Bark's 2021 Annual Report

Research on Children and Technology

In 2021, Bark analyzed more than 3.4 billion messages across texts, email, and 30+ apps and social media platforms. These findings exclude school-based accounts.

Our 2021 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.

2021 research

Bark's 2021 Research Data 📈

In 2021, Bark saw a 25.15% increase in alerts for self-harm and suicidal ideation among kids ages 12–18, as compared with 2020.

2021 research on self-harm and suicidal ideation

Self-Harm/Suicide

43.09% of tweens and 74.61% 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

68.97% of tweens and 90.73% 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:

2021 research on sexual content

In 2021, Bark alerts for anxiety were most often sent for kids age 15.

2021 research on teen anxiety

Anxiety

19.69% of tweens and 42.05% of teens used language about or were exposed to anxiety.

 

Alerts for anxiety are sent when kids discuss having anxiety or mention feeling anxious consistently.

Concerning stats involving kids and anxiety:

  • Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between the ages of 13 and 18.
  • Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at greater risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and to misuse substances.

In 2021, Bark saw a 21.2% increase in alerts for drugs/alcohol as compared with 2020.

Drugs/Alcohol

75.35% of tweens and 93.31% 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:

  • 11.7% of Americans over 12 years of age use illegal drugs.
  • Alcohol use fell from 21% to 17% among eighth-graders, from 41% to 29% among 10th-graders, and from 55% to 47% among 12th-graders, according to a 2021 survey.
2021 research on teen drug use

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2021 research on teen bullying

Bullying

72.09% of tweens and 85.00% of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim, or witness.

 

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

Additional external bullying statistics:

In 2021, girls age 17 were most likely to engage in conversations about depression.

Depression

32.11% of tweens and 56.40% of teens engaged in conversations about depression.

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

More information about teen mental health:

  • In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health.
  • Depression in youth has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.
2021 research on teen depression and mental health

In 2021, Bark alerts for disordered eating were most often sent for 17-year-old girls.

2021 research on teen disordered eating

Disordered Eating

1.96% of tweens and 7.66% of teens engaged with or encountered content about disordered eating.

 

Alerts for disordered eating range from mentions of dangerous dieting practices all the way to discussions of anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia.

Relevant stats concerning kids and disordered eating:

  • 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages 12 and 25.
  • In the U.S, up to 10% of young women experience disordered eating.

Predators

9.95% of tweens and 20.54% of teens encountered predatory behaviors from someone online.

 

Alerts for predators are sent when a conversation is sexual in nature and there’s a confirmed age difference.

Important information concerning online predators:

2021 research on online predators
2021 research on school violence

Violence

80.82% of tweens and 94.50% 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:

Bark 2021 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.

2021 research on teens

Severe Sexual Content

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Severe Suicidal Ideation

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Depression

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Body Image Concerns

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Severe Bullying

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Hate Speech

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Severe Violence

Top 5 Social Apps/Platforms Flagged

Help Keep Your Kid Safe Online

In addition to providing you with up-to-date information like our 2021 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.