Annual Report: 2020 Research on Children and Technology

In 2020, Bark analyzed more than 2.1 billion messages across texts, email, and 30+ apps and social media platforms. These findings exclude school-based accounts.

Our 2020 research can give parents and guardians important insights into what it’s like to grow up on the internet today, allowing them to better protect their children while they use technology.

Illustration of sun obscured by a raincloud in the background with a happy and sad emoji in the foreground

In 2020, Bark analyzed more than 2.1 billion messages across texts, email, and 30+ apps and social media platforms. These findings exclude school-based accounts.

Our 2020 research can give parents and guardians important insights into what it’s like to grow up on the internet today, allowing them to better protect their children while they use technology.

Dive Into Our 2020 Research

Illustration of two children excluding a third child

Bullying

76.7% of tweens and 82.0% of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim, or witness.

Alerts for cyberbullying range from mean-spirited teasing to hateful threats and provocations.

Additional external bullying statistics:
  • According to the CDC, one in four students reports being bullied.
  • Virtual learning during the pandemic has led to new forms of bullying, including Zoom bombing.

Mental Health

45.5% of tweens and 66.3% of teens engaged in conversations about depression.

Alerts for mental health range from mild pessimism to talking about or planning to attempt suicide.

More national data about teen mental health:
Illustration of a happy and sad emoji
Illustration of a revolver style handgun

Violence

88.5% of tweens and 94.1% of teens expressed or experienced violent subject matter/thoughts.

Alerts for violence range from texting a friend about a fight at school to direct threats against a child.

Relevant U.S. school shooting statistics:

Drugs/Alcohol

78.0% of tweens and 91.1% of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol.

Alerts for drugs and alcohol can range from texts about prescriptions to videos of a child consuming illegal substances.

General drug/alcohol facts affecting kids today:
Illustration of a bottle of alcohol and a bottle of pills
Illustration of a sun partially obscured by a rain cloud

Self-Harm/Suicide

41.4% of tweens and 66.6% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation.

Alerts for potential self-harm and suicide include anything from text messages about cutting to an email draft of a suicide note.

National statistics surrounding self-harm/suicide:

Sexual Content

70.9% of tweens and 87.9% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature.

Alerts for sexual content can be anything from web searches for explicit content to a child receiving nude photos.

Recent information regarding kids and sexual content:
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Bark 2020 Top Apps/Platforms for Concerning Content

Bark analyzed more than 2 billion online activities across 30+ apps and social media platforms. "Activities" include text messages, emails, social media posts, DMs, chats, song lyrics, captions, and more.

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Sexual Content

  1.   Kik
  2.   Spotify
  3.   Tumblr
  4.   Pinterest
  5.   SMS/iMessage

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Suicidal Ideation

  1.   Twitter
  2.   Instagram
  3.   Discord
  4.   TikTok
  5.   Snapchat

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Depression

  1.   Twitter
  2.   Instagram
  3.   Discord
  4.   Snapchat
  5.   TikTok

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Body Image Concerns

  1.   TikTok
  2.   Pinterest
  3.   Instagram
  4.   Twitter
  5.   SMS/iMessage

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Bullying

  1.   Twitter
  2.   Spotify
  3.   Instagram
  4.   Snapchat
  5.   Discord

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Hate Speech

  1.   Spotify
  2.   Tumblr
  3.   Snapchat
  4.   Instagram
  5.   Discord

Top 5 Apps/Platforms Flagged for Severe Violence

  1.   Spotify
  2.   Twitter
  3.   Reddit
  4.   Instagram
  5.   Discord

Want to help keep your kids safe online?

When our generation was growing up, our parents worried about seatbelts and bike helmets. Today, children face dangers with technology like never before. In addition to providing you with up-to-date information like our 2020 research, Bark can help you protect them online and in real life with timely alerts so you can know when something might be wrong. Sign up today for a free, one-week trial.

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