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Internet Safety Tips

Everything You Need to Know About Bark’s Content Monitoring

Haley Zapal  |  November 20, 2023

The term “monitoring” gets thrown around a lot these days when it comes to online safety. But what exactly does it mean? Well, it turns out that it depends on who you’re talking to!

Here at Bark, our definition of monitoring refers to content monitoring, and it’s how we help nearly 6 million children stay safe online and in real life. Our competitors often say they do it too, but it’s not what you think. And spoiler alert: We do it best.

Only Bark actively scans your child’s online activity for danger

Our content monitoring relies on advanced artificial intelligence.  When Bark is hooked up to your child’s accounts and devices, it continually scans and analyzes their messages, texts, emails, chats, photos, and social media posts for signs of danger. 

This process is meant to mimic a parent’s discerning gaze. For example, if you saw that your child was texting a friend about feeling depressed and wishing they weren’t alive, an alert would go off in your mind and you’d immediately take action. 

Bark does this for you — but quicker, more precisely, and with round-the-clock analysis. If something concerning is found, you’ll get a timely alert so you can check in with your child and make sure everything is okay. Also, we don’t give you complete access to everything on their phone, just potential issues you’d want to know about. This saves you time so you can focus on the most important things affecting your kid, and not a million harmless Fortnite memes. 

How Content Monitoring Helps Keep Your Child Safe

Bark runs in the background of your child’s device, scanning all of their online activities for issues like predators, sexual content, bullying, depression, suicidal ideation, and more. We can even alert you if your child downloads a risky app or creates a new social media account.

Our advanced technology is trained to focus not only on content, but also context. It can tell the difference between “If you’re late to chemistry again, Ms. Jones will kill you” versus “I’m scared Tyler will bring a gun to school and kill someone.”

And because language and communication in the digital age are constantly changing and evolving, Bark even keeps up with the latest teen slang and can translate what emojis really mean. This is huge because parents may take a look at their child's texts and see seemingly harmless things like the peach emoji or the plug emoji. In reality, these mean "butt" and "drug dealer," respectively. Quite a difference!

Bark's algorithm for identifying potential dangers in kidspeak has been training and building for 8 years, which means that nobody can come close to content scanning like we can.

What Other Companies Mean When They Use The Word “Monitor”

No other company on the market is currently doing exactly what Bark does when it comes to scanning activities for signs of danger. What they are doing, however, is using the term “monitor” to mean “report on” or “keep an eye on.” 

For example, if an app says it lets you “monitor phone usage,” that probably means they’ll send you a report at the end of the week with details about how your child spent time online. This could look like the total number of hours spent on Snapchat, Instagram, and maybe even which websites that were visited.  But it's passive, and doesn't help you protect your child from threats.

Keep in mind that two of the biggest online safety apps do this absolutely for free — Apple Screen Time and Google Family link both track your activity and provide you with graphs and data about your online activity. But they do not send you critical alerts about your kid’s online safety.

Why Bark Comes Out On Top 

Only Bark gives you real, potentially life-changing information about your child’s world.  As a parent, staying tuned in to your kid’s world and feelings is important to their physical and emotional well-being, and we give you the tools to help them learn about and thrive with the technology that they’ll be using for the rest of their life.

With Bark, you can not only monitor content, you can also create custom screen time schedules for your child, block inappropriate websites and apps, and track their location with GPS 24/7.

We’d love for you to try Bark and see if it’s a good fit for your family. Sign up today for your free, one-week trial. We also have the Bark Phone, a groundbreaking device that comes with Bark built-in along with a ton of other features like contact approvals, remote phone locking, and so much more.

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls