priority.

What software, apps, and devices do you use to help keep your children safe? Let us know in the comments.

Amanda - Tech Lovin' Mom

Need help keeping your kids safer while online using their devices? Here are some great options:

  • Use Circle Home Plus to filter all your kids’ devices including phones, tablets, game consoles and more.
  • Use the Bark-O Matic Personalized Resource for Parental Controls to get a step by step list to set up device specific parental controls.
  • If your kids have Chromebooks, check out this post to set up the Chromebooks to keep your kids safer while using the Chromebook.
  • Use ScreenTime Parental Controls if your kids have iPads.

Use this referral link to receive 20% off your Bark subscription: http://Bark.us/?ref=9PTWVG6

Sarah Lock

Great post, good information linkage. I’m looking for someone to add useful content about cyber bullying on something I’ve written – if you’re interested reach out 🙂

Reply
Nadia Malik

Very informative resources for all the parents. Saved it for later read. Thanks for sharing .

Reply
CC

Thank you for this useful information. I was looking for a tool like this because I fear my kids safety online with all that’s going on.

Reply
Shellie Bolyard

I have been looking for something like this. My kids use SnapChat or they delete all their messages, so even if I took the time to spy on them, they hide everything from me 😩 I’m not tech savvy enough to figure it all out. I am looking into this for sure. Thank you!

Reply
Lisa

Thanks for sharing this useful information. I’m an elementary library media specialist, and I’m always looking for recommendations to give to parents.

Reply
Home Internet Filtering with Circle Home Plus | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] texts, and 24+ social media platforms. To find out more about Bark, check out this blog post: https://techlovinmom.com/bark-monitoring-the-smart-way-to-keep-kids-safer-online/ […]

Reply
My Kids Keep Stealing My Phone Charger! | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] Bark Monitoring software to monitor texts, emails, social media and […]

Reply
Chromebook Settings for Parents | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] If you also want to monitor your child’s emails, texts, and social media accounts, I recommend using Bark software. After you set up Bark with all of their accounts, Bark will send you an alert if anything concerning or inappropriate is found in any of the accounts. If you want to learn more about Bark, check out this blog post HERE. […]

Reply
Dangerous Apps for Kids and Teens | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] media, friend or follow them to make sure it is used appropriately. You can also use a tool like Bark to monitor their email, texts, and any social media accounts.     3.  Discuss […]

Reply
Internet Filters and Parental Controls | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] Use Bark Monitoring software to monitor texts, emails, social media and more. […]

Reply
Barkomatic - Personalized Resource for Parental Controls | Tech Lovin' Mom

[…] Bark Monitoring software to monitor texts, emails, social media and […]

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *