collection of popular podcasts for kids

With all the different forms of entertainment available to kids nowadays, podcasts can easily get lost among all the YouTube shorts and Fortnite battles. But podcasting is just as vast and popular, with over 90 million weekly podcast listeners in America alone. And there are tons of quality podcasts for kids that will actually grab and keep their attention. 

Podcasts are like modern-day radio and can be about almost any subject you can think of. But unlike the radio, you don’t have to wait to listen to your favorite show — you can stream it on demand any time you like, 24/7. And the best part — podcasts are super easy to find on most devices and platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Stitcher. 

We've put together everything parents need to know to introduce their kids to podcasts, including our top picks for the best podcasts for kids. Let’s dive in! 

Why Should My Kid Listen to Podcasts?

Podcasts are an awesome way for kids to learn new things in a fun, more personal way. No matter what your child is interested in, there’s most likely a podcast about it. 

Here are some benefits of podcasts for kids:

Best podcasts for kids under 5 years old

Kids under the age of 5 tend to have shorter attention spans and are still developing their listening comprehension skills. It’s best to stick to podcasts with very simple vocabulary and episodes that are short and entertaining. Podcasts with simple stories, engaging music, and repetitive concepts are great for kids under the age of 5.

Story Pirates

Story Pirates takes story ideas from kids themselves and turns them into creative and fun sketches and audio stories. These stories will have your kids giggling away in the backseat with a new story every week. Parents will also love hearing some familiar voices on Story Pirates, from Kristen Bell to Julie Andrews. 

Circle Round

It’s like story time but better. Circle Round shares folktales from around the world, filled with music and engaging storytelling — perfect for younger kids. There is also a digital component with visuals that can be used to create an immersive podcast experience.

Story Seeds

Similar to Story Pirates, this podcast uses ideas submitted by young listeners as seeds. Then, in each episode, the author and host take that seed and turn it into a whimsical and engaging story that kids will completely fall in love with.

Best podcasts for kids 6–10 years old

At this age, podcasts can help target critical thinking skills and include even more educational components to elevate their learning. Interactive elements are a great way to keep 6-10-year-olds engaged with their podcasts. While there can be more variety here, stories that are easy to follow with recurring themes can make podcasts easier to follow for this age group.

Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest

Though this one sounds a little grim, it’s actually a play on the Brothers Grimm, who originally wrote some of the most famous fairy tales, like Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel. With engaging storytelling, vibrant soundscapes, and a touch of humor, Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest introduces young listeners to familiar stories with unexpected twists, keeping them entertained while exploring the stranger sides of these tales. 

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

This serialized science fiction podcast follows Finn Caspian — an 8-year-old boy — and his friends as they explore the universe. It’s like a weekly TV series but in audio format. With over 11 seasons, kids can enjoy intergalactic adventures, blending space exploration, friendship, and problem-solving lessons. The characters are relatable and similar in age, making it a fun choice for kids aged 6–10.

But Why?

We all know kids love to ask why. So, help satisfy their curious minds with a podcast designed to answer exactly that question. Every episode, this podcast covers diverse topics—ranging from science and nature to culture and history. But Why? encourages children to ask questions and approach the world with a curious mind. Not only will your child uncover facts about some of the most fascinating topics, it will keep them entertained for hours.

Best podcasts for teens 11–14 years old

Once kids hit their tween and teen years, they generally have much stronger language and information-processing skills. Here’s where more complex themes can be appropriate. Kids at this age tend to develop more specific interests, so it can be helpful to pick podcasts that are relevant to their interests.

Smash Boom Best

Smash Boom Best is hosted by kids, and in it the hosts turn those heated dining room table debates into podcast episodes. And when we say debates, we mean the serious kind — like pizza vs. tacos. Not only will kids learn fun facts about new topics each week, but they’ll also get a taste of debate. Smash Boom Best encourages kids to consider diverse perspectives, form their own opinions, and develop strong reasoning skills as they navigate the exciting world of debates and friendly competition. Kids can also come back and vote for who they think won after every episode.

Stuff You Should Know

This one is like the But Why? podcast but for a slightly older audience. Stuff You Should Know is essentially a grab bag of random topics that the hosts, Josh and Chuck, research and share with listeners in a lighthearted and comedic way. They cover everything you can think of — from the scientific reason we have body odor to the fascinating history of journaling. Some episodes may cover some mature material, such as war or drugs, which is why we put it in the 11–14 category. 

The Big Fib

In a world where Fake News has become an all-too-common phrase, The Big Fib teaches kids valuable critical thinking skills. It’s a game show format podcast where each week, a kid interviews two experts. But here’s the catch: one of them isn’t an expert. As kids dig through fun facts and witty conversation, they start to uncover which one is the imposter.

Stuff You Missed In History Class

This one’s for the kids who fancy themselves as history buffs. Hosted by enthusiastic and passionate historians, Stuff You Missed In History Class dives into some of the lesser-known events in history. It encourages students to go beyond what they learn in school and to get a different perspective on the world that came before them. Episodes are well-researched and cited, making it perfect for those looking to impress their peers or go above and beyond on their next history assignment.

Best podcasts for teens 15–18 years old

As older kids, they can be exposed to more mature subjects. They can also handle more complex themes that require strong comprehension skills. 

The Mortified Podcast

By this point, all teens will be familiar with all the embarrassing moments that come with growing up. The Mortified Podcast makes those feelings and experiences feel normal with real-life stories by adults from their teen years. The relatable stories can help older teens in the long yet gratifying journey of self-discovery. Plus, the stories are sometimes downright funny. Hopefully, listening teens can learn to not take themselves and their “mortifying” experiences too seriously. 

Grown, a podcast from The Moth 

Very similar to The Mortified Podcast, Grown is a collection of stories told by people from all walks of life. And many stories are told by adolescents themselves, giving it a relatable and empowering quality for teens listening. The podcast encourages the idea that everyone has a unique perspective to share and we can learn the most by listening to perspectives very different from our own. 

TED Talks

You might be familiar with TED Talks. But if not, they’re a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to spread ideas and knowledge around the world. While they host many talks live and on YouTube, they also have a podcast. While subjects can vary, it’s a treasure trove of inspiration, knowledge, and diverse perspectives. Talks cover topics ranging from science and technology to personal development, social issues, and creativity. While some topics can be more mature or complex than others, many older teens will love learning from experts in these episodes.

Explore the world of podcasts with Bark

If you and your child haven't explored the world of podcasts, now is the perfect time to start! But, like anything in the digital world, not everything is always safe for your kids. Fortunately, Bark makes it easy for the entire family to explore podcasts while staying safe. Bark can help you block inappropriate sites and apps, as well as scan your child’s device for concerning content and send you alerts. We can even monitor Spotify and send you an alert if your child is listening to a podcast or song with inappropriate content. Learn more about how Bark can help your family and start your free, 7-day trial today!

girl on smartphone with illustrated emojis around her

In today's digital world, weaving technology seamlessly into our family fabric is both an art and a necessity. And the new year is a perfect time to reassess and create better methods of balancing tech with our kids. So let's take a moment to talk about some important tips when it comes to setting healthy technology boundaries for the family. Rules for technology at home should be thoughtful and deliberate, guiding us toward a harmonious coexistence with our digital devices.

Reflect On Your Current Habits  

It's time to pause and reflect on our family's current technology habits. Do you feel like screens tend to take the spotlight during family time? Are there certain moments you wish were screen-free, like family dinner or the car ride to school? Take some time to list out those habits and create a plan to be more proactive about it going forward. By incorporating rules for technology at home, you can establish clear expectations that enhance family interactions.

Understand Why Boundaries Are Important

Boundaries are important in all areas of life, but especially with tech and social media when it’s so easy to get carried away with them. The right boundaries will help you consistently balance the good (and bad) that come from technology. Remember, these boundaries aren't about saying no to tech; they're about saying yes to deeper connections. Clear expectations mean smooth sailing in the digital sea.

How to Set Up Technology Boundaries for Kids: Strive For Practical, Reasonable Steps

Kids of all ages have their own rhythm, and setting age-appropriate limits can help them find the sweet spot. This is where parental controls come into play like a trusty sidekick — they can ensure that your preferred screen time schedule happens without you having to manually turn off screens. Now that’s peak practicality! 

The Bark Home is an especially helpful tool when it comes to screen time. With the Bark Home, you can add all of your internet-connected devices (such as phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, smart TVs, smart assistants, and more), decide on a screen time schedule, and watch the devices turn off exactly when you want! Learn more about how the Bark Home can help you efficiently set screen time boundaries in the new year. 

Consider Intentional Screen-Free Times

Think about those times when you want fewer screens and family connections. Whether it's a game night, a backyard picnic, or just good old face-to-face chats, these moments create memories that last. Quality family time isn't just fun — it's the secret sauce for stronger bonds.

Get the Whole Family Involved

Open communication with everyone—big and small—makes setting tech boundaries a team effort. When everyone has a say, it's like crafting a family tech masterpiece together. And we mean that literally — we highly encourage families to write out their tech goals together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Then you can hang it up somewhere everyone can see to hold each other more accountable. It may be helpful to take a look at our tech contract to use as a template for your New Year tech resolutions. 

Remember to be Flexible

As we dive into the new year, remember—setting those tech boundaries is an ongoing adventure, not a one-time thing. You’ll probably have to make adjustments to your goals as both kids and parents have different needs. And of course, you’re not always going to keep your technology boundaries perfectly. But that’s life! And that’s how we teach kids to go with the flow when they watch us do it. 

Thinking Your Kid May Need a New Phone in the New Year?

If you’re thinking this next year may be the right time for your child to get a phone, you’ll want to check out the Bark Phone. It’s a smartphone designed with kid’s safety in mind, coming with all the parental bells and whistles you could hope for! It’s almost completely customizable to fit the needs of your kids — whether they need lots of restrictions or just some lighter guardrails. It comes with Bark’s screen time and web filtering controls, as well as our award-winning content monitoring that will scan your child’s phone for concerning content. Learn how to set up technology boundaries for kids with Bark. If Bark detects something you need to know about, you’ll be sent an alert straight to your phone. Order the Bark Phone today! 

Let’s face it — our lives are becoming more and more digital every single day. And our finances are no different. There’s an app for just about every aspect of money management, from budgeting, to banking, and even transferring money to one another. 

Kids are no exception, and you may find yourself in spot where you’d like your child to have a money transfer app. While it may not seem like this topic requires an in-depth conversation with your child, it’s actually a great way to begin teaching them about financial literacy and the importance of money management! Money transfer app can be your child’s first step towards a building healthy spending habits. 

What are money transfer apps?

Money-transferring apps are digital software used to send or receive money. These apps make it possible to exchange money at the click of a button instead of using cash, checks, or even having to visit a bank branch.

Some popular money transfer apps you’ve probably heard of and even used yourself include:

Challenges with money transfer apps

The benefits of money transfer apps are obvious — it’s a thousand times easier to send money digitally rather than digging in your pockets for some change. But as with all things, there are some drawbacks to consider. 

The biggest concern is the huge potential for scams and criminal activity. This may be may especially concerning when kids are on these apps, as they may not be able to recognize bad actors when they see them.

Along these lines, parents should also be aware of the role money transer apps play in sextortion schemes. If you don’t already know, sextortion is a common scam where people (often teenagers) are convinced to send inappropriate pictures to a stranger online. Then, this stranger threatens to share these sensitiive photos online unless they pay the scammer a high price. More often than not, they’ll tell the teenager to download the Cash App or PayPal to send them the money. 

One thing parents can look out for is if their child tries to hide a money transfer app or asks for one seemingly out of nowhere. Pro tip: the Bark Phone lets you require app approval so you know what they’re getting into.

Another concern is the possibility of user error, such as putting in the wrong recipient information or sending the wrong amount. Unfortunately, these digital transactions are often irreversible, so be sure your child knows how to accurately use these apps.  

Why you should talk to your child about sending money online

Managing money might feel like an adult conversation, but there are awesome benefits to inviting your kids into the conversation sooner rather than later. Just to name a few:

How to speak to your child about money transfer apps

Open conversations about your child’s digital experiences is one of the most important parts of raising your child in tech world. So here are our top three tips for having conversations with your kids about money transfer apps!

Be transparent

As with any conversation with your child, it’s best to be as transparent as possible while also keeping it age appropriate. Consider your own history or habits when it comes to money management and perhaps share a story or piece of advice with them that you've learned along the way. Kids often appreciate when parents are direct and honest about these things and they’ll feel more comfortable asking questions and telling you about issues they may run into in the future. 

Highlight safety and security measures

As we mentioned, kids can easily get caught in scams or other nefarious online activities involving money transfer apps. Be sure they’re aware of common red flags on these apps, as well as general digital safety practices, such as never sharing personal or sensitive information with strangers online. 

Common scams or red flags to look out for might include:

We also suggest looking into kid-friendly payment apps, such as:

Encourage questions

Kids can be curious creatures and fostering that curiosity can actually help keep them safe! As you have discussions about money management, make sure to ask your child if they have any questions. Encourage them to ask about anything they don't understand or want to know more about.

Improve digital safety of money-transferring apps with Bark

Money transfer apps are a great way to encourage kid’s responsibility with money and online activities. And Bark can also help you foster your child’s online independence, while still helping to keep them safe! Our parental control software helps parents like you protect their child while giving them the freedom to explore technology on their own. From monitoring content to limiting websites and apps, you can feel confident knowing that you’re keeping your child safe online.The best part? You can get a free, one-week trial. Sign up today!

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.

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!

child smiling with illustrated emojis around her

With the onset of social media, it’s become an increasingly difficult job to develop our kid’s self-confidence. As soon as they open Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or any other app, they’re seeing other people’s “perfect” appearance — and then the comparison game begins. Of course, these “perfect” appearances are often altered with editing apps, but this is easily overlooked by impressionable kids. 

So our job as parents is to protect our children’s self-confidence, even when it seems social media does its best to tear it down! Below, we’ll discuss why self-confidence matters, how to build self-confidence in your children, how to talk to your kids about body image, and much more. Let’s jump in!

Why Self-Confidence Matters

Did you know that kids and young teens with high self-confidence are more likely to have success in school, relationships, and other areas of life? This is because they feel empowered to take risks and try new things. They’re also better able to handle failure since they know that setbacks don't define them — they can always try again! 

Confidence builds up over time through positive reinforcement from parents, teachers, peers, and mentors who help children realize their unique strengths and talents. It’s also important for parents to encourage healthy habits, like eating healthy and exercising regularly, to foster a positive body image. 

Tips for Parents to Improve a Child's Self-Confidence

1.   Be a positive role model

If you want to learn how to build self-confidence in children, you should start with your own habits. To inspire the same in your kids, modeling positive physical and emotional behavior can go a long way. Set a good example by staying true to yourself and speaking kindly about yourself and others. It may not always seem like it, but kids are always taking cues from their parents to figure out what to do.

2.   Focus on developing healthy communication skills

The best way to encourage healthy communication is to make sure your kid knows they can express their feelings to you without fear of judgment or criticism. This helps build trust between you and your child and builds problem-solving skills, which they can use in every part of life. Start conversations with meaningful questions such as  “Would you like me to listen if something is bothering you?” instead of the normal “How was school today?”

Letting children know they have an outlet when things get tough reinforces the idea that speaking up isn't a weakness but rather a strength — allowing them space for honest expression builds connection on an emotional level which will serve them well into adulthood.

3.   Be body positive

If your child struggles with confidence, it’s likely that they have a poor body image that contributes to this. Try to reinforce body-positive ideas, that no one actually has a “perfect” body like we see on social media, and the best body you can have is the one that is healthiest! 

Another key aspect of being body-positive is to explain that beauty comes from within, not simply what we look like on the outside. For kids, this can be hard to genuinely believe, when the desire to be accepted by others is so strong. Even adults struggle with this sometimes. But parents can be intentional about focusing on inner qualities, such as a child’s creativity or intelligence, as opposed to just focusing on physical appearance. 

4.   Celebrate their successes

You can help foster a strong sense of confidence within your children by showing unconditional love and support regardless of how successful they are at any given task or activity. Remember, never criticize them — we all make mistakes, and that’s okay! By celebrating their successes, you validate their efforts and their abilities, allowing them to develop a greater willingness to try new things.

5.   Encourage vulnerability

Encouraging your kids to be vulnerable by expressing their feelings honestly will help them learn how best to cope with difficult emotions. Unfortunately, when kids are taught to hide their emotional needs growing up, this can ultimately lead to substance use disorders and other issues in the future. Learning how to self-regulate will not only help them learn how to deal with their emotions healthily, but it will also nurture their self-confidence.

6.   Teach them to engage in self-care activities

Self-care activities such as meditation, journaling, art therapy, or engaging in other hobbies can be incredibly beneficial for helping kids boost their own levels of happiness. When kids take part in activities that help them feel emotionally balanced, they’re able to handle setbacks much easier and reduce stress. This lays a strong developmental foundation and ultimately promotes greater self-confidence in young kids.

Bringing Kids into the Conversation

Parents need to bring their children into the conversation about self-confidence, especially when it relates to body image. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but talking openly about these issues is important to help kids develop a positive mindset. Parents can start by asking questions such as “How do you feel about your body?” or “What do you think when you see images of people online?” This will create space for open and healthy dialogue with kids. Remind them that not everything they see on Instagram or TikTok is real. 

You can also encourage your children to make healthy choices that support their physical and mental well-being. Kids should be encouraged to participate in activities they enjoy, such as sports, music, art, or any other activity that allows them to express themselves freely. Helping children and young teens learn how to take care of their physical health through diet and exercise can go a long way toward developing confidence in themselves and their bodies.

When to Get Professional Help

If you’ve realized your child is struggling with self-confidence or body image issues, there comes a point when assistance is needed. If your child is struggling with depression or anxiety, extreme dieting, self-harm behaviors, or simply feeling overwhelmed by life in general, then seeking out a counselor or therapist can be beneficial. Professional help gives children the opportunity to talk through their feelings with someone who understands and has experience dealing with similar situations.

Fortunately, your help as a parent, coupled with professional guidance, can help get your child on the right track when it comes to building self-confidence and better self-esteem.

How Bark Can Help

If you need help monitoring what your kids are viewing online, the Bark app can help! Our app has helped countless parents recognize the warning signs of low self-confidence and depression in their children and helped them support their kids when it was most needed. So if you’re ready to start building your child’s self-esteem, try a free trial of the Bark app today.

family looking at a computer

Contracts play an important role in the professional world. These pieces of paper set expectations, create boundaries, and lay down rules. With them, difficult situations can be avoided or solved in the workplace.

But if you are having trouble navigating complex dynamics at home, it might be time to think outside the box with a family contract. They can provide much-needed structure and bring clarity to common arguments.

Whether you’re just checking in, aiming to curb screen time, or solving a bigger problem, learn more about family contracts below. From what they are to how they benefit family dynamics and more — the solution to your family problems is signed, sealed and delivered! 

What is a Family Contract?

A family contract is a mutual agreement between family members that outlines shared goals, responsibilities and guidelines for various aspects of family life, from tech boundaries to curfew times, chores and more. By engaging in open conversations and collectively setting rules, families can strengthen their bonds and create a harmonious environment.

How Can It Benefit Family Dynamics?

When you set expectations, everyday situations and inevitable hiccups are more likely to be resolved smoothly. Here are just some of the many benefits of setting up a family contract:

Improved communication

Crafting a family contract encourages open and honest communication about well, nearly everything! Regular discussions help family members express their thoughts, concerns and needs, fostering a sense of belonging and respect.

Collaborative decision making

Involving all family members in the contract's creation promotes a sense of ownership and teamwork. This process of working together can teach compromise, a skill that is valuable in all aspects of life.

Conflict resolution

When arguments and tension arise, your family contract serves as a reference point for resolving disagreements. This minimizes disputes, enabling family members to work together towards solutions.

How it Can Help Promote a Healthy Lifestyle for Your Kids

Beyond establishing peace, mutual respect, and better communication, family contracts can also help your children establish a healthy lifestyle by:

Establishing priorities

A family contract aids in defining priorities, ensuring that screen time doesn't overshadow other important activities like outdoor play, family meals, and quality bonding time.

Setting healthy boundaries

With electronic usage rules clearly outlined in the contract, children learn to manage their screen time responsibly, reducing the risk of excessive exposure to digital devices.

Encouraging well-rounded development

By putting boundaries on screen time or other activities, children may have more chances to engage in physical activities, explore creative interests and develop crucial social skills.

How Bark Can Help

In a world dominated by screens, a family contract can be a beacon of balance, fostering strong family relationships while promoting healthy lifestyles. By involving all family members in its creation and tailoring it to individual needs, a family contract becomes a powerful tool for achieving harmony in the digital age and beyond. 

To enhance your family's journey towards a healthier screen-time balance and safer online experiences, consider incorporating Bark's parental control features. Start your free trial of Bark today and embark on a path to a more connected and balanced family life.

If there’s one thing almost everyone has experienced at one point in their childhood, it’s peer pressure. As kids (and even as adults), it’s hard to resist the temptation of looking “cool” in front of peers. Especially in developing years when kids are still learning what’s right and wrong, peer pressure can be an easy trap to fall into. 

It’s difficult for kids to navigate, but it’s just as difficult for parents as well. How do you effectively protect your kids against peer pressure without holding their hand in every decision? Well, there isn’t one exact, easy answer. But we’ve put together some tips that can become helpful tools in your kid’s toolbox if they ever encounter pressure from their peers. Our hope is that both kids and parents will feel more confident in their child’s decision-making skills as they go through childhood!

What Is Peer Pressure?

We’ve all heard the term, but what is peer pressure exactly?

In general, peer pressure is considered to be external pressure from peers (or friends) to act a certain way or do something they wouldn’t do otherwise. 

It’s worth noting that not all peer pressure is bad. Sometimes you need extra pressure from friends to do something good, like try out for the school play or sports team. Peer pressure can simply be friendly encouragement. But obviously, we’re more concerned with peer pressure that leads to wrong, dangerous, or generally ill-advised behavior. 

Peer pressure can happen in a few different ways:

  1. Everyone else is doing it: Your child can feel pressured to take part because everyone around them is doing it. This can be because they feel like they’re missing out or because they feel like they’ll lose friends if they don’t. This type of peer pressure is more indirect.
  2. Someone is telling them to do it: This type of peer pressure can be more direct. A friend or classmate might be pushing your child or coercing them into doing something. This person may be threatening them or simply being overly pushy, impacting your child’s decision-making skills.

Regardless of how your child is being peer pressured, it’s important to empower them with strategies and tools to stand up for themselves.

Tips for How To Deal With Peer Pressure 

1.   Build trust with your child

The most important thing when it comes to navigating tricky situations with your child is to give them a safe place to turn.

If your child feels like you might get angry or judge them, they probably won’t feel comfortable confiding in you if they’re in trouble. At Bark, we like the saying, “Good kids make bad decisions.” Make sure your kid knows they’re allowed to make mistakes and you’ll be there for them no matter what. 

2.   Practice saying no

When it comes to peer pressure, the key is saying no. But this is often easier said than done. Standing up for what’s right, even when it’s easier to give in, is a trait we praise heroes for (think Gandhi or Rosa Parks). So we can hardly expect a child to do this easily without some instruction! 

Role-playing can be a very helpful tool to give your child the confidence to say no when they’re being pressured. Take time to think up some pretend situations together and help your child practice.

3.   Be a role model

Kids are like parrots — they’re always watching their parent's behavior and mimicking it, whether they realize it or not. 

Consider your real-life interactions with friends and family where you had to set boundaries. These can be great opportunities to model what saying no looks like and show your child that it’s simply a normal part of interacting with others. 

 4.   Teach them what it means to be a friend

Learning what to look for in a good friend often comes with trial and error. Most of us have experienced a bad friendship where they treated us wrong and pressured us to do things we didn’t want to do. It can be helpful to teach your child what it means to really be a friend so they can make smart choices about who they spend their time with.

Some things you can discuss include:

A parent’s intuition is real and strong! Be sure you take the time to get to know your child’s friends and look for indications that they may influence your child the wrong way. 

5.   Discuss dangerous behavior

As a parent, it’s part of the job to teach your child what’s right and wrong. It’s important to always encourage the behaviors you want to see, and discuss the behaviors that are wrong or dangerous. These conversations will vary depending on their age. 

For example, a younger child can understand that pushing other kids is bad. But an older kid or teen is likely older enough to understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Another piece of advice is to tell kids to trust their gut. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s a good chance it isn’t.

Preventing Digital Peer Pressure With Bark

Peer pressure is never fun to face as a kid or parent. But luckily Bark can lend a helping hand! 

Created in partnership with parents and schools, Bark helps parents monitor their children’s digital world. With Bark, parents can schedule screen time, block inappropriate sites and apps, and monitor for concerning content in texts, emails, and 30+ social media apps.  Start your free Bark trial today!

illustrated school supplies and smartphone

The classrooms of today are so, so different from the classrooms we grew up in. In many places, old whiteboards and write-on overhead projectors have been replaced by interactive touch screens. Desktops and laptops have replaced pen, paper and textbooks in upper grades. Amid all these tangible technology advancements, there’s an even bigger change — cell phones in the classroom.

As cell phones have become increasingly ingrained into everyday life, teachers have entered into a battle of policing usage during class. The ultimate question being — should students be allowed to use them at school? Below, we dive into how cell phones can be useful in school, why some say they shouldn't be allowed, and how Bark can help establish a happy medium. 

How Can Cell Phones Be Useful In School?

Enhanced learning opportunities

With access to the internet and educational apps, cell phones can provide students with a wealth of information at their fingertips. They can quickly research topics, access ebooks, and use educational apps that promote interactive and engaging learning experiences. Having an on-the-go answer to questions can help creativity blossom in the moment. 

Communication and collaboration

Cell phones enable students to connect and collaborate with their peers and teachers more efficiently. They can use messaging apps and email to discuss assignments, seek clarification, or work on group projects, fostering communication skills and teamwork. Live interactive discussions can be easier for students that might not feel confident speaking up in class but can type out their responses and share them with the group.

Emergency situations

Cell phones allow students to quickly reach out for help in emergency situations. In the event of an accident, illness, or acts of violence, having a cell phone can provide a lifeline for immediate assistance and a way for parents to quickly connect with their teens to check in. 

Reasons Why Cell Phones Don’t Belong at School

Distractions and disruptions

The primary argument for not allowing cell phones in school centers around the potential for distraction. Students may be tempted to engage in non-educational activities like gaming, social media, or texting. This can divert their attention away from learning and disrupt the classroom environment. Kids have always been masters at not paying attention when bored, from passing notes to drawing and even sleeping. Cell phones make it a thousand times easier to zone out instead of listening to the lesson. 

Academic integrity

Cheating is an age-old problem, but with the invention of AI apps and the ability to look almost anything up on Google, it's never been so hard to crack down on academic dishonesty. Teaching kids that can’t rely on a phone ensures that they learn what they need to. 

Social and emotional impacts

Time spent at lunch and in between classes used to be a valuable time to connect with others and have face-to-face interactions. But nowadays, with more heads down in phones and headphones in ears, school life can become increasingly isolating. Some worry that excessive cell phone usage can lead to decreased social skills, diminished concentration and increased anxiety or cyberbullying incidents.

Finding a Middle Ground

While the debate over cell phones in schools continues, finding a balanced approach can help parents and educators address the concerns while harnessing the benefits. Here are a few suggestions:

Establish clear guidelines

Schools and parents can implement policies that outline when and how cell phones can be used during school hours. Setting restrictions during class time while allowing limited use during breaks can help minimize distractions. Parents can also establish a tech contract with their kids, outlining when it’s appropriate for them to use their phone during school and when it isn't. 

Promote digital literacy

Schools can incorporate digital literacy programs that educate students about responsible cell phone usage, including ethical considerations, online safety and proper research practices. Consider talking with your kids about digital citizenship and how they can be respectful to others online.

Provide alternative technology

Schools can provide students with access to school-owned devices, such as tablets or laptops, that are specifically designed for educational purposes. This ensures equal access to technology while minimizing distractions associated with personal cell phones.

How Bark Can Help

If you are still trying to find a middle ground in making sure your child has access to their phone in school but isn’t distracted, Bark can help! Our Bark Phone is the best option out there for families. Parents can set screen time limits, make certain apps off-limits at certain times (looking at you, YouTube), and get alerts for potential dangers. Learn more about all of the amazing features of the Bark Phone.

kid reading a book

We know that getting kids to read for fun can be like pulling teeth. Especially when they have so many screens at their disposal and they spend all day reading at school, reading can often seem way more exhausting than relaxing. 

But there are so many benefits when kids develop the habit of reading! They gain more knowledge, learn critical thinking skills, develop creativity and imagination, and improve their writing ability. And here are some benefits you might not even know about: reading can help kids become more empathetic, build better relationships, and boost their mental health and overall well-being. 

So, how do you get your kids to pick up more books? Below, we’ll dive into how you can get your kids to read for fun — from free online resources, to fun new books for all ages, and even some ideas for creating a healthy reading schedule!

Free Online Resources to Help Your Kids Develop the Habit of Reading for Fun

1. Reading Websites

One way to help get them interested in reading for fun outside of school is to introduce them to free reading websites. These websites offer tons of kid-friendly content, from books to magazine articles with topics ranging from science to sports. They have something for everyone — even teens! Not only do they provide a great way to explore new genres, but they also make it easier for parents to monitor what their children are reading without having to buy a physical copy of the book every time. Plus, many of them also provide interactive features like quizzes and games, which can help keep kids engaged while they learn.

Books are still the best way for children to develop their reading skills, but free reading websites can be a great supplement and encourage kids who might not typically dive into a physical book. Websites like the ones below are just a few of the many that can help get your kids reading more:

2. Virtual Reading Groups or Book Clubs

Consider getting your children involved in virtual reading groups specifically designed for kids and teens. They can join together with other readers from around the world to discuss their favorite books. Similarly, they can subscribe to an online book club that will help keep them up-to-date on the latest releases and provide tips on how to stay motivated while tackling longer reads.

3. Audiobooks

Lastly, if your kids aren’t interested in reading at first, a great stepping stone is to start with audiobooks! There are plenty of free options available for kids and teenagers online. Listening to stories has been proven beneficial in helping younger readers increase their comprehension skills, with the ultimate goal of getting them to read more books. It’s also an easy way for parents or caregivers who don't have time to sit down with their children but still want them exposed to engaging literature outside of school. Free websites such as LibriVox offer hundreds of titles, both new and old. Some even come with follow-up activities that make learning more interactive and enjoyable.

Quick Tip for Parents - Encouraging your kids to explore different genres may also be beneficial when trying to get them excited about reading. Whether it be comic books or graphic novels, historical non-fiction books about famous figures, or biographies and autobiographies written by influential people in our society today – exposing them to different genres can certainly help fuel those daily reading habits.

How to Find Fun New Books for Kids and Teens of All Ages

1. Your Local Library

You can’t go wrong with the old-fashioned way of finding books — your local library! Not only do they offer an extensive selection of books, but many also provide programs such as story time hours, book clubs, and author readings which can make it more fun for young readers. You can even turn it into a fun activity for the whole family to pick out their favorite books!

2. Bookstores

Bookstores are a great source of new reading material for kids and teens alike. When browsing the selection, keep in mind that many books aimed at adults may still be appropriate and enjoyable for older kids who are looking for something different from what they typically read in school. And if you don’t want to break the bank, be sure to head to a second-hand bookstore where you may be able to snag some classic titles for bargain prices. If your kids start to fly through their books, saving money is key!

3. Online Bookstores

Online retailers like Amazon have made it easier than ever to search through thousands upon thousands of titles conveniently from home. Not only do they have plenty of bestsellers, but they also have unique titles specifically targeted toward younger readers as well. Many include reviews from past customers, which makes it easy to check if the title would be a good fit before purchasing the book.

4. Kindle Kids

Kindle Kids is another great option to develop strong reading habits! Amazon has tailored its platform specifically to young readers by offering age-appropriate books with interactive features — from audio narration to game elements, Kindle Kids has some of the best books to develop the habit of reading because they’re designed to keep them engaged.

What Are the Best Books to Start a Reading Habit?

Not only are classics great for introducing young readers to literature, but modern books can be just as engaging. Have a look at some of the best books to start a reading habit below!

Harry Potter series

For several generations, Harry Potter has been one of the most popular book series among children and teenagers alike. J.K Rowling transports readers into a captivating, magical world filled with adventure and friendship.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

For those looking for something feel-good and inspiring, Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul offers inspiring stories from real-life kids about overcoming obstacles and staying positive even in difficult times. For a humorous and lighthearted read about the adolescent years, teens can opt for Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web is a classic coming-of-age story that is perfect for getting your child interested in reading if they’re around grades 2 to 5 or older. It follows the adventures of Wilbur, a pig who finds himself at odds with his fellow barnyard friends until he meets his unlikely savior – a spider named Charlotte.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Perfect for kids over the age of 9 — and even suitable for teens — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland may be an interesting read. It’s full of wit and humor while exploring themes like growing up, imagination, and identity.

Non-Fiction Books

When searching for the best books to start a reading habit, don't forget about non-fiction titles as well! Whether your child is interested in science, nature, or history, there are plenty of informative yet entertaining options available out there to satisfy any curious mind.

How to Promote Healthy Reading Schedules

If you’ve been trying to limit your child’s screen time, one helpful tip is to replace their screen time with something else — like, perhaps, reading! Whenever it’s time to put the screens away, have them read a book instead to fill the time. Hopefully overtime, they’ll look forward to their reading time and won’t look at it as a lesser alternative to screen time. 

Try starting with bedtime as a designated reading time for your kids. Instead of scrolling through social media or playing video games before they go to sleep, you can allow them to read a book, an e-book, or a reading website. 

Ready to Help Your Kids Develop the Habit of Reading? Try Bark for Free Today!

Bark is a great tool to help develop your child’s reading habit. You can set screen time schedules for all their devices, making it way easier to limit their tech time and turn them to something else like reading.

Along with screen time schedules, Bark also provides web-filtering, location check-ins, and content monitoring of texts, emails, and 30+ social media platforms. Sign up to start your free trial today — and see why millions of parents choose Bark to help keep their kids safe online. 

kid on their phone, with money signs illustrated next to it

We’ve probably all experienced this — you decide to download a new app because why not? It’s free! But then as soon as you open the app you get 20 different pop-ups asking you to buy all the cool features of the app that you were initially interested in. So either you spend money on something you thought was going to be free or you just forget the whole thing and move on. A modern-day dilemma. 

These are known as in-app purchases and most of us are probably familiar with the concept. As adults who are free to do whatever they want with the money they earn, there aren’t any unknown risks to be aware of. But for kids, it’s a different story.

In this blog post, we'll break down everything you need to know about the risk to kids and more importantly, how to turn off in-app purchases on your kid’s devices. 

What Does In-App Purchase Mean? 

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s an exact definition of in-app purchases: a form of digital purchasing where users can buy items, services, or features within an app. This is becoming increasingly popular not only among mobile apps but web browsers as well. A typical example would be, if you play a game on your phone that allows you to purchase specific upgrades like tools or clothing to upgrade your character's capabilities, that would be an in-app purchase.

What Are The Safety Risks Of In-App Purchases For Children?

The biggest safety risk associated with in-app purchases is that kids have unauthorized access to real money, such as credit or debit cards, PayPal accounts, and even gift cards when it’s linked directly to an app store account. With each purchase, there is the potential for users (especially minors) to accidentally spend large amounts of money without realizing it.

Even worse, unmonitored access to in-app purchases could leave kids vulnerable to fraud, identity theft, and other security breaches. Kids may not fully understand that these are real sources of funds, making them more likely targets of scams or data theft.

Another huge risk posed is that they often have unrestricted access to virtual goods and other content without parental participation—allowing young users to engage with inappropriate material such as violent video games or unsupervised chat rooms, which can lead them toward online predators.

How to Turn Off In-App Purchases 

By simply adjusting the settings on your child's iOS or Android device, you can have peace of mind that your children aren’t making in-app purchases without your permission.

On iOS devices

On iOS devices

  1. Tap the settings icon on your child's device.
  2. Tap Screen Time, and enable if not already turned on.
  3. Scroll down and tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Toggle on Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  5. Then, tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.
  6. Tap In-app Purchases.
  7. Tap Don't Allow.

On Android devices

  1. Open the Google Play Store app on your child's device.
  2. Look for the icon in the top right corner of the screen and tap it.
  3. From the pop-up menu, tap Settings.
  4. Tap Authentication from the Settings page.
  5. Next, tap Require Authentication for Purchases.
  6. Select For all purchases through Google Play on this device.
  7. Have your child's Google password ready to enter, if asked. You may want to change it to one only you know so they can't change your settings.

How Bark Can Help

Bark can easily and effectively help you keep your child safe online. Our comprehensive parental controls allow parents to monitor their child’s devices and stay in the know about what dangers their kid might face. Start your free 7-day trial with Bark today! 

characters from popular TV shows

School is out, the sun is shining, and it's time to kick back and enjoy some top-notch summer entertainment. While there are plenty of TV shows out there catering to the teen audience, we've rounded up a selection of shows that, while featuring teens or marketed to a younger age group, are decidedly not meant for the younger crowd.

From gratuitous violence, sex, and nudity to the glorification of underage drinking and drugs, these shows each feature mature content that might not be suitable for younger viewers. Check out some of the most popular series below and consider talking with your teen about other exciting, age-appropriate shows you might watch instead this summer! 

Eight Summer Shows that Aren’t For Teens

Cruel Summer — Rated TV-14 for violence, sex and frightening scenes. Streaming Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+.

This teen thriller follows two young women over a summer using flashbacks across multiple timelines, slowly piecing together the mystery. The show has two popular seasons, the second, released June 2023, focuses on the rise and fall of the friendship between nerdy high school teen Megan and cool exchange student Isabella and their love triangle with Megan’s long-time friend Luke. 

The show's tone is undoubtedly dark, with a mysterious death that rocks the small town and mature sexual themes. Between the reveal of a sex tape and the increasingly dangerous decisions Megan and Isabella make to prove their loyalty to each other, parents should consider supervising their teen's viewing or starting a conversation with their child about the topics addressed in each episode.

The Idol — Rated TV-MA for sex and nudity, language, violence, drugs, and alcohol. Streaming on Max and Hulu.

Lauded at festivals like Sundance and Cannes, The Idol had high expectations to be a raw and captivating drama that delves into the gritty world of the music industry. Following the journey of an aspiring musician striving for success, played by Lily-Rose Depp, the show has caught flack from critics and casual viewers alike for its gratuitous sexual exploitation and violence. While the show certainly provides intriguing commentary on the music business, the mature content and its overwrought depiction of sex, drugs and violence make it inappropriate for young viewers. 

Yellowjackets — Rated TV-MA for violence, gore, sex, and frightening scenes. Streaming on Paramount+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

A classic plane crash drama, Yellowjackets follows a girls’ soccer team’s survival story after they become stranded in the wilderness for months. What begins as a suspenseful story highlighting teamwork and compassion quickly devolves into an intense cult-like society where cannibalism and dark rituals prevail. 

Outside of frightening and dark scenes, violence, gore and sex are prevalent as the show bounces back and forth between the months immediately following the accident and the women's life years after being rescued. Now, on its second season, the tone and themes in the show have evolved to become even darker, pushing it decidedly out of the realm of teen viewing. 

Saint X — Rated TV-14 for violence, profanity, alcohol and drugs. Streaming on Hulu.

Saint X is a new Hulu drama based on the popular book of the same name. It explores the aftermath of a young woman's mysterious death on a luxurious Caribbean island and how it has affected her sister and those last seen with her before her disappearance. The show touches on important topics from grief and guilt to class, privilege and racism. 

While these topics are great conversation starters, the violent death of the young woman whose body we see being pulled from the water early on and the prevalence of alcohol and profanity throughout make this show more appropriate for older teens and not their younger counterparts.

Black Mirror — Rated TV-MA for violence, sex, frightening and intense scenes. Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Since its release, Black Mirror has been both applauded and criticized for its dark social commentary. Multiple out-of-the-box episodes center on the dangers of technology in the dystopian future and beyond. The sixth season, released this summer, sticks to the series’ anthology set-up focusing on different characters and situations, from a starlet dealing with a hit-and-run and a woman who has discovered her streaming service has adapted her daily life into a hit show.

The satirical subtleties and important messages make this series a consistent award-winner among adults, but the series presents several worrying elements for younger viewers. Gratuitous violence, frightening and often disturbing scenes, along with the frequent presence of sex, drinking and drugs, make this show better saved for later on in life. 

The Crowded Room — Rated TV-MA for sex, violence, alcohol and drugs. Streaming on Apple TV+.

The Crowded Room centers on Danny, a young man, played by the ever-popular Tom Holland, who is imprisoned in the aftermath of a violent crime he can’t remember. The show focuses on Danny’s mental illness, the violence that seems to follow him, and the cast of characters that have seemingly gone missing around him. 

Tom Holland’s performance is sure to pull in interest. Still, for many parents, the show’s multiple instances of gun violence, along with its complicated depiction of mental illness featured at the show's center, may be alarming and difficult to explain to kids or teens. Beyond that, overt sexual content, including the depiction of a threesome, make this show a “must-skip” for kids under 18.  

Outer Banks — Rated TV-MA for alcohol, drugs, profanity and intense scenes. Streaming on Netflix. 

Outer Banks is a coming-of-age adventure series that focuses on a group of friends who call themselves the Pogues and their hunt for a mysterious treasure around the island they grew up on. Now in its third season, Outer Banks has upped the ante from its edgy origins that focused on teen parties and class differences between the wealthier and working class on the island with an increased focus on dangerous run-ins with violent characters and unsupervised debauchery. 

From beach parties filled with underage drinking and drugs to intense scenes featuring domestic violence and the on-screen deaths of several characters, the majority of Outer Banks is a lawless romp with little to no supervision from responsible adult figures. While the wild ride may be appropriate for an older crowd, parents are advised to limit viewing for younger teens and kids. 

The Summer I Turned Pretty — Rated TV-14 for sexual content, violence, alcohol and drugs, and foul language. Streaming on Amazon Prime.

A teen-centered rom-com, The Summer I Turned Pretty chronicles the adventures of Isabel “Belly” Conklin and her love triangle with two brothers. She spends a magical summer at a gorgeous beach house and experiences romantic evenings filled with partying, jealousy, and heartbreak. This one’s similar to Outer Banks, but slightly more tame — but not by much. Throughout all of the summer partying, there’s heavy drinking, smoking, drug use, and more. Characters discuss the serious aspects of dating as well as explicit sexual content. It’s probably best for younger teens to wait a little while for this one. 

How to Monitor What Your Kid is Watching

With all of the available streaming services, networks and channels, it can be challenging to ensure everything your child is watching is age-appropriate. Bark helps save you time and takes the guesswork out of finding a fun family feature by providing smart parental monitoring that allows you to observe, block and control certain apps. Find out more about your options here.

mom and daughter looking at smartphone

As your child approaches their teen years, it’s important to find that perfect balance of respecting their need for privacy while also providing the supervision and guidance they need. While this balance is certainly hard to strike, it's not impossible with some boundaries, rules, and parenting tools. Read on for guidance on everything from allowing TVs and gaming systems in their rooms to nightly phone habits. 

Phone Rules for Teen Privacy

Setting boundaries

When it comes to phone usage, it's crucial to establish clear boundaries from the start. Encourage open communication about technology use and the responsible use of smartphones. Discuss the importance of balancing screen time with other activities and designate device-free zones within the house, like “all phones in the kitchen at night.” By setting time limits for phone usage, you encourage a healthy balance between virtual and real-world interactions.

Gradual independence

As teens mature, it's important to allow increased autonomy and privacy with their phones. During mid-adolescence, consider relaxing phone rules and trusting them with more decision-making. Discuss privacy concerns and digital footprints, emphasizing responsible online behavior and the potential consequences of inappropriate actions. Introduce parental control apps or monitoring tools with transparency and mutual agreement, ensuring that the use of such tools is a collaborative effort rather than just a way to control everything.

Bedroom Entertainment

TV in the bedroom

The presence of a TV in a teenager's bedroom can be a topic of discussion for many parents. During early adolescence, it is advisable to have a shared family TV in a common area. This promotes shared experiences and allows for family discussions about content and screen time. In mid-adolescence, consider allowing a TV in their bedroom with clear guidelines on usage time and content restrictions. It also allows them some independence while still ensuring responsible viewing habits. 

Gaming systems in the bedroom

Like with TVs, gaming systems in the bedroom require careful consideration. During early adolescence, encourage gaming in shared spaces such as the living room or game room. This promotes social interaction and monitoring of game content. As teens enter mid-adolescence, consider allowing gaming consoles in their room with time restrictions and an understanding of game ratings. Engage in open conversations about gaming habits, balancing responsibilities, and setting priorities. By late adolescence, trust their judgment and establish ongoing discussions about gaming habits to ensure a healthy balance.

Supervision Strategies

Communication and understanding

Maintaining open lines of communication is key to effective supervision. Understand your teenager's technology interests and online activities by regularly engaging in conversations. Ask about their favorite apps, social media platforms, and online trends. This shows your interest and allows you to stay informed about potential risks or concerns.

Monitoring for potential dangers

While privacy is important, monitoring can be necessary to ensure your teen's safety. Monitor internet browsing history, social media accounts, and texts, but only with their consent and knowledge. It is essential to establish trust and open communication by discussing the purpose of monitoring and addressing any concerns or questions your teen may have. Use monitoring as a tool for guidance and support rather than strict control. The good news is nobody does this better than Bark!

Cultivating trust and responsibility

Foster a non-judgmental environment that encourages your teenager to seek guidance when facing online challenges or concerns. Focus on building responsible decision-making skills by discussing potential risks and consequences of online behavior. Encourage your teen to take responsibility for their actions and understand the importance of maintaining a positive digital footprint.

How Bark Can Help

Even after establishing your family’s rules about the internet, your child might not always follow them. That’s why having an additional safeguard in place can be helpful. Bark’s award-winning monitoring service alerts parents and guardians when there’s a potential issue they need to know about — including cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, depression and more. Sign up today to monitor your child’s texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms and get one week of our service completely free!

mom with a though bubble; sun & cloud in bubble

When you’re a parent, it can often feel like not only do your needs come last, but your feelings do, too. You spend every moment making sure your kids are happy, and the burnout can feel real. So what can you do when you aren’t feeling quite up to it? While you can’t always turn around your mood, there are ways you can work to have a positive parenting mindset. Check out just a few of them below. 

5 Tips for Creating a Positive Parenting Mindset

1. Keep a one-line gratefulness journal

Start a small journal where you jot down one thing you're grateful for each day. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, even during challenging times, you can cultivate a sense of gratitude and shift your mindset towards positivity. Research from the University of California Berkeley found that people who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health for weeks after keeping a gratitude journal than those who didn’t. Try following these nine tips to create a science-backed, mood-boosting journal.

2. Create a daily pick-me-up routine 

Morning time is often “me time” for parents. Design a routine that includes activities that bring you joy, such as listening to uplifting music, reading inspirational quotes or making your favorite morning beverage. These small moments of happiness help get your day started off on a positive note and sets the tone for an uplifting day. Not a morning person? Consider adding these 27 habits to your daily routine for happier days.

3. Practice mindfulness and positive affirmations

Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness through deep breathing, meditation or simply being present in the moment. Combine this with positive affirmations, repeating encouraging phrases to yourself, to build resilience in the face of challenges. While it might feel a little silly at first, phrases like “I am doing my best” and “I live a life rich with love” can become ingrained in your psyche and change your everyday perspective in the long run. Check out these 20 positive affirmations for parents.

4. Quit the comparison game

Recognize that everyone's journey is unique, and comparing yourself to others only leads to negativity and self-doubt. Penn State recommends eight key ways to stop comparing yourself to other parents. Chief among them: keep your focus on connection, harness your strengths, and temper your triggers — get off social media! 

5. Welcome imperfections

Contrary to how it may seem on social media, there are no perfect parents! Understand that imperfections are a natural part of life, and they don't define your worth. Instead of striving for perfection, embrace your flaws and mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning. Remember that being kind to yourself and practicing self-compassion is vital for maintaining a positive mindset, even in challenging times.

kid on a phone with headphones on; illustrated app icons

Will Durant famously said (or not so famously said, as this quote is often misattributed to Aristotle), “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This saying holds more weight than ever during your child's teen years. The habits instilled in them become the backbone of their identity and provide the structure for how they navigate their adult life.  

There’s certainly plenty to be focused on, from helping your child create good hygiene, health, and wellness routines to fostering study and social skills. But there’s one more realm you’ll want to touch on — healthy tech habits. Kidss today spend more time on their phones than ever before, and without the proper attention paid to developing healthy habits around this ever-present entity, your child could form some pretty damaging behaviors. Check out our five tips for fostering healthy tech habits in your child below.

5 Healthy Tech Habits for Kids

1. Create tech boundaries

Healthy relationships are all about boundaries, and just like the relationships with your friends, family or partner, setting boundaries can make your relationship with technology better and easier to navigate. It's equally important to set physical boundaries for tech. For example, designate places where devices are off-limits, like the bedroom, the dinner table, in the classroom, in the car, etc.—as it is to set more abstract action-based boundaries. For example, no screens an hour before bed, no phones during meals and no texting while driving. Establishing these set rules not only clarifies your personal interactions with technology but also shows friends and family that you value their time and are present and engaged.

2. Set weekly screen time limits

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average kid spends up to seven hours — or around 40 percent of their waking hours — in front of a screen. While some of this time is necessary, like that spent in front of a computer studying or even catching up with friends, too much screen time can be taxing on your child and when it starts interfering with your child’s sleep, it can have much bigger health and behavioral consequences. Help your child take control of their tech usage by chatting with them about how much time they want to spend in front of a screen and set limits from there. Your tween or teen, along with the rest of us, most likely doesn’t even realize how much time they are spending online. By bringing this top of mind for your child, you’ll help them feel empowered to create a healthy balance between their digital life and other important “real-life” experiences.

3. Schedule tech-free outdoor time

Embrace the benefits of nature and allocate dedicated tech-free outdoor time. Whether it's going for a walk, playing sports, or simply enjoying the fresh air, spending time outside without the distraction of screens has been shown by the American Psychological Association to improve your mental and physical well-being. Encourage your child to start small with just 30 minutes spent outside three days a week without their phone, and then encourage them to go for longer and longer periods of time.

4. Make mindful choices

Often how much time you are spending in front of screens isn’t nearly as important as what you are doing in front of those screens. In order to get the most out of your tech time make mindful choices that align with your values and goals. Select apps, websites and social content that is educational, inspiring and meaningful to you. By consciously curating your tech experience, you can maximize its potential for growth and self-improvement while minimizing distractions and time wasting.

5. Turn off notifications

Notifications can be a big productivity killer! A study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully regain focus after being interrupted by a notification. By disabling notifications, you can create uninterrupted blocks of time for studying, deep work or engaging in activities that require your full attention. This simple habit can significantly enhance your ability to stay focused, retain information, and accomplish tasks more efficiently.

How Bark Can Help

In combination with healthy tech habits for kids, parents can use Bark to help enforce screen time limits, aid in creating boundaries, and more. Open up a dialogue with your child today about healthy tech habits, and consider filling out and signing off on a tech contract that both you and your child can return to. 

dad and son looking at phone; illustrated dollar sign

One of the most important things to learn growing up is money management. Unfortunately, most schools don’t dedicate nearly enough time to teaching kids about budgeting, saving, investing, etc. This means that the brunt of money education falls on the parents, but it’s not always an easy task. 

Luckily, there are loads of money apps for kids that teach awesome habits which will carry with them into adulthood. And the younger they start, the stronger those habits will be! So we researched the best money management apps for kids, that way you can pick the one that works best for your family. 

Money apps for kids under 10  


Bankaroo works like a virtual bank for kids ages 6-8, but all your kid needs are basic reading skills to use it. Active users are aged about 5-14. Additionally, it’s available as both an app and a website, so your kid doesn’t need a mobile phone in order to use it. 

The free version allows you to set up an allowance and add funds to your child’s account while they manage their money from their bank and set goals for purchases they want to make. Kids can save money, and parents have the option of matching those savings to encourage healthy savings. There is a paid version that allows children to split their money between checking, savings, and charity accounts for a more detailed banking experience.

Cost: Free

Savings Spree

Savings Spree is a fun, interactive game that teaches children the financial impact of decisions they make in daily life. Each choice they make in the game will either lead them to savings or financial setbacks. It’s recommended for kids about 7 and up, but younger children can play if they have a bit of help from a parent. Additionally, it’s only available through the Apple store. 

Kids will learn super important concepts like saving, budgeting, donating, and investing in this game. It’s a great option if you aren’t quite ready to let your kid handle real money yet. 

Cost: $5.99 one-time fee

Money management apps for kids 10-12 years old


GoHenry is one of the best money management and learning apps for older kids who want the experience of swiping their own debit cards to make real-time purchases. First, parents will open an account for their kids and allow them to select a colorful design for their debit card. The card is FDIC-insured, chip and PIN protected, and comes with zero liability protection through Mastercard.

The app allows you to assign chores for your kid and pay them upon completion, and there’s an option to send automatic weekly allowance transfers to your child’s card. Then, kids can save or spend that money as they wish, while also going through in-app educational lessons about investing, credit cards, entrepreneurship, and more.

The best part of the GoHenry app is the learning missions. These missions allow kids to learn valuable financial concepts and apply them in real life. Some missions are recommended for kids over 12, so there’s lots of growth potential with this kid’s money management app.

Cost: $3.99/month after a 30-day free trial

Kiddie Kredit

Recommended for ages 9-11, Kiddie Kredit is a simple app that allows parents to teach their children about credit scores and financial responsibility. How it works is parents will assign tasks to their kids in the app and set a deadline for each task. If the kids don’t complete it in time, it could impact their “Kredit” score. Parents can also make a game out of it by setting rewards when kids reach different levels and master lessons. 

While this isn’t the most comprehensive money management app for kids, it’s a great pick if you want to teach your children how to use credit responsibly. It works well with some of the more advanced apps recommended here.

Cost: Free

Money apps for tweens & teens

Greenlight Debit Card & App

Many tweens and teens are ready to learn more than the basics of savings and budgeting — they want to manage their own money through a legitimate debit card. Maybe they’re even interested in more specific money management skills, like learning how to make sound investments or earning cashback on purchases. Your tweens and teens can do all of that and more through the Greenlight for Kids debit card and app!

Using a secured debit card, teens and tweens can earn money for doing chores or collecting allowances from parents. That money is used in the following ways:

The educational materials built into the app are insightful for kids — and for many parents as well! You may find yourself brushing up on your own financial knowledge as your child learns it for the first time. 

Cost: $4.99 - $14.98/month, depending on the plan


FamZoo offers some advanced features that work well for teenagers who have a bit more financial knowledge and perhaps a part-time job beyond completing chores at home. It’s certainly a winner for parents who are looking for a more in-depth education on money management and wealth growth.

Teens can receive direct deposits to their FamZoo debit card. You can pay compound interest to your child for the money they save or offer a private loan and allow them to repay through the app. Tweens and teens can create a budget with subaccounts and money management goals which will help them make smart spending decisions long term. 

Cost: $5.99 per month after a 1-month free trial

The best way to monitor your child’s progress

These money apps for kids are a great way to introduce your family to healthy money habits. And if you want to keep tabs on how your child is using these apps, Bark can help you there! With Bark, you can set screen time limits as well as block any app on your child’s device. Start your free trial today to see how it works!

illustrated women, shadow to convey she is struggling mentally

Since the dawn of time, parents around the world have all asked themselves the same question. Am I doing this right? When it comes to caring for the person you love most in this world, it’s easy to worry about if you’re doing your best. 

An age-old dilemma we now call parenting guilt, this anxious feeling has largely gotten worse for parents who are constantly comparing themselves and their families to manicured momfluencers on social media.

But there’s hope for parents consumed with day-to-day worries and future anxieties. It turns out a little self-compassion and some practical strategies can go a long way in helping you overcome parenting guilt and self-doubt, reminding you to keep going even when faced with tough times.

7 Tips for Combatting Parenting Guilt 

1. Acknowledge the universal experience of parenting

Parenting is a shared experience that unites people from all across the globe. Understanding that every parent faces challenges and experiences moments of doubt can be a source of comfort. Recognize that it's normal to have doubts and that you are not alone in your journey.

2. Practice self-compassion

Parenting guilt often stems from holding ourselves to impossibly high standards. Embrace self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a dear friend. Remember, you are doing the best you can with the resources available to you.

3. Focus on the positives

Shift your perspective by focusing on the positives in your parenting journey. Celebrate the small wins and remind yourself of the impact you are making in your child's life. Emphasize the moments of joy, laughter and connection to cultivate a sense of fulfillment.

4. Seek support

Building a support network is crucial for overcoming parenting guilt and self-doubt. Surround yourself with fellow parents who understand the challenges you face. Share your experiences, seek advice and draw strength from their stories. Consider joining parenting communities, attending support groups, or seeking professional help if needed.

5. Embrace imperfections

No parent is perfect, and that's okay. Embrace your imperfections as opportunities for growth and learning. Understand that making mistakes is a natural part of the parenting journey. Be gentle with yourself and use these moments as valuable teaching experiences for both you and your child.

6. Prioritize self-care

Taking care of yourself is essential for your overall well-being as a parent. Nurture your physical, emotional and mental health through activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it enables you to be a better parent for your child.

7. Trust your intuition

You know your child better than anyone else. Trust your instincts and believe in your ability to make the best decisions for them. While seeking guidance is important, ultimately, you are the expert on your own child's needs.

Parenting is a remarkable journey, filled with both challenges and triumphs. It's normal to experience moments of guilt and self-doubt, but it's crucial to breathe and remember that you are doing a great job!

kid on computer with illustrated emojis next to him

Gone are the days of computer nerds! Nowadays, most kids are far more tech-savvy than we ever thought possible. Not to mention, the profession of coding or web development is one of the most in-demand professions out there. 

If you’re not familiar with the world of coding, it can seem intimidating. The good news is that coding is something that kids of all ages can learn!

So whether you’re kid is looking for a new after-school activity, like coding classes for kids, or you just want to add a valuable skill to their toolbelt, coding should be at the top of your list.

Keep reading as we take a deep dive into the world of coding and how you can get your child started.

Starting with the basics: how does coding work?

As you’re reading this, you’re likely on a computer or mobile device. Behind everything you do on that device, from scrolling on Instagram to navigating a website, is a set of code that runs in the background. That code tells your software what to do and how to do it.

Lines of code are almost like a recipe. You get a list of ingredients and instructions to get to your final dish. The code gives computer software all the step-by-step instructions for how it should perform a task – based on what you’re doing.

But unlike a recipe for your favorite pasta sauce – code isn’t written in a spoken language like English or Spanish. There is a whole other world of programming languages that are used to write code. Some common examples you might have heard of include Python and JavaScript. These languages have rules and syntax that come together to create lines of code that can be understood by a computer.

But coding is more than just stringing program languages together. It also includes finding creative ways to solve problems through code, writing that code, and then debugging it – all before it can be used. 

Coding takes ideas and concepts and brings them to life – the result being what you typically see as the end user.

Where can I find code in my daily life?

The cool thing about code is that it can be used to create a whole host of different things. You can write code for simple things, like solving math problems. Or even create more complex projects, like apps, or even harness the power of AI.

In fact, if you look closely, you’ll learn that coding is behind a large chunk of the activities that we do every day – particularly when it comes to electronics and technology.

Some examples of things that are powered by code (that you may not even realize) include

​​What is coding for kids?

Unless you’re familiar with programming languages, scripts and lines of code can look incredibly complicated. You might be wondering how children can make sense of it.

Well, coding for kids isn’t quite the same as what you’d expect from a seasoned software developer. They might not learn advanced languages, but they can get a head start on learning the principles and concepts. They can learn things like sequencing, loops, conditionals, and even debugging (or solving) issues in their code.

For example, a popular way to introduce young kids to code is through block-based languages instead of text-based commands.

Understanding how to think like a software engineer and developing problem-solving skills early on can go a long way in helping them become rockstar coders in the future!

What makes coding for kids different from computer skills?

There was a time when simply being able to use a computer was a high-tech skill. But now, basic computer skills are common knowledge.

Computer skills require you to know how to use the user-facing software – where to click and what to input. In other words, the code has already been written. But coding requires you to know how to create that user-facing software. With a little bit of creativity and problem-solving, you can actually create your own custom applications or programs that can do… well, whatever you want them to!

Coding and its benefits for kids

Coding isn't just fun, it's also a great way for your child to develop problem-solving skills and get creative with technology. Here are some ways learning to code can set your kid up for success in today's digital world.

Coding for kids improves learning development

Learning to code introduces your child to a whole new way of thinking and learning. Coding classes for kids teach them problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills that can open up endless possibilities for their future.

Writing code is almost like working on a large puzzle. In order to successfully navigate coding, children need to learn how to break challenges down into smaller bite-sized pieces. Then create unique solutions to the challenges at hand.

While coding seems highly technical, it also fosters creativity. Coding usually requires users to think outside the box to find unique ways to solve problems. Plus, they’ll also need to think about things like user experience and design.

Build confidence

It takes time and incredible patience to learn the skills to successfully navigate the ins and outs of coding. But once your child gets the hang of it, they’ll be able to start writing and running their own scripts!

This can give kids a huge sense of accomplishment. It also gives them something practical and tangible that they’ve built.

Coding classes for kids set them up for future career success

Because code powers so much of our everyday lives, there is a huge demand for workers with coding skills. Common jobs that require coding skills include software developers and engineers but also include other roles like web developers and data scientists.

These roles can often have high salaries and are incredibly versatile. You’ll find many of these roles in fields across all industries, from healthcare to e-commerce. So it offers your child the opportunity to work in a variety of fields they might be interested in.

Even where coding skills aren’t key requirements for a career, the additional skills associated with coding can set you apart from the crowd!

As technology grows, it’s clear that coding skills will be in demand for years to come. So learning to code is a great way to help future-proof your child’s skills.

Let’s get your kid coding! 

The first step is sparking your child’s interest in coding! There are many ways to keep your child engaged, even if coding isn’t their first choice of extra-curricular activity. Here are some of our top tips:

Lean on gamification: coding games for kids

One of the best ways to make learning coding more enjoyable includes learning experiences that gamify the experience.

By incorporating things like badges, levels, and rewards, there becomes a fun incentive for them to continue exploring their coding skills.

Foster creativity

Creativity is about more than arts and crafts. Coding gives children another outlet to explore their own ideas, create their own app designs, and try new things. Make sure to use this as an opportunity to encourage that creativity in your child. Who knows, you might be raising a future tech innovator!

Make it interactive

As a general rule, coding is very hands-on. It’s difficult to learn without trial and error.

Fortunately, this makes it a great skill for kids to pick up on. Instead of asking your child to watch videos, for example, choose an approach that’s interactive and gives them a chance to test their new skills.

Apply it to the real world

Many kids thrive when they see a purpose for what they’re learning.

Especially when it comes to older kids, take the time to help your child understand how coding powers the world around them. Whether it’s their favorite video game or how they chat with their friends online, understanding the background can inspire them to learn how to code. Many programming tools for kids also do a great job pulling in pop culture references to keep things relevant.

Tools and resources for learning to code for kids

If coding isn’t something in your own repertoire, don't worry! There are plenty of amazing tools and resources out there to help your child get started. Many of which are designed specifically with kids in mind. 

Ages 5-7

Young children likely aren’t going to be able to navigate complex scripts or understand true programming language – nor should they! But this doesn’t mean they can’t start learning the foundational blocks of coding.

Many resources for this age lean on block-based programming languages (as opposed to actually writing code themselves). That way it’s easy for children to understand without feeling totally overwhelmed.

Here are some of our favorite coding resources and games for kids aged 5-7:

Scratch. Jr

Scratch is one of the most well-known free programming apps for young children. Created by a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Scratch’s programming language leans on visual shapes and blocks. Instead of long lines of text, kids drag and drop colors and shapes together to create animations. Using the basic principles of coding, like sequencing, children can learn how to think like a developer.

Scratch. Jr, in particular, is the perfect stepping stone for young children before they progress to the standard Scratch software. is another highly educational yet engaging way for kids to dive into the world of programming. is a non-profit organization with the goal of making coding and computer science more accessible for kids.

From kindergarteners who are just diving in all the way up through Grade 12, has activities for everyone. Many of the resources and activities draw from popular games like Minecraft or the trends in pop culture. It makes learning coding fun while creating meaningful connections between tech skills and the real world.


Tynker is a web-based program that provides a wide range of games and activities to help children learn to code. With learning paths for all ages, kids as young as 5 can learn to code with Tynker. They program with brands like Star Wars, Barbie, and Minecraft which makes the activities more fun and relatable.

Tynker also provides a unique hybrid approach that gives your kids access to live coaches to support their learning. This is a great solution for parents who are hoping for more customized learning for their children.

codeSpark Academy

codeSpark’s online education platform teaches problem-solving skills and logical thinking through basic coding principles. You won’t find text-based coding languages here. Your child will learn through puzzles and mini-games, all while accompanied by codeSpark’s in-game characters.

While anyone can use codeSpark, the platform was designed with girls in mind. Girls are typically underrepresented in coding and technology, and codeSpark aims to lower gendered stereotypes.

Ages 8-10

As kids get older, they can start building on the basics. They’re more likely to grasp complex concepts like loops and conditionals.

Here are some of our favorite coding resources and games for kids aged 8-10:


The next step up from Scratch Jr. is Scratch. Users create their own projects like games or art using the online editor. While designed for children and beginners, kids and adults of all ages use Scratch to learn to program.

The great thing about Scratch is that it’s easy to use. You can simply open the editor online, and it includes everything needed to get started. Older children can even interact with and learn from others using Scratch’s online communities.


Hopscotch is a fully-mobile app that kids can use to create and play games. There are 3 modes for kids to learn, create, and explore.

From creating games to stories, or even animations, children are encouraged to create their own projects through code. Hopscotch uses block-based programming languages to teach the basics while keeping it fun and entertaining.

Kids can also play games created by friends and other classmates!

Sprite Box

Sprite Box is a mobile adventure game that harnesses code to move through different puzzles. With two levels of block-based and text-based code, kids get to play through fun challenges and learn the fundamentals of programming.

It’s not designed to be a long-term learning solution and doesn’t go in-depth into programming, but Sprite Box’s app is a great stepping stone.


Kodable is a kid’s learning platform that was originally designed to be used in elementary schools. So you know that your child is getting quality programming education in a safe environment.

The game introduces coding basics and logical thinking through over 80 levels. Kids can build their own games within the program and design their own characters.

Kodable is the perfect way for kids to have a blast while learning. They can learn at their own pace without any pressure.


CodeMonkey also uses games to help children learn how to code. Unlike some more basic games, CodeMonkey uses real programming languages like CoffeeScript and Python – which can be a great first step toward advanced coding skills.

While CodeMonkey uses programming languages, the games and lessons are designed to be used by all skill levels. Even kids with no prior coding experience.

Kids Ruby

Ruby is another real programming language that isn’t as commonly covered.

Kids Ruby breaks down the concepts of coding in the context of the Ruby language. Using kid-friendly language and storytelling, kids can work through fun games and activities to unlock new coding skills.

As your child advances, they can graduate to Kids Ruby’s more advanced program, Hackety Hack.

Older kids and teens

Teens and older kids will benefit from coding that relates to the real world – anything from building a website to replicating their favorite game. They’re also more likely to be interested in self-directed learning and engage with others in the coding community online. Older teenagers might even dabble in advanced languages like Java or Python.

Whether your teenager is dabbling in coding for the first time or looking for additional resources, here are some of our favorites:

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free online learning resource. Khan Academy covers a wide range of subjects and topics, from English to Science. But they also offer resources on programming and learning to code.

Khan Academy has the most resources on Javascript. You’ll find lessons for beginners all the way to more advanced programming resources.

Khan Academy is most suited to older kids and teens with a vested interest in learning code. While interactive and very helpful, it takes on more of a traditional learning path with less gamification.


Minecraft is a highly popular game among both kids and adults. The game’s sandbox style means that players can actually write commands and implement modifications using code, to make the game more fun and unique. They can automate tasks or even design new features.

The great thing about Minecraft is older children may already be playing it! All that’s left to do is make the connection between ‘gaming’ and ‘coding.’


Roblox is another extremely popular multiplayer game. Using Roblox, kids can create their own games and play them. You can also play games created by other users.

Learning to code with Roblox is a bit more advanced as it does require users to learn a programming language like Lua or Python. However, there are many resources and tools offered by Roblox to help users learn.

It’s a great option for older kids who love to learn as they go!

Make the most out of your child’s coding experience with Bark

Learning to code is an invaluable skill and has so many benefits for your kids. As they explore the world of coding, they may find their new passion  –  a major win!

However, like all digital-first activities, you should be aware of potential risks related to excessive screen time and internet access. Especially as they get older and engage with online communities.

Make the most out of your child’s coding experience by using tools like Bark. From phone to home, Bark’s suite of parental controls helps you manage screen time and filter websites. Schedule screen time for learning activities, like coding, and get detailed reports about the sites or apps your child is using. Get started with a free trial of Bark today.

tv remote surrounded by colorful illustrations

**This blog post was updated on April 5, 2024.**

If your child has expressed an interest in anime, one thing’s for certain — they’re not alone! Anime’s popularity stretches across time and space, meaning it’s been around for a long time and there are people all over the world who love to watch it. 

As a parent, if you don’t know much about it, you might be a little intimidated. You might be asking, “What exactly is anime?” and “Does kid-friendly anime even exist?”

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! After reading this post you’ll not only know what anime is, but you’ll walk away with a list of the best family-friendly animes to show your child. We hope parents find this a helpful introduction to the big wide world of anime!

Family-Friendly Anime: What Is Anime?

Let’s start from the basics.

Anime is a unique style of animation that originally came from Japan. The word “anime” is an abbreviation of the word “animation” in Japanese. While animations can be made around the world, anime is specific to animation produced in Japan.

Anime covers almost every category and subject you can think of — which is both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, a wide variety means that most people can find some anime movies, TV shows, etc. that they enjoy. On the other hand, it’s not hard to find inappropriate or harmful anime content along with kid-appropriate content. 

Parents should know that some anime is explicitly sexual in nature (known as ecchi or hentai) and should be aware when finding appropriate anime titles for their children.

However, there are loads of kid-friendly anime titles to be found in every genre, including action, adventure, romance, and comedy. So we’re not kidding — there’s an anime for everyone! It’s no surprise that it’s become a favorite for viewers around the world.

What makes anime so distinct and intriguing for many viewers is the visual animation style. It’s often very colorful and includes a lot of details. The characters and their expressions are often very exaggerated, making for a very engaging watching experience.

Some anime comes from Manga (Japanese comic books) and closely follows the storyline. But just like many book adaptations, there are many anime that go in a different direction from the manga.

Kid-Friendly Anime: Benefits of Watching Anime for Kids

Anime is all-around entertaining, but there are way more benefits to watching anime that kids likely wouldn’t realize. Here are just a few: 

How Kids Can Watch Anime

Despite getting its start in Japan, anime has been popular around the world for years. It’s very common for English versions of popular children’s anime to air in the US.

Some channels where you’ll find anime include:

But many streaming platforms have also jumped on the anime train. Popular streaming platforms that have many animes available include:

For anime lovers, Crunchyroll and Funimation are some streaming platforms that primarily stream different types of anime for kids and adults. Although important note for parents: these anime platforms can also include some of those inappropriate anime titles mentioned above. Specifically, take a look at Crunchyroll before letting your child have unsupervised access.

And now, what you’ve been waiting for! If you want to get into anime with your child, we’ve put together a list of the most popular kid-friendly animes to serve as a jumping-off point. Let’s get started! 

Kid-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Under

Kids under the age of 10 are still developing their comprehension skills. It’s best to stick to animes with storylines that are easy to follow with relatively simple vocabulary.

Japanese culture includes a lot of martial arts and ninja themes. But in general, anime directed toward younger kids is light-hearted and fun.

Here are some anime that would be suitable for kids under the age of 10.

1. Pokémon: Indigo League

Even if you’ve never heard of anime, you’ve likely heard of Pokemon.

Pokemon is the story of Ash Ketchum, a young boy who hopes to become a Pokemon master. His goal is to battle other trainers and catch all the Pokemon. He’ll face trainers — some friendlier than others — as he explores the world with his own Pokemon, Pikachu. It’s a kid-friendly story of friendship and determination.

Indigo League is the first season of the anime; there are several more to follow. Some have slightly more mature themes than others, but they are generally extremely kid-friendly.

The Pokemon anime series is also a natural companion for kids who enjoy the Pokemon video games.

2. Doraemon

Doraemon is a large blue and white earless cat that you might recognize — except he’s not just a cat, he’s robotic! It’s a classic anime and manga series that was created in the 70s, but new episodes are still being made today.

Doraemon is the trusty sidekick to his human friend Nobita Nobi. Using his skills and knowledge, he helps Nobita grow up and tackle school and life. It’s a coming-of-age story with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

It’s an enjoyable anime for young kids and the entire family.

3. Little Witch Academia

As the title suggests, the series follows Akko as she attends a school for witches. Except, unlike many of her classmates, Akko doesn’t come from a family of witches, which makes her transition to Luna Nova Academy a bit of a challenge. But her determination and belief in herself play a key role in her becoming a great witch.

Little Witch Academia is perfect for school-age children as they tackle academics and new friends.

4. Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball Super is the third continuation of the beloved Dragon Ball anime series. Following Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball.

The series still follows Goku and his friends as they battle gods and characters from different universes. It’s an expansion of the original universe, introducing new transformations and characters.

Dragon Ball Super is technically the third part of the Dragon Ball series. However, the original two series are better suited to kids over the age of 10 due to mild violence and mature themes. The Dragon Ball Super series is widely acknowledged to be purposely aged down to bring new, younger kids into the Dragon Ball Universe.

5. Naruto

Naruto is one of the most popular anime and manga series among kids. With the first episode in 2002, the story follows young ninja Naruto Uzumaki whose ultimate dream is to become the Hokage–the fearless leader of the Leaf Village.

With his friends and Ninja Academy classmates, Naruto builds his ninja skills and starts to take on challenges and battles. As the story progresses, Naruto starts to understand the value of friendship and learns more about his own family history.

With mild violence related to ninja battles, the series is generally acceptable for kids. Naruto’s coming-of-age experience is relatable and a great way to help kids learn more about the power of friends and family.

6. Boruto

Boruto is the third sequel to Naruto (and the sequel to Naruto Shippuden–which we’ll talk about later).

It takes place several years after the previous two series and follows Naruto’s son Boruto as he becomes a Ninja. While the storyline follows new characters, those who’ve watched the original Naruto will appreciate the nods and throwbacks to characters in the original series.

Similar to Dragon Ball Super, Boruto has been aged down from Naruto Shippuden (and even, to some extent, Naruto) to attract younger kids to the Naruto franchise.

7. One Piece

One Piece is arguably one of the most popular and most successful anime series of all time. With the first episodes coming out in 1999, new episodes are still being made today.

One Piece is the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy who’s determined to become the Pirate King. Except he’s no ordinary kid because his body is made of rubber. (Thanks to a Devil Fruit.)

He gathers a group of friends and other pirates to search for a famous treasure known as the One Piece. Luffy and his newfound crew make new friends and meet new foes along the way. The characters in this story are complex, a bit wild, yet incredibly entertaining–perfect for children and adults alike.

There are some mature themes in One Piece, but in general, the whimsical storyline is perfect for kids to enjoy.

8. Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar is a bit of an oddball on this list in that it’s not technically an anime. It was created in the U.S. However, the storyline and animation style closely mimics anime, making it a popular watch among anime lovers.

In Avatar, there are four nations: earth, water, fire, and air. Each nation has Benders who have the ability to manipulate the elements. Aang is an Airbender but also the last Avatar–someone who can master all four and bring balance to the world.

Aang and his friends travel around the world trying to reach this balance, exploring new places and challenges along the way. A great story of friendship that ties in a lot of elements of Eastern philosophy, including mindfulness and spiritualness.

Best Family-Friendly Anime for Kids 10 and Up

As kids grow up, they’ll be able to enjoy even more anime. The stories become more complex, and characters will start to face more mature (and serious) challenges.

You’ll find many animes also have episodes or spin-offs that age with your children–helping them continue their anime journey as they grow up.

Anime, like most TV, can occasionally contain more mature themes. For example, anime for older kids may include themes like love, death, or mild violence.

While these themes are generally introduced in a kid-friendly manner, it’s important that you consider your kid’s maturity level and development before deciding if a show is the right fit for them.

9. Dragon Ball

The precursor to Dragon Ball Super is Dragon Ball. A very popular and well-known anime and manga series from the 80s. So popular that the lead character Son Goku has been referenced in music and pop culture in many ways.

Goku is a martial arts warrior who is on a mission to find the seven Dragon Balls. He encounters enemies and other warriors along the way. As he trains with mentors and deities, Goku gets stronger and protects the Dragon World from different threats.

Dragon Ball’s intricate universe and relatable characters have made this a favorite among kids for decades.

10. Dragon Ball Z

Following Dragon Ball is Dragon Ball Z. First airing in the 90s, Goku is now an adult.

