Whether your child inherited one of your pre-loved iPhones or has the latest release with all the new bells and whistles, it’s important that you help keep them safe while they’re texting, playing games, and surfing the web. In this post, we’ll explain how to put restrictions on iPhone devices like screen time limits, web filters, privacy settings, and more. Apple Screen Time and Bark are our two preferred options, because Apple Screen Time comes built-in and is free, and Bark because we built it to be completely customizable for parents — and hey, it’s us!

How to Put Restrictions on iPhone Devices Using Apple’s Built-in Features

To get the most out of Apple’s parental controls, we recommend updating to OS 14, which is supported on most iPhone models, including:

Not sure which OS your child’s device is running? Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update to find out. If the phone is due for an upgrade, you’ll be prompted to download and install the latest software.

Family Sharing 

In order to use Apple’s parental controls, you’ll need to have a child account set up. (If your child is already set up, feel free to skip this step). To do this, you’ll need to enable Family Sharing. Family Sharing allows you to share controls for purchases, storage, locations, calendars, and more with members of your family. Simply select features to share and send invitations. You’ll be able to add up to 6 children with Family Sharing, although you won’t be able to add children that are 18 years or older.

To begin, head to the Settings app on your device (iPhone or iPad). From there, tap the Apple ID button, and then tap Set up Family Sharing > Get Started. From here, you can select apps and features to share across your family’s iCloud account. You’ll be able to customize settings for tons of features, including:

Enabling Screen Time 

Apple Screen Time allows you to see how much time your children spend on apps, websites, and more. Additionally, you can set screen time limits, block or limit certain apps and features, restrict explicit content, and prevent purchases and downloads on your child’s device.

Setting Down Time and App Limits

Downtime allows you to set restrictions on iPhone devices by deciding how long your child can use their phone each day. Use the Start and End times to set a schedule regulating your child’s screen time, then tap Set Downtime.

App Limits allow you to set up time limits on the apps your child uses. Note that you’ll only be able to restrict apps based on pre-selected categories chosen by Apple, which are:

Putting Content and Privacy Restrictions in Place

This feature will allow you to prevent your child from viewing mature or explicit content in native Apple apps like iTunes or the App Store. You will also be able to set permissions to restrict them from changing the privacy settings on the iOS device.

Select Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy to begin. Options on this page include:

  1. iTunes and App Store Purchases: Restrict the ability to install/delete apps and make in-app purchases. 
  2. Allowed Apps: Restrict the native Apple apps your child can use (Mail, Safari, FaceTime, etc).
  3. Content Restrictions: Restrict the content your child can access across the entire device. Generally speaking, this feature ensures that your child can’t access explicit content, such as movies or TV shows over a certain rating, explicit books or music, or explicit web content searched through Safari.
  4. Privacy: Restrict location services and apps that rely on user data and input.

How to Set Restrictions with Bark

Bark is the perfect choice for blended tech families — that is, families in which a parent has an Android device and children have iPhones. Dedicated iOS families are also great candidates for Bark! We use kid-proof technology that allows parents to manage screen time and filter websites easily with little fuss. Setting healthy boundaries around tech use is crucial as kids grow up, and Bark provides unparalleled customization not only for each family but for each individual child. 

Screen time features you won’t find anywhere else

Bark’s approach to screen time centers on the idea that different times of day call for different screen time rules — one size definitely doesn’t fit all. For example, when your kids are in school, you can block access to everything but educational sites. And at bedtime, you can allow apps to help them wind down for the evening. And because all kids deserve to blow off a little steam, you can designate free time hours just for play. 

Web filtering as unique as your family

Our world-class web filter lets you select exactly which websites your child can access on their devices. You can allow or block specific sites — or even whole categories like streaming services, online gaming, sexual content, and more. You can also decide exactly which apps (especially potentially dangerous ones like Snapchat or Omegle) your child can access and when.

Need More Help with Parental Controls for All Your Kid’s Technology?

We hope this blog post has helped you learn how to put restrictions on iPhone devices, but as a parent, you know that your kids have access to all kinds of technology, devices, games, and apps. Check out our Ultimate Parental Control Guide for a comprehensive list of parental controls. We also have an interactive website called Barkomatic where you can enter all of the technology and devices your child uses and receive tailored parental control instructions in one convenient location.

Use of machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded over the past decade, pushing huge advancements across lots of industries. As with any technology, there are tradeoffs for those advancements. With AI, there is of course a long history of people musing about machines becoming sentient and deciding to act against the wishes of their human programmers, but I am encouraged to see more and more discussions being had around the garden-variety tradeoffs stemming from the use of AI. 

With great power comes great responsibility, and only through ongoing discussions can we as a society settle on a shared set of ethics around how AI is used.

At Bark, we employ a variety of machine learning techniques to provide our services, and we lean most heavily on deep learning in neural networks. This allows us to train our algorithms to more effectively detect the wide variety of issues that kids face, such as bullying, hate speech, online predation, and suicidal thoughts. Specifically, we aim to utilize the context in a discussion to help classify the issue. There is a massive difference in meaning between “I hate my life because I burned my Pop-Tart” and “I hate my life because no one likes me.” Despite sharing the same exact phrase, the context highlights only one as a potential issue.

To be clear, the terms “AI” and “machine learning” are misapplied and overused all the time. As words, they’ve become fuzzy because so many people use them to refer to things as simple as basic keyword matching or a list of rules. But those naive approaches are ineffective in the vast majority of examples, as in the example above — simple keyword matching can’t distinguish between those two examples and would flag both. This is why we’ve spent an enormous amount of time and effort developing algorithms that utilize context to make decisions.

All of that sounds great, and, well … it is! The levels of precision we can now achieve wouldn’t have been possible even ten years ago. However, nothing in life is perfect, and we’ve always been upfront that this concept applies to our algorithms as well. It’s completely reasonable to therefore ask what the tradeoffs are versus the positive benefits of using Bark, just like we should of any technology.

To illustrate, as a society we accept the negative tradeoff of roughly 40,000 fatalities from car crashes each year in the U.S. in order to get the value that automobiles bring us. It’s certainly uncomfortable to talk about 40,000 deaths a year as an “acceptable tradeoff,” but implicitly that’s exactly what we all do by choosing to drive cars and relying on the benefits that they provide.

A primary benefit of using Bark is the dramatically increased awareness of a wide variety of issues, many of which are very severe. Over the past five years, we’ve escalated nearly 1,000 child predator cases to law enforcement, played a small-but-important role in preventing numerous school shootings, and made tens of thousands of parents aware of imminent suicidal situations. These are reflected in the heart-wrenching testimonials sent to us (or posted online publicly) by parents, schools, and law enforcement. But again, we’ll be the first to emphasize that we are not perfect, and despite seeing massive benefits to children’s safety from our work, we are cognizant of the fact that we always need to evaluate and consider any potential tradeoffs.

Every day, we work hard to thread a needle — trying to find the exact right balance between safety and privacy. There’s a lot wrapped up in this, and I’d love to share a little about our core philosophy and mission, and how we always try to consider edge cases and any unintended consequences of what we do.

Fundamentally, we have built Bark on several concepts: 

First, awareness that many, if not most, issues that kids face are buried in their digital communications. Usage by children of internet-connected devices is nearly ubiquitous in the U.S., and smartphones have become the primary communication tools that children use.

Second, kids are still kids. As a society we draw all kinds of lines about what kids can and can’t do — we don’t let them buy alcohol or cigarettes, we force them to go to school and restrict their ability to work, and we don’t let them vote. Presumably, this is because the decision-making part of their brains is not yet fully formed, and they have less life experience to help them make right decisions. They will make mistakes as they learn who they want to be and what they believe. Caregivers play a vital role in helping children develop and are responsible for keeping them safe. 

Third, despite the need for caregiver involvement and guidance, we believe strongly that children should be respected, and where possible should be included in discussions about things that affect them. We actively encourage (and supply ways to facilitate) open and honest conversations between caregivers and children around online safety, including the use of Bark. We’ve intentionally chosen to build our product in a way that doesn’t give caregivers unfettered access to their child’s messages. We only show them the very small chunk of a conversation that has been flagged as concerning.

Our goal is to provide caregivers with drastically increased awareness of problems that they definitely should be alerted to, with as minimal an increase in awareness to non-issues as possible. Children should have the freedom to explore and use technology in healthy ways, but they should also have a back-stop when situations arise for which they are unprepared or unable to handle. While preemptive education about online dangers is absolutely necessary, it is too tall an ask of our children to expect that they will know how to handle a suicidal situation, recognize a child predator, or know how to handle being bullied without any help from a caregiver.

Because any system is imperfect, the most basic challenge we (or any machine learning system would) face is generating false positives. We go to great lengths to minimize these, but no system will ever have zero. In these cases, a caregiver would unintentionally see some information that could be private to the child and which the caregiver did not actually need to know. It’s also possible that in some instances, the alert we send may be completely correct, but is wrapped in context that the child may prefer the caregiver to not know. For instance, if a child was being bullied because of their sexual identity, the caregiver would get an alert from us about that bullying, and because of the specifics of the conversation could learn of the child’s sexual identity. We work hard to train our algorithms to dissociate statements about one’s sexual identity from insults that use similar terms, and we would not send alerts because of sexual identity.

The question becomes, what should we do in that situation? Certainly, it is heartbreaking to know that some caregivers will not be supportive of their children’s sexual identity, but that of course is not true for all caregivers. And, if the child is being bullied and needs support, does that need supersede the child’s desire for privacy around their sexual identity, especially when many risk factors (rates of bullying, depression, and suicidal ideation) for LGTBQ+ youth are unfortunately substantially higher?

Every situation is unique, and different in ways in which our system could never know, and this makes answering these questions very difficult. The only way to ensure that a child’s sexual identity was never unintentionally revealed to their caregiver would be to never send any alerts for any reason — which means the 85 alerts per day we send for imminent suicidal situations would also not be sent, nor would the tens of thousands of alerts where a child is being bullied, groomed by a sexual predator, or expressing signs of depression or anxiety. The situation is further complicated by the fact that these alerts aren’t actually giving the caregiver any information they can’t access otherwise. Typically when caregivers use Bark, they stop manually “spot-checking” their child’s phone, which actually decreases the chances that a child’s sexual identity would be exposed to the caregiver. Ultimately, we’ve landed on the side of expecting the best from caregivers, and giving them the tools they need to provide support for their children.

We’re in a real-life trolley problem. So while we don’t claim to be perfect, or to have all of these complexities completely figured out, as a company we are working to provide a service that can save lives, or simply make lives better for children and families. We get up every morning and work hard to refine what we do to help drive the best outcomes for kids, in a similar way to how the continual advancements in the automotive industry (seatbelts, airbags, lane assist) have helped dramatically reduce the tradeoffs for using that technology. We know the stakes are high — and that given the skyrocketing rates of teen/tween depression and suicidal ideation, it is incredibly hard to be a kid today, and also incredibly hard to be a caregiver. 

The solution isn’t for us to abandon technology, but rather to continue to work together to refine both the educational and technical tools to drive the best possible outcomes.

Being a parent in the digital age means you have a ton of ways to connect with others. From Facebook groups to mommy blogs, countless communities exist where you can share funny stories and ask for advice about everything from first phones to issues at school. 

On social media, you can also post photos of your kids so friends and family across the world can keep up with family news. Sometimes, though, parents can post a little too much information about their kids — or even go so far as to shame them publicly. In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about sharenting.

What is Sharenting?

Sharenting is a term that most likely originated in a Wall Street Journal article from 2012. A mashup of the words “overshare” and “parenting,” it refers to how parents share photos, videos, and other content about their kids in the age of social media. It can be used negatively to imply that some parents share a little too much — think constant Facebook photos and post after post of details about potty training. Sharenting can even begin before a child is born. Many parents post their first ultrasound pictures on Facebook to announce that they’re expecting, and that’s just the beginning of thousands of photos to come.

The Idea Isn’t New, But the Technology Is

Ours is the first generation of parents to have the amazing ability to quickly and easily share photos and videos they’ve taken — and there’s nothing wrong with it! It’s only natural that parents want to share the joy and stress, the highs and lows, the hard nights and early mornings of life with their children. After all, parents in the ‘70s and ‘80s did the same thing. They just documented milestones like first steps and graduations with Polaroid cameras and bulky camcorders

The difference is that today when you take a photo, you can share it instantly with the entire world. Strangers who don’t even know your family could stumble across an image of your child, especially if it goes viral (Remember laughing at the Charlie bit my finger video? It’s been viewed almost a billion times). Meanwhile, when we were growing up, the only people that could see embarrassing photos of us had to be invited inside your parent’s house and crack open a dusty photo album. 

How It Can Affect Kids

In the grand scheme of things, posting about kids on social media is a relatively new activity, so there’s not exactly a playbook for parents to follow. Interestingly, kids today may have no idea it’s even happening until they’re in elementary school. And when they are old enough to realize that huge parts of their lives have been shared with your friends (and possibly even strangers!), there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. They’ve been the star in a show they had no idea was being filmed. 

This is ironic because many parents make a point to stress to kids the importance of their digital footprint when they get their first phones — how the things they post could come back to haunt them when they’re older. But for some kids, their parents have already posted content about them online that could follow them around forever. This could cause anxiety, embarrassment, and even shame. It’s important to remember that kids can’t give consent to the things you’re sharing about them. And yes, even though you’re the parent, they’re still little humans that may one day be affected by your decision to post a melt-down video on Facebook.

When Sharenting Goes Too Far

Sharenting taken to its negative extreme can take the form of kid shaming. This disturbing trend has been making the rounds on TikTok and features footage of parents harshly disciplining their children. Examples include aggressive shouting, destruction of a kid’s computer or guitar, and even verbal taunting. 

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article on kid shaming, pediatrician Free Hess, M.D., comments about the potentially harmful effects videos like this could have on kids. “Even if their friends don’t follow their parents on social media, for so many kids today, social media is their world,” states Dr. Hess. “Adults have no idea what it’s like to be a child in public in front of the world.” Growing up is hard enough as it is, and self-esteem is especially fragile in adolescence. These videos can damage a child’s sense of self-worth as well as the relationship between them and their parent.

Things to Remember When Posting About Your Kids Online

Every family is different, and the way you choose to share about your children is a personal decision. But it may benefit you to pause occasionally and reflect on what you’ll get from pressing that “share” button. Is it engagement? The quick hit of knowing you’re not alone? Remember that your post could make the situation worse for your child, both in the short term and down the road. When posting photos or stories about your child online, consider some of these suggestions if you’re trying to minimize how much the world at large knows about your family:

What You Can Do

At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what you feel most comfortable with. For the majority of families, sharenting probably won’t be a huge issue, and most parents fall into a rhythm with what works best. We recommend talking openly and honestly with your kids about social media and privacy as soon as they’re old enough to understand. Oftentimes, kids can end up mimicking the behavior of their parents when it comes to social media. Fortunately, it’s totally possible to balance online safety and privacy — it just takes a little forethought.

Note: We use both “autistic kid” and “kid with autism” throughout this blog post to honor the fact that different individuals prefer to be referred to differently.

When you have a child with autism, you undoubtedly have an awesome child. Autistic kids each have unique strengths and challenges, and supporting your own kid through everything that makes them them can certainly be a journey. To help make that journey a little bit easier, we want to share some information about the issues many children with autism can encounter online.

Of course, it’s worth saying that all of these issues are ones neurotypical teens and tweens go through too, and that not every child with autism will be vulnerable to each of these situations. If nothing else, we hope this is a helpful reminder that having more conversations about online safety and putting more safeguards in place can only help.

Autistic Kids and Cyberbullying

“Cyberbullying is honestly my biggest issue,” explains one parent on our team who has an autistic kid. Social cues and sentiment can be tricky for anybody to pick up on over text, but for autistic children who have trouble in this area already, the struggle can be magnified

When kids are in a group chat together, friendly banter can quickly turn into exchanging pointed, barbed insults. A child with autism may have trouble identifying when others in the group are picking on them, and so won’t know to speak up or seek help from a parent. “Bark has alerted me to several of these scenarios where I am able to sit him down and explain that a true friend doesn’t say these things to you and that it’s not okay,” one parent shares.

How you can help

Take some time to talk through what it means to be a good friend. Try to focus on concrete examples, rather than talking about more abstract concepts like kindness. Instead of saying, “It’s not okay if kids are mean to someone in a group chat,” say something like, “If the kids in a group chat are all saying mean things about one kid’s appearance, personality, or abilities, that could be bullying.” 

Grooming

Online predators are very skilled at engaging kids in a relationship with subtlety, and it can be tricky for anyone — a child, an adult, someone with autism, or someone who’s neurotypical — to identify that grooming is taking place. A kid who has difficulties with social cues can find it even tougher to notice that someone online is acting inappropriately.

One trick predators often use is to connect with a child through an interest they have. Kids with autism can be hyper-focused on a topic and may be thrilled to find someone who’s willing to chat with them about it. Their excitement can prevent them from recognizing that the attention they’re being shown is inappropriate.

How you can help

Facts and straightforward guidelines are often helpful for autistic kids. Instead of saying, “grooming is a serious problem!” it may be useful — if appropriate for their age and maturity level — to give them data to convey just how serious this is. Below are a couple of points that may be useful.

Data:

Helpful rules:

Self-Regulation

If you’ve ever started browsing Pinterest for home DIY ideas or stumbled down a Netflix rabbit hole, you know just how tough it can be to disconnect from technology. This is pretty much a universal struggle, but it can be even tougher for some kids with autism — who can often have difficulties with impulsivity, self-regulation, and time management. 

Issues with impulse control can appear in many different ways. Sometimes, they can lead to self-esteem issues (which are famously exacerbated by tech use). “My son will have a ‘tantrum or melt-down’ and break something then realize what he’s done and stress about it and have feelings of tremendous guilt,” one Bark parent explains. “In my experience with my own child, this has furthered his issues with low self-esteem.”

Other times, they can show themselves in difficulties using the internet in healthy ways. Another parent says that web filtering has been a great help for her child, as it prevents her from accidentally clicking on inappropriate sites. No matter your kid’s specific needs in terms of regulation, there are a number of things you can do to help them find more balance.

How you can help

It’s always a great idea to talk about why you have certain screen time rules, of course. This helps you bond with your child and build trust, rather than just implementing limits without discussing them as a family. You can even put together a tech contract so that the expectations are clearly outlined. But saying “only 30 minutes per day on TikTok” most likely isn’t enough — whether your kid is neurodivergent or neurotypical.

We’re here to support you by helping you set time limits, block specific apps and websites, and more.

Special Interests

For kids who are nonverbal or have limited speech, being able to communicate with other people online is an amazing opportunity. Despite all of the potential dangers the internet has to offer, its ability to connect people who share a passion or a life experience can be pretty awesome. Many autistic children have special interests — strong passions for learning about and talking about a specific subject, and can head to online forums to find people with similar interests.

For example, a teen might have a passion for exercise and find a thread on Reddit where they can discuss new workouts. While fitness is an awesome hobby, it can turn into an unhealthy obsession if appropriate boundaries aren’t put in place.

How you can help

It might sound simple, but be sure to listen as often as possible when your kid talks about one of their special interests! Being able to learn so much about something is a great strength, and showing that you care about the topic can be a great opportunity for you to bond.

Obviously, it’s not possible to always be available to chat and it’s pretty likely that your kid doesn’t want to exclusively talk to you (even if you are a cool parent). We are here to help you monitor their online activity to give you some peace of mind that you’ll be alerted if a potential predator is using their special interest to strike up a relationship, if their fitness love is showing signs of disordered body image, etc. You can also find more parenting help here.

This can help you relax and help your kid have some independence to build healthy relationships around the things they love most — something all autistic kids deserve.

For our generation, the dream of becoming famous meant growing up to be an actor, singer, or sports star. Today, the height of celebrity for kids means becoming a popular YouTube or TikTok influencer, sharing their personality with the entire world.

Our society has shifted in terms of what we value in content, as well as the intimacy that social media affords us. While this can be a good thing — think Zoom in a pandemic, Facebook groups for advice — it can also present new dangers like OnlyFans. What is OnlyFans? It’s a website with pornographic content that every parent needs to know about right now.

What is OnlyFans?

If you’re on social media, you probably follow people you like. Maybe they’re funny or take great photos. They could be famous musicians, comedians, or models. Now, imagine instead of following them for free, you could sign up to pay them a monthly fee to view special posts and extra content — often sexual content. This is basically what OnlyFans does.

“Fans” subscribe to the “creators” they want to follow, and “creators” make money by providing videos to them. As of March 2021, more than 120 million users and 1 million creators are active on the platform. A primary driving factor for creators is the fact that the company allows them to keep 80% of the money they make. There’s even an interactive tool that allows creators’ imaginations to run wild by estimating just how much they could earn by starting an account. Young people can be lured by the potential of six-figure salaries the more followers they have. 

Sexual Content on OnlyFans

While lots of different types of creators use the platform (like make-up artists and musicians), OnlyFans is almost exclusively known for its sexual content. Pornography is allowed and prominent among its creators, many of whom are sex workers. Creators can upload videos they’ve filmed or they can broadcast live to their fans. They can also choose to provide their content in a subscription or pay-per-view model. Some of the most popular creators can make tens of thousands of dollars each month. 

Can Kids Use OnlyFans?

Officially, you have to be 18 or older to sign up for an OnlyFans account. To subscribe to pages as a fan — even free accounts —  you’re asked to add a credit card. While this may seem like a barrier for many kids (though not all), a quick perusal of their approved payment methods reveals a flaw. It turns out that some prepaid Visa cards can be used in place of a credit card. This means that a gift card from last year’s birthday haul could be used to bypass the age restrictions, allowing kids to see all kinds of inappropriate content.

To become a creator on OnlyFans, on the other hand, the verification process is more intense. This makes sense because creators will be making money from their content, which could include sexual activity. One big barrier is that you have to connect a bank account to receive payment. Then, to confirm your age, a third-party company takes a picture of your face. This will have to match to a form of ID you upload like a passport or driver’s license. As you may guess, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for minors to create an account, however. Fake IDs are easily created with Photoshop or obtained elsewhere.

OnlyFans in Pop Culture

While OnlyFans consists of primarily amateur creators, the site is buzzworthy enough to have attracted the attention of many celebrities. Cardi B has an account, as do Aaron Carter, Amber Rose, DJ Khaled, and more. Some are NSFW (not safe for work), while others aren’t. Part of the appeal of celebrities having OnlyFans accounts is that fans get exclusive access to their lives that casual followers (say, on Twitter or Instagram) don’t get.

A more controversial issue on OnlyFans is when former child stars create accounts. When Disney star Bella Thorne joined in 2020, she quickly made $1 million after just a single day on the platform. More recently, the rapper Bhad Bhabie (you may remember the “Cash Me Ousside” meme from a few years back) shattered Thorne’s record. She topped $1 million in just six hours. Bhad Bhabie created her account just days after turning 18, which prompted an enormous debate on the internet. Some consider it too near to predation, especially given how many people were counting down to her debut and encouraging her to join the platform. Others praised her for her entrepreneurial spirit. Regardless of one’s feelings, though, it’s clear that young people all over the world may see joining OnlyFans as a way to make quick money. 

Potential Dangers for Kids As Fans

OnlyFans’s reputation on the internet makes it a go-to destination for porn, and not just any porn — often celebrity porn. Because of this, kids could be curious and seek it out as a way to view sexual content. Depending on how old they are, this may be inappropriate for them. Like sending nudes, watching porn can be a difficult subject to talk about, but it’s important that your child knows your family’s values. 

What Can Happen If Kids Become Creators

Another danger is the potential trauma and exposure kids can face if they become creators. As we discussed earlier, technically kids are forbidden from joining. But its popularity is rising, as kids discuss it on TikTok — they even refer to it as “OF” for short. If kids do manage to find a way to do it, they’ll be able to post photos or videos that potentially millions of strangers could see. They could also be contacted by other OnlyFans users, which could lead to predation, sextortion, and more. 

Kids may think they’re smart enough to just post photos and make easy money, but there are people who would be willing to take advantage of kids in this situation. The dangers are multiplied if a kid is creating without their parent’s knowledge, because they may feel they can’t turn to them for help. Also, creating NSFW content for money may also affect a child’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth in ways that could have long-lasting effects. Finally, in some states, the content kids create could be considered child sex abuse material — even if they make it themselves — according to some states’ laws

How to Talk About OnlyFans

So, at the end of the day, what is OnlyFans? It’s a website that’s definitely not for kids. If you’re concerned that your children may know about it, talk to them and see what they’ve heard about it at school or from friends. One way to bring up the subject is to ask if they know about any celebrities that use it. Then, you can use this as a way to discuss your family’s values about online privacy, sexual content, pornography, predators, and more.

The trends in social media and technology are always changing, and the best way to keep ahead of the game is to have regular, honest, and frank conversations with your kid.

**This blog post was updated on October 4, 2021.**

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Pinwheel, the first purpose-built phone for kids that teaches healthy tech habits. The company’s therapist-endorsed system, when combined with our monitoring and filtering technology, will help prime Pinwheel to become one of the safest mobile devices for families.

The Origins of Pinwheel

Unhappy with the existing options on the market, entrepreneurs Dane Witbeck and Isaiah McPeak decided to do something about it. Together with a council of therapists and noted psychologists, they carefully chose 11 non-addictive app categories to be installed on their operating system. These apps are all meant to help shape wellness-centered, tech-responsible kids. Because of this, the company prides itself on offering no social media, ads, or addictive games. As a result, kids can learn and grow thoughtfully while on their devices. 

Bark and Pinwheel: A Perfect Match

Pinwheel phones enable parents to completely customize their child’s digital experience. What does this mean? You approve all contacts, create screen time schedules, and can choose from a thoughtfully curated collection of apps. But to take online safety to the next level, however, Bark was needed. Our safety software comes pre-installed on every Pinwheel device to monitor:

* These are available after connecting the account to Bark with the child’s login credentials by following these steps.

What This Partnership Means for Families

Giving your child their first phone is a major milestone these days. It can be a stressful experience, especially figuring out online safety. A Pinwheel phone makes it easier, putting you 100% in the driver’s seat. You can rest easy knowing that our monitoring service will alert you to issues. Bark and Pinwheel’s partnership provides families with something they won’t be able to get from major cell phone providers — greater peace of mind.