young kid with video game controller

Did you know that more than 90% of American kids play video games? It’s easily the most common pastime for young people, and thanks to technology, there are more ways than ever to log on and start playing. But playing video games presents a whole host of issues, from addiction to online predators. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help balance the fun of video games with the potential dangers.  Whether your kid is into console gaming (like Xboxes or PlayStations), phone games, or even virtual reality, we’ve got tips for helping encourage healthy video game habits. 

10 Tips for Healthy Video Game Habits

1. Keep the console in a main area

We recommend having the Nintendo or Xbox live in a common area like the playroom or the living room. This way, you can keep a general eye on what your child is doing and how they’re behaving. Plus, it’s easier to prevent all-night gaming sessions if it’s not in their bedroom. 

2. Research the games your child is playing

Video games have come a long way from just Mario and violent games (though both of those still exist and are still very popular). Today, there are all types of immersive games that can provide social, educational, and creative expression. Find out which games your kid is passionate about and learn what they’re about. Better yet, sit down with them and watch them engage in a bit of gameplay to get a better feel. Pro tip: Learn some of the most popular video game slang so you can understand (and shock) your kid. 

3. Know who they’re playing with

Kids can play together in the living room, but they can also play online with friends (and even strangers!). Talk to your child about the other players, and whether they know them in real life. For many games, like Call of Duty or Fortnite, they may be paired up with strangers randomly from across the world. If you listen to what your kid hears on their headphones, you can experience it yourself, too! Because these games throw together players from all over, it’s possible your kid may hear crude jokes, offensive language, profanity, hate speech, racist slurs, and more. 

4. Have the stranger danger chat discussion

On this heels of #3, it’s important to talk to your kid about the types of strangers they may encounter on multiplayer online games. Some may be normal, some may be mean or angry, and some, unfortunately, could be online predators. Talk to your kid about how people online may not always be who they seem — and some may actively be trying to manipulate kids in sending photos or moving chats to a different platform. 

5. Set daily time limits and watch for addiction

Apart from holidays and the occasional free-for-all session, it’s important to set boundaries around your child’s video game time. Some experts suggest 30 minutes per day during the school week and an hour per day on weekends, but every family is different. For some, this may be too much, and for others, maybe not enough. If your kid is finishing their homework and chores and keeping good grades, you can perhaps be more lenient. But for other kids, daily gaming may be too much of a distraction. No matter what, keep an eye on how preoccupied they get with gaming.

6. Keep a water bottle next to them

This is a simple one, but staying hydrated is always important, even when your child is inside and not running around. There can be a culture of wanting to drink caffeinated beverages to stay alert and pumped while playing video games, but this isn’t always healthy. Encourage your child to drink water when they’re playing. 

7. Learn about the other parts of video game culture

In addition to playing the games themselves, video game fans also like to talk about them and watch other people play them. Discord is a popular messaging platform where players can discuss strategy and even log in to voice chat on games that don’t have in-game chat. Check out our Discord blog post for all of the potential dangers this app poses. Twitch, on the other hand, is a website where live-streamers broadcast themselves playing popular games while chatting with fans. We’ve also got a run-down of it, too. 

8. Prioritize literally everything else first

Video games are fun, and kids enjoy them. Kids would also enjoy eating ice cream for dinner every night and never brushing their teeth. When it comes to planning out days, make sure everything else comes first — school work, chores, dinner at the kitchen table, walks outside, and anything family-related. Video games are a bonus, not a given.

9. Embrace the positive parts

While it can be easy to rail on all the negative parts of video games (and there are plenty), you can also think about their good qualities. Kids can improve their hand-eye coordination, interact with friends(this was huge during COVID), and learn problem-solving skills. 

10. Get your child to be aware of their body while playing

Have you ever tried to talk to your kid while they’re deep in the middle of a battle? It can be like talking to a wall. Now, imagine how your kid’s body feels when it’s been hunched over and stressed out for an hour straight. Encourage your child to get up and move every once a while, stretch before and after, and take breaks. And if your kid is into VR headsets, make sure they know where their play boundaries are so they don’t go running into walls or objects. 

Manage Game Time with Bark

We know — managing screen time and encouraing healthy video game habits is often easier said than done. But Bark can help! If your kid is playing games on their phone, you can set screen time limits like “no Among Us during the school day.” You can also pause the internet whenever you want to their device. Plus, Bark comes with a free, 7-day trial and works on both iOS and Android.

If it’s gaming consoles you’re worried about, the Bark Home is a game-changer. You can turn off the internet to them on a schedule, so your kid won’t be engaged in multiplayer games after bedtime. Bark Home also works on all the internet-connected devices in your home, including TVs, laptops, and computers. 

teen girl gardening

When life gets extra busy with school, work, and after-school activities, it’s easy to forget about the bigger issues going on in the world. But taking time to volunteer and giving what we can to those in need is immensely important — and there’s no better time to learn this than the teen years! 

In this post, we’ll discuss five ways that parents can encourage their teens to get involved in volunteering activities that will help them grow into responsible citizens of their community.

1. Explain Why Volunteering Is Needed

The first step towards getting your child involved in volunteering is making them aware of why it’s needed. You can have open discussions with your teens about important issues. This could be anything from feeding the hungry, caring for neglected animals, or finding cures for serious medical conditions. Even better, you can watch documentaries with your teens about these topics so they can have a deeper understanding. This will flow nicely into conversations about the need for volunteering and how your family can directly contribute to any one of these good causes. 

2. Give Them Independence

One thing most parents want to avoid is the “I’m only doing this cause my mom told me to do it” mindset from kids. We want our kids to volunteer, but we also want them to want to volunteer. A great way to mitigate this is by allowing them to make it their own experience as much as possible. Give them the freedom to make decisions when it comes to where they volunteer and what they do. 

Teens can do research on organizations in their local area that they feel drawn to. Not only can this get them more pumped about the idea of volunteering, but it also fosters a sense of initiative and responsibility.  

3. Lead by Example

As with most things, kids often learn what to value by watching their parents. We often advise parents to watch their own screen time habits if they want their kids to have a healthy relationship with tech as well. The same goes for volunteering — consider finding time to volunteer yourself to be an example for your kid.

Another important point to remember is that leading by example isn’t just about showing up for an occasional volunteering event. It also involves instilling values such as empathy and compassion in everyday life so that these qualities become second nature for your teen. Be vocal about how much you appreciate their efforts when they choose to volunteer, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at first glance. This will help them understand just how important their contribution truly is and fuel their motivation to continue volunteering. 

4. Help Them Choose Something They’re Passionate About

There are tons of ways to volunteer, so why not choose something that’s connected with what they already enjoy? Have your teen explore their interests, skills, and passions to determine which opportunities may be a good fit for them. If your teen has a particular hobby or talent — such as cooking or photography — encourage them to find organizations that align with those interests so that they can put their skills to use while making a difference.

5. Incorporate Fun and Games Into Volunteering for Teens

Jumping into a volunteer situation may not come naturally for all kids — if they feel a little awkward, that’s completely normal! Something that can help is finding volunteer events that involve games or fun activities.

For instance, you can have teens play trivia or guessing games during donation drives. These are great ways to keep volunteers engaged while still supporting the mission of the event. Another option could be looking into volunteering with younger kids — this almost always involves playing fun games and activities with the kids that teens can easily help facilitate. 

How to Find Safe Volunteering Opportunities for Teens

As a parent, you want to be sure your child is safe when they’re volunteering. Researching organizations in advance can help identify any red flags as well as provide insight into how reputable they are within your local community.

Start by looking up reviews online. Check out websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar, which provide ratings based on itransparency of finances, mission, and board leadership. These rankings can give you an idea of each organization’s track record when it comes to quality service delivery — so make sure you take the time necessary to explore these before signing up.

There are also a couple of other additional safety measures that you should look for when it comes to teen volunteering. Do background checks exist for staff members? Is there an age limit set for volunteers? Are appropriate supervision protocols followed during group activities? Knowing this information upfront will give parents peace of mind knowing their teen is being taken care of at all times.

Keep Your Teens Safe With the Bark App

If you want to ensure your kids are safe both while volunteering and round-the-clock, Bark has got you covered! With Bark, you can monitor what your kids are looking at online and who they're talking to — giving you peace of mind knowing everyone stays safer. Start your free trial of Bark today!

kid doing homework on a laptop

If you’re a parent, odds are you’ve seen and heard hundreds of arguments pointing to screen time's positive or negative impact on your child’s development. While there may be two sides to this argument, it's undeniable that screens have become an integral part of learning. 

In this article, we’ll delve into both on the impact of screen time on learning. We’ll explore the benefits of screen time as well as the pros of limiting it — as well as how you can strike a balance with Bark’s help. 

The Many Benefits of Screen Time

Screen time isn't a one-size-fits-all concept. It’s evolved to encompass many experiences, from educational apps and online courses to social media and entertainment. Screen time has several benefits when it comes to learning and education.

Access to information

Computers and phones provide instant access to a wealth of knowledge, enabling children to explore diverse subjects and learn at their own pace. Gone are the days when you had to sift through library books or encyclopedias. Now, with just a few clicks, kids can explore the cosmos and find creative new ways to tackle math problems.

Interactive learning

Learning doesn’t have to be a drag. Educational apps and programs engage children through fun, interactive lessons that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Interactive learning games are especially helpful to younger children who might find it difficult to focus or stay disciplined when they aren’t interested in a topic or subject.

Visual learning

Not all students learn the same the way. For kids and teens who are more visual learners, online visual aids and multimedia content enhance comprehension and retention of complex topics like anatomy, physics, and more.

Global connectivity

Screens make communication and collaboration with experts worldwide easy. Global connections broaden children’s learning horizons as they may have access to more diverse and interesting viewpoints and teachers that they wouldn't have the opportunity to interact with otherwise.

Drawbacks of Screen Time

With all of the benefits that come along with screen time, it can also have some major drawbacks.

Reduced physical activity

If you’re spending all day looking at a screen, odds are you aren’t getting outside as much, or running around or playing actively with friends. Experts are worried this may lead to an overall more sedentary lifestyle for kids, impacting their long-term physical and mental health.

Attention and concentration

One of the biggest arguments against screen time is the effect it can have on developing brains. Several studies have delved into the potential correlation between longer screen time usage and a short attention span. In a world that already demands so much of our attention, this can greatly impact a child’s ability to focus on tasks or engage in deep learning.

Sleep disruption

Studies have shown that blue light emitted by screens can disrupt sleep patterns. Kids and children need plenty of sleep, and a lack of it can greatly affect your child’s ability to learn or perform academically. 

Risk of inappropriate and dangerous content

While the internet is filled with educational videos and exciting ways to learn and grow, unmonitored screen time can expose children to things we’d rather them not see — from porn to violent videos and even messages from strangers. The more time they spend in front of screens, the more likely they’ll encounter this dangerous content.

While screens offer many educational opportunities, maintaining a balance is essential. Research suggests too much screen time can hinder cognitive development, particularly in younger children. Encouraging outdoor play, fostering face-to-face interactions and promoting hobbies that don't involve screens are crucial for holistic growth.

How Bark Can Help

Acknowledging the pivotal role screens play in children's lives, Bark offers a comprehensive solution to help parents navigate the digital landscape. With Bark's advanced monitoring and parental control features, parents can track screen time, set healthy limits and promote safe exploration. Sign up for a free trial of Bark today and pave the way for a balanced screen time journey for your kids.

creepy animated dude on  a computer screen

Stranger danger used to mean talking to your child about creepy people in vans or what to do if you get separated at the mall. Today, stranger danger can happen anywhere, at any time, thanks to the internet. As a parent, this is an incredibly frightening thought and a big contributor to why so many parents are choosing to wait to give their children phones. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the signs that could signal your child is being groomed by a predator, as well as what you can do to help prevent it from happening. 

What Is Grooming?

Grooming is the intentional way a predator targets and manipulates a child into sexual abuse. It can happen in person or in real life, but in this blog post, we’ll be focusing on online grooming

One of the things that we’ve found to be true over the years here at Bark is: if there’s a way to chat online, predators will find their way in. It’s unfortunate, but it happens in apps you’d never expect: fitness apps, religious apps, apps for the youngest of kids. 

And while you may think that your child is smart enough to spot a predator from a mile away, the truth is that they’re incredibly manipulative and convincing. Some pretend to be other kids, while others provide a listening ear as an adult. 

5 Signs a Predator Could Be Grooming Your Kid

A new obsession with being online and available

You know your kid best — you know who they talk to the most, what games they play, and how much screen time they spend on their devices. If you start to notice a sudden and drastic shift in their habits, it may be a sign that they’re talking to someone who’s controlling them.

Presents and tech devices start showing up

One of the ways that online predators manipulate kids involves buying their attention. This could be with expensive video gaming consoles, gift cards, or other age-appropriate presents. The most disturbing gift is a new phone, which enables them to communicate without worrying about screen time limits or the original phone getting taken away.

Being very secretive about who they’re talking to

Apart from texting a crush and being embarrassed about it, there’s no real reason for a child to hide who they’re chatting with — unless it’s completely inappropriate. Some predators will manipulate kids by threatening to hurt them or their families if the secret gets out. What does being secretive look like? Take note if your child:

Exhibiting or discussing sexual behavior that’s mature

There’s an age-appropriate level of sexual knowledge and interest for every age, and we recommend familiarizing yourself with the primary ones. If a young child all of a sudden starts discussing sexual acts they’d have no way of knowing about except via an adult, this could be a sign that someone is telling them about it.

Withdrawing from friends and family

Predators can target kids who are lonely or feel misunderstood by their families. By claiming to “understand” them, they can create a connection that feels real to a child who is struggling with fitting in. As the kid gets more and more manipulated, they’ll become engrossed in the relationship and pull away from their usual activities.

How to Help Prevent Grooming

So, how do you spot the signs of grooming? Kids of any gender, family situation, and socioeconomic status can be targeted as victims of grooming – and no one is immune.

Evidence of grooming can be hard to spot because sexual predators are pros at coercing their victims into keeping quiet. To help protect your child from grooming, we recommend:

Above all, make sure your child knows they are not at fault for anything inappropriate an adult says or does to them. You’re there to help and protect them — not punish them for a predator’s actions. 

apple logo, number 17, red notification badge

It’s another September, which means it’s time for another iOS update for all the Apple families out there! This year, iOS 17 is dropping, and while not as groundbreaking as last year’s — editing and unsending texts! — there’s still plenty for parents to worry about. As usual, there’s also fun features that kids and parents alike will enjoy. 

iOS 17 Features to Worry About

Instant in-message location sharing

Instead of figuring out how to drop a pin (which somehow always takes a minute!), users can instantly share their location in the middle of texting. This is a cool feature if your child is meeting up with their best friend, but it could be concerning if they’re messaging someone you don’t know.

FaceTime video voicemails

Remember Marco Polo? Apple has created their own version of video messages with FaceTime video voicemails. If the person you’re contacting isn’t able to pick up, you have the option to leave them a message they can watch later — and also save into their camera roll to watch again. If you’re worried about this feature, the good news is that Bark can monitor saved photos and videos and alert you to inappropriate content. 

Number swapping with AirDrop

Your child will now be able to hold their iPhone near someone else’s iPhone or Apple Watch to use NameDrop. The ease with which they can get a stranger’s contact information is scary! Pro tip: Consider the Bark Phone, which allows you to approve every single contact your kid wants to add. 

Enhanced private browsing

Private Browsing now locks your private browsing windows when you’re not using them, completely blocks known trackers from loading on pages, and removes tracking added to URLs as you browse. Kids will be able to open private browser windows and lock them with their face or a passcode — a recipe for potential dangers!

Coming Later This Year


Using machine learning, “iPhones will create personalized suggestions of moments for you to remember and write about based on your photos, music, workouts, and more.” We already know that kids use Google Docs and the Notes app for keeping journals —this will be one more way to lock content on an iPhone.

Easy Airdrop image sending

You can put your iPhone close to someone else’s to initiate an AirDrop image transfer — and continue the transfer even if you step out of range.

iOS 17 Features Just for Fun


Have you ever wanted to turn your iPhone into a clock? Now you can with Standby mode. Simply turn your iPhone on its side while charging and set it so you can see a clock, a calendar, or the weather at a glance. 

Personalized contact screens for outgoing calls

You’ve always been able to add a contact photo for what you see when someone calls. Now, you customize what they see — a photo, a meme, a bitmoji, or something else entirely!

React with hands

Want to spread some cheer? You can now add a reaction that fills the camera frame with 3-D augmented reality effects like hearts, fireworks, confetti and more. 

Live stickers

Create your own stickers with animated versions of your live photos, which can be fun additions of your pet, your car, or anything else you’ve snapped a pic of. 

Swipe to reply

Instead of holding down on a message and choosing “Reply,” now you can just swipe to answer a text in the thread.

How Bark Can Help

Whether your child will have iOS 17 or will remain a few updates behind, Bark can help you with content monitoring, screen time management, website blocking, and location tracking! Start your free, one-week trial today to see how it can benefit your family. 

two kids, one athletic and one studious

Every child is unique, and as parents, it’s essential to adapt our parenting styles to meet their needs. One aspect that influences a child's life is whether they’re more introverted or extroverted. 

Children are rarely complete introverts or extroverts, but can definitely lean one way or the other. Understanding your child’s natural inclinations can help them succeed at home and beyond. Below, we explore the perks and challenges of raising introverted and extroverted children and provide practical tips to help them thrive.

The Perks and Challenges of Introverted Kids

Do you suspect your child is an introvert? They tend to be introspective and gain energy from solitary activities. Introverted children are often observant, thoughtful, and possess rich inner worlds. 

One of the perks of raising introverted children is their ability to focus deeply on their interests. They often have a natural inclination towards solitary activities like reading, art,video games, and music. This allows them to develop exceptional skills and a strong sense of self. Introverted kids are also known for their active listening abilities, empathy, and introspective thinking, which can lead to deep connections and meaningful relationships.

However, it's important to recognize and address the challenges that introverted children may face. They may struggle with social interactions and find large group settings overwhelming. It's crucial for parents to create a balance, allowing introverted children to have ample alone time to recharge and process their thoughts while also encouraging them to participate in social activities and make new friends. 

The Perks and Challenges of an Extroverted Child

Raising extroverted kids brings its own set of joys and challenges. Extroverted children thrive on social interactions and gain energy from being around others. Characteristics of an extrovert include being outgoing, acting enthusiastically, and enjoying being the center of attention. 

One of the perks of raising extroverted children is their ability to form connections easily. They are often highly sociable, making friends effortlessly and bringing energy and enthusiasm to social situations. Their outgoing nature can also lead to increased self-confidence and a strong sense of identity.

However, there are challenges to consider as well. Extroverted kids may have difficulty understanding personal boundaries, especially when it comes to talking to strangers. Parents need to teach them about “stranger danger” and appropriate behavior in different situations. Balancing their active lifestyle with necessary downtime is also important, as extroverted kids may be prone to burnout. 

How to Parent an Introverted Child

While parenting styles are multifaceted and there’s certainly never one right way to parent, consider these five tips for supporting your introverted child.

  1. Create a quiet retreat: Provide a dedicated space in your home where your introverted child can recharge and engage in solitary activities like reading, drawing or quiet reflection.
  2. Encourage hobbies and creative outlets: Support their interests and provide opportunities for them to explore their passions. This allows them to develop skills and boosts their self-esteem.
  3. Foster one-on-one connections: Encourage your child to develop meaningful friendships through smaller, more intimate settings. Playdates, shared interests and activities with a few close friends can help them build strong connections.
  4. Teach self-care practices: Help your introverted child understand the importance of self-care. Encourage activities like journaling, mindfulness and physical exercise that promote their well-being.
  5. Advocate for their needs: Be their advocate in social situations where they may feel overwhelmed. Encourage them to assert their boundaries and provide reassurance and guidance when needed.

How to Raise an Extroverted Child

Extroverted children might seem like “easy” children between their ability to make friends and thrive in social situations. Beyond this easy-breezy appearance, it’s important to safeguard your extroverted child against others and create times and places for them to rest. 

  1. Provide social opportunities: Engage your extroverted child in group activities, sports, and community events where they can meet new people and foster their social skills.
  2. Teach safety and awareness: Educate your child about potential dangers, such as talking to strangers or sharing personal information online. Help them understand boundaries and how to seek help when needed.
  3. Encourage active listening: Teach your extroverted child the importance of listening to others and respecting their perspectives. This skill enhances their communication abilities and fosters meaningful connections.
  4. Promote downtime and reflection: Help your child find a balance between social interactions and quiet moments. Encourage them to engage in activities like reading, writing or solitary hobbies that allow them to recharge.
  5. Embrace their enthusiasm: Celebrate your child's outgoing nature and support their passions. Encourage them to explore new activities, nurture their curiosity, and express themselves freely.

Celebrating Your Child’s Uniqueness

Ultimately, the key to supporting your child, whether introverted or extroverted, is acceptance. Celebrate their unique qualities and provide an environment where they can thrive authentically. By understanding their needs, fostering connections, and providing guidance, you can help your child navigate the world with confidence, empathy, and a strong sense of self.

How Bark Can Help

Regardless of whether your child is an introvert or an extrovert, raising a child in the digital age can be tough. Bark’s parental controls help you keep an eye on their online world. For introverted kids who love apps and games, we can help you set screen time limits and block inappropriate content. For extroverted kids, Bark will help you monitor their texts and messages for signs of bullying or online predators and give you peace of mind with our GPS location tracking. Sign up today for a free, one-week trial!

Ask Titania: What Do I need to know about child privacy?

Dear Titania,

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of pushback online about posting photos of kids on social media — even on private accounts! But at the same time, there are tons of parenting Instagram accounts out there that keep their young ones front and center. What’s the difference? And what should I be doing? I want to help keep my kids safe, but what harm could some pictures on the playground prove?


Perplexed About Posting

Dear Perplexed About Posting,

This is a very timely question! It seems like many parents are starting to realize just how problematic all of the online sharing they’ve done really is. This is partly a result of time: the internet and smartphones — and all of the ways they’ve changed our daily lives — have only been super popular since about 2007. 

It was a learn-as-you-go approach, and at first, we were so, so excited to be able to instantly share photos with family and friends. It was only natural that documenting their entire lives would follow. 

But now, as that crop of kids born around 2007 is about to enter adulthood, we’ve been charged with rethinking some things. 

To Begin, Imagine Your Child at Age 21

They’re finishing up college and applying for jobs — you’re so proud! But when their potential boss Googles them (as will inevitably happen), they suddenly gain access to pictures and stories of your child’s entire life. They see all of the photos and videos you’ve taken and posted on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WordPress, Twitter, Threads — you name it, and it’s there for the perusing.

Granted, not every parent posts on every platform, and not every child has a Google-able name (the John Smiths of the world are hard to find). But imagine having your entire childhood available for the world to see with just a few taps on the keyboard, and all without your permission. After all, the first photo of a child that ends up online is usually an ultrasound, before they’ve even been born.

We talk a lot about a child’s digital footprint  — how nudes and disappearing messages can stay forever online — but not about how a parent’s digital footprint can affect kids. Before your child can consent to photos and videos of them being online (before they can even talk!), you’re making the decision for them. Some of these photos may be embarrassing, weird, or inappropriate. Some may be perfectly fine or innocent, as well. But they’re all there without an okay from your kid.

A Brief History of Sharenting

Before the internet, we shared photos of kids. Physically. We mailed them to grandparents, sent Sears photo session postcards during the holidays, and popped hastily taken Polaroids in envelopes. 

Then, the internet came. You could now email digital photos! Facebook next opened a world of possibilities with photo albums. Instagram followed suit. Around this same time, blogging really took off, and the concept of “mom bloggers” emerged —  moms (and dads) who would painstakingly document the daily life of raising kids, messy hair, tantrums, and all. The most popular bloggers got sponsors, enabling them to make money from ads. 

Eventually, the concept of mom blogging transformed into the parenting influencer. Instead of a blog, these parents shared social media posts and videos of their kids and their family’s life. When they get enough followers, brands pay them to promote their products — anything from trendy snacks to hair care tools. And full disclosure: At Bark, we’ve worked with influencers to help raise awareness about our offerings and impact.

It’s More Than Privacy, It’s Safety

At the end of the day, there’s more to this than just a child’s digital identity. It’s how closely linked privacy is to safety. Here are just a few ways they’re intertwined. 


CSAM stands for child sexual abuse material. Any photo of a child that’s freely available online has the potential to be downloaded and shared online with potential nefarious purposes. These images may be photoshopped into sexual poses or shared on the dark web among pedophiles. 

Potential stalking

When you post photos of your child day in and day out, it can become easy to learn where your family spends their time. This means predators could triangulate the path you take home from school, for example. And those back-to-school photos with chalkboards detailing your kid’s grade, age, teacher, school, and interests? It’s like broadcasting to the entire world the most intimate details of your child’s life. 

Identity theft

It may not seem like it, but another potential danger is someone online stealing your child’s identity. And while a 6-year-old can’t apply for a credit card, a hacker using your child’s name, address, and location may be able to!


Everything that lives online publically can be found by people — including your child’s peers. If you’re posting a ton of photos of them on your personal Instagram account, for example, this could open them up to bullying. Is it fair? Absolutely not. But growing up is hard, and it’s even harder in the digital age. 

What You Can Do

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to share and document your child’s life — you just need to be mindful about everything. The first (and easiest) thing to do is to lock down all of your social media profiles. Make them private. And if you have a lot of followers that you don’t know, consider if you really need them. Or, at the very least, you could make a close friends list so only your besties see photos of your kids. 

Most parents aren’t influencers, and we’re all out here just trying to raise our kids the best way we know how, all while trying to preserve some legacy via photos for our families. It’s actually a gift, being able to do this. Before about 1960 or so, video of a child’s first steps was only a dream, something that lived only in memory. 

As you go forward, just try to remember that this is all relatively new in the grand scheme of things, and try to picture your child as an adult and what they’d want others to learn about them from a quick Google search.

magnifying glass

Location tracking is one of the many technological advances that’s become a common part of life for most of us. We can track the exact location of almost anything — our packages, food deliveries, and even loved ones at any moment we want. 

When it comes to parenting, location-tracking begs some important questions. Like, “What’s the best way to track my kid’s location?” “Does it matter if it’s GPS or Bluetooth?” “Should I even be tracking my kid in the first place?”

These are all great questions — and a tricky subject to navigate for some families. So we created this handy guide that includes what options are out there as well as our researched recommendations on what’s best. 

What’s the Difference Between GPS and Bluetooth?

When it comes to tracking devices, there are generally two main options: GPS tracking and Bluetooth. There are quite a few differences between these, such as battery life, size, and price. For the sake of this conversation, we’re going to focus on the most important: connection range. 

GPS location tracking

GPS tracking uses the signals that come from all the satellites above the earth to pinpoint something’s exact location. So the GPS in your car is constantly communicating with the satellites in order to tell you what exit to take on your road trip.

Bluetooth location tracking

The technology for Bluetooth devices is more local: instead of using satellites in the sky, it communicates directly with your phone using radio waves. Popular examples of Bluetooth location tracking are Apple Airtags or Tile trackers, which people use to keep track of things like keys, wallets, and other personal effects. 

What’s the Best Option To Track My Kid’s Location?

If you think about your Bluetooth headphones, you’re most likely using them within just a couple of feet of your phone. Now imagine trying to listen to music with your headphones if your phone suddenly floated down the street to your kid’s school. You probably wouldn’t expect the connection to last very long, right? 

That’s why it is highly recommended to not use Bluetooth tracking devices on kids. Their connection range is usually a maximum of 200-300 feet, and your kid could very easily find themselves outside of that range.

So instead, we turn to GPS! GPS tracking technology, due to all the satellites available to communicate with, is highly reliable and efficient in tracking the location of anything that moves around a lot (like Ubers, rogue dogs, and teenagers.)  This is why Bark utilizes real-time GPS location tracking on both our app and Bark Phone, to give our parents peace of mind when keeping tabs on their kid’s whereabouts. 

Why Should I Be Tracking My Kid’s Location in the First Place?

The short answer is, it’s up to you! There’s really no right or wrong here. For some parents, they prefer knowing where their kids are, even if it’s just down the street at a friend’s house. There could also be outside factors, such as the child has a disability or it’s specifically used when the child is away at a sports competition, camp, etc. 

Other parents, however, feel it’s not as necessary for their family. Maybe they have a different system worked out for when the parent wants to know where their child is. (Remember growing up when our parents would say “Come home when the street lights come on”?) It may feel old school, but for some families, it works!

How Bark Can Help

If you decide it’s best to use location-tracking for your kids, consider using Bark! Bark doesn’t just offer real-time GPS tracking, we also offer location alerts and check-ins. Location alerts will automatically tell parents when kids arrive at frequently visited places, such as school, home, or a best friend’s house. And with check-ins, your child can proactively push their current location to you, without having to call or text. 

Bark can also help you monitor your child’s online content across texts, emails, and 30+ social media, and send you alerts if they encounter harmful content. We have robust screen time features that allow parents to set screen time schedules, block inappropriate apps and sites, and pause the internet on their child’s device. Start your free, one-week trial today!

girl looking sad with emojis illustrated around her

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and for four weeks, organizations, companies, and families around the world remember those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and promote ways to get help for those who are struggling.

It may be hard to believe, but suicide affects more than just adults — it’s been a growing issue for young people for years, which is why it’s important that parents learn about risk factors and how to get help.

This Month, #BeThe1To

The message of the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline this Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (and beyond) is #BeThe1To. It urges family and friends close to someone suicidal to be the one to:

5 Things Parents Need to Know During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

1. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for kids ages 10–14. 

This is one suicide statistic that is nearly impossible to believe but is so important to know. Related, pediatric suicide rates have increased significantly in America almost tripling between 2007 and 2017 among children ages 10 to 14. This rise has made suicide responsible for more child deaths than any single major medical illness. 

2. Knowing the risk factors and warning signs can help you recognize suicidal ideation

Risk factors for kids that increase the chances of suicidal thoughts include:

Some typical warning signs are:

You know your child best — if these symptoms don’t seem quite on point, but you still suspect something may be wrong, talk to them. Here are a few ways to talk to your child about suicide in a way that’s age-appropriate. 

3.  But being suicidal doesn’t always look like you’d expect

When a suicide happens and family are friends are blindsided — think honor roll students, star athletes, or even celebrities like Twitch from The Ellen Show — many people claim they didn’t see it coming. In reality, the warning signs may have just been harder to spot, especially when kids are feeling pressured to be perfect or perform at high levels. Be sure to check in on people no matter how accomplished or well-adjusted they may seem.

4. Talking about suicide won’t encourage suicide attempts

When it comes to talking to your child about suicide, it can be so, so scary. It’s every parent’s nightmare. But while it’s a hard conversation to have, you may not have to worry about it encouraging them to take action. 

According to the CDC, research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide actually feel relief when someone talks to them about it in a caring way. Data suggests that acknowledging and discussing suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts. 

If you’re worried about your child feeling suicidal, the most important thing you can do them is talk openly about it. You have to learn what they’re going through before you can help them. 

5. There are multiple resources and hotlines available for support

Whether it’s your child, a friend, a co-worker, or even an acquaintance, it’s important to know that there are available resources for suicide prevention, how to talk about it, and where to turn for help when it’s needed:

How Bark Can Help

Bark’s award-winning service helps families by monitoring children’s online activities for potential signs of depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and more. When you connect their device and accounts, Bark will scan for potential issues and send you an alert if something concerning is found. 

Examples of suicidal ideation in online activity include:

If you get an alert, you can check in with your child and make sure everything’s okay — and get your child help, if needed. And if you’re worried about your child’s immediate safety, dial 911. 

Start your free, 7-day trial of Bark today.