He continues to embark on adventures with his friends and defends the world from aliens, monsters, and other mystical creatures.

Dragon Ball Z is a classic example of an anime that has aged up alongside its audience. So the young kids who originally enjoyed Dragon Ball can now follow their childhood hero Goku as he takes on life as an adult.

 11. Sailor Moon

Usaigi Tsukino is an average teenage girl. But she’s also a superhero, Sailor Moon, who fights villains and other enemies to help keep Earth safe. As the series progresses, she learns more about herself and the world around her.

The Sailor Moon anime has been a favorite among kids and adults since it first aired in the early 1990s. While it’s primarily known as a kids’ anime, some mild language and violence make it more suitable for slightly older kids.

12. Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuden is the sequel to the original Naruto. Only a couple of years later, Naruto comes back from an intense training session, and he and his friends continue right where they left off. They’re just a little older, making it a perfect show for big kids and teens.

Many of the original villains and enemies from the original series return as they continue to fight for peace between the ninja villages.

While several years have passed between the two series, Naruto Shippuden is commonly known to be a continuation of the original story rather than a sequel. But the world continues to unravel, and we learn more about Naruto’s past as he continues his journey to fulfill his dream of becoming Hokage.

13. Death Note

Death Note is another well-known manga and anime series. The series follows Light Yagami, who’s a high school student. One day, he discovers a notebook that will kill anyone whose name he writes inside.

Light initially uses the notebook to help tackle criminals around the world. But as more top criminals start to die mysteriously, people start questioning it. This leads to Light capturing the attention of a detective named L.

We watch as Light tries to avoid being caught while balancing his want to make the world a better place.

While aimed at high-school kids, this show does deal with themes of violence and death. So it’s best suited for kids who have the maturity to handle the subject matter.

14. Haikyuu!!

While many popular anime series are set in mystical and magical worlds, there’s more to anime than that. Haikyuu is proof.

Shoyo Hinata is a high school student who wants to be a volleyball player. But without the height, he faces challenges along the way. But with a little inspiration from his volleyball icon, Little Giant, Hinata starts to come into himself as a volleyball player.

As he and his team work together to win championships, Hinata learns skills on and off the volleyball court.

Set in a typical high school setting, Hinata’s story is both relatable and also teaches valuable lessons about determination.

 15. Bleach

This story follows Ichigo Kurosaki, who gets the power of the Soul Reaper — sometimes known as the Grim Reaper. He can see ghosts and can connect with the afterlife. Ichigo uses these abilities to protect his town from evil spirits. He also uses his powers to help souls find peace, ultimately healing some of his own demons and trauma in the process.

While this anime deals with themes of death, the story of Ichigo, who lost his mother at a young age, is relatable for many kids who have gone through similar experiences. But the story offers creative ways to make difficult subjects entertaining and engaging.

The Best Family-Friendly Animes

Make anime a family affair! We’ve put together a list of classic and highly popular anime that could be a great watch for the entire family.

16. Spirited Away

Spirited Away might be one of the most well-known pieces of anime to date. It’s one of the highest-grossing films in history.

Spirited Away is the story of a young girl, Chihiro, who moves to a new neighborhood. Except she finds herself in an alternate universe of spirits, where her parents have turned into pigs, and there are many more magical creatures.

The film follows Chihiro as she explores this strange world and finds her way home. In the process, she learns how strong and resourceful she can be.

The animations have been highly praised. It’s a beautiful story of courage that is a must-watch for all kids and adults.

17. My Neighbor Totoro

You might know the name Totoro. No surprise, given he’s a pretty famous character in the anime world.

The film follows two sisters, Satsuke and Mei, who meet Torotoro in a forest near their home. They’ve recently moved to the countryside with their father and are slowly finding their footing in their new surroundings.

Totoro is cuddly, friendly, and extremely playful — like your child’s favorite teddy bear. He helps them navigate their new home.

The original animation was released in the 80s, but the 2005 English version features an all-star cast. Including the voices of Dakota and Elle Fanning, Lea Salonga, and Tim Daly.

18. Attack on Titan 

Attack on Titan has taken the world by storm.

The story is unusual and has twists and turns like you’ve never seen before. Attack on Titan follows Eren Jeagar and his friends Mikasa and Armin, who live in a city surrounded by massive walls. These walls protect them from giant humans called Titans.

They all join the military forces designed to fight the Titans and keep normal humans safe. But as the series unravels, so does everything we know about the Titans.

This anime series should be enjoyed by families with older kids due to its more mature scenes of violence and death. However, the storytelling is like no other and will keep the entire family on their toes.

As of 2023, the series still hasn’t wrapped, but for those who aren’t scared of spoilers, the Manga gives some hints at a possible ending to the series.

 19. Kiki's Delivery Service

Last but not least on our list is the fantastical Kiki’s delivery service. It’s a classic coming-of-age story that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Kiki is a young witch who is continuing to build her powers and become a better witch. She has an adorable talking cat named Jiji, who helps her along the way. Kiki’s entrepreneurial spirit takes over as she opens a delivery service by using her broomstick to fly and deliver packages.

Kiki hits some hurdles along the way but ultimately finds a new version of herself as she grows up. It’s a touching story about friendship and the power of growing up.

Enjoy Anime Safely with Bark

Anime is one of the best types of film and TV for kids to enjoy as they grow up. The unique stories and characters can spark imagination in anyone. Hopefully, this list of kid-friendly anime gives you a place to start.

Of course, there is a whole world of anime outside of this list and as parents, we want to make sure our kids aren’t exposed to the harmful or inappropriate side of anime. And that’s where Bark comes in! 

Created in partnership with parents and schools, Bark helps parents monitor their kids’ digital activity. Whether it’s setting up parental controls around which animes your child can watch or reviewing what apps your child is using, Bark gives you total confidence in your child’s online experience. Start your free trial of Bark today

pictures of families enjoying summer with illustrated summer emojis

Summer is the perfect time for families to bond and create lasting memories together. But with everything you need at the touch of a button and screen time on the rise over the summer, it’s important to find fun activities that encourage quality time without the distractions of cell phones, TVs, and computers. 

Below we explore seven screen-free fun family activities that will help you make the most of the summer season. From picnics in the park to exploring museums, there's something for everyone to enjoy. So, gather your loved ones, unplug, and embark on these exciting adventures!

1. Go on a picnic in the park

What better way to enjoy the sunshine than by having a picnic in the park? Pack a delicious spread of your family's favorite snacks and head to a nearby green space. Choose a shady spot under a tree, spread out a cozy blanket, and indulge in some outdoor dining. Bring along frisbees, kites, or balls to engage in fun games after your meal. Don't forget sunscreen and bug spray to stay protected during your outdoor adventure!

Estimated cost: $20–$50

Estimated time: 2–4 hours

Insider tip: Some parks offer free outdoor movie screenings during summer evenings. Check local event calendars for a movie night under the stars!

2. Visit a museum or art gallery

Expand your family's horizons by visiting a local museum or art gallery. Many museums have exciting kids' programs, including hands-on activity nights and interactive exhibits. Engage your children in the wonders of history, art, science, or the natural world as you explore the museum together. 

Estimated price: $20–$50 (varies by museum)

Estimated Time: 2–4 hours

Insider tip: Some local libraries offer free admission to local museums, zoos, aquariums, and more. Be sure to check your local library’s website for more information. Also, many museums have one free weekend a month. 

3. Take a nature hike

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life by venturing into nature. Find a nearby hiking trail, national park, or nature reserve to embark on a family adventure. Enjoy the fresh air, admire breathtaking landscapes, and observe fascinating wildlife. Encourage your children to collect leaves, pinecones, or rocks to create a nature-inspired craft project later. Remember to bring water, snacks, and comfortable footwear for an enjoyable hike.

Estimated price: Free

Estimated time: 1–3 hours

Insider Tip: Research trails beforehand to choose a suitable hike for your family's fitness level. AllTrails provides detailed info, including difficulty levels, reviews, and photos.

4. Organize a family game night

Gather around the table for a fun-filled evening of board games, card games, or puzzles. Game nights promote healthy competition, critical thinking, and bonding between family members. Create a friendly atmosphere with snacks, laughter, and a prize for the winner. Unplug from technology and let the games begin!

Estimated price: Free–$30

Estimated time: 2–4 hours

Insider tip: Stumped on board game ideas? BoardGameGeek will be your new go-to resource for board games — featuring ratings, reviews, and recommendations for age groups.

5. Volunteer together

Teach your children the importance of giving back to the community by doing some volunteer work together. Look for local charities, shelters, or community centers that welcome family volunteers. You can participate in activities like serving meals at a soup kitchen, cleaning up a park, or organizing a book drive. Volunteering as a family not only makes a positive impact on the community but also strengthens family bonds and nurtures empathy in children.

Estimated price: Free

Estimated time: Varies (typically a few hours)

Insider tip: Call ahead to find out if there are any age restrictions or specific requirements for volunteering with children. VolunteerMatch helps connect volunteers with local nonprofit organizations. 

6. Camp out in the backyard

Experience the magic of camping without leaving home! Pitch a tent, set up sleeping bags, and enjoy a night under the stars. Roast marshmallows for s'mores over a bonfire or grill, tell stories, and play flashlight tag. Embrace the simplicity of outdoor living away from screens and distractions. The backyard campout is an excellent opportunity to foster a sense of adventure and develop camping skills in a familiar and safe environment.

Estimated price: $20–$50

Estimated time: Overnight

Insider tip: The American Camp Association provides resources and tips for organizing backyard campouts, including campfire recipes and camping games. Use stargazing apps or books to identify constellations and planets.

7. Plan a family art day

Unleash your family's creativity by dedicating a day to art. Set up a space in your home or take your art supplies outdoors to enjoy the fresh air. Encourage your children to paint, draw, or sculpt while engaging in artistic activities yourself. You can also collaborate on a family art project, such as a mural or a family tree. Display the artwork proudly in your home when you’re done!

Estimated Price: $10–$30

Estimated Time: 2–4 hours

Insider Tip: Research local art centers or workshops that offer family art classes or open studios, providing additional guidance and inspiration. Pinterest offers a wealth of art and craft ideas for all ages, including step-by-step tutorials and inspiration.

This summer, make a conscious effort to disconnect from screens and reconnect with your family through these seven screen-free fun activities. Whether you're enjoying a picnic in the park, exploring a museum, or engaging in outdoor adventures, the memories you create together will be cherished for a lifetime. Embrace the opportunity to bond, learn, and have fun as you make the most of the beautiful summer season with your loved ones.

art app icons with illustrated crayon and paint palette

It's no secret that kids love spending time in front of screens, whether it's playing video games, scrolling through social media, or watching their favorite shows. However, too much screen time can have negative effects on your child's development and overall health. So, as a parent, how can you balance your child's screen time with other enriching activities? 

One great option is to introduce them to the world of digital art! Below, we've compiled a list of 10 art websites that are not only fun and engaging but also suitable for kids of all ages. From coloring to digital painting and even graphic design, these websites will inspire your child's creativity and allow them to explore their artistic talents in a safe and enjoyable way.

10 Art Websites for Kids

1. Color By Numbers 

As the name suggests, this account takes the classic paint-by-number process and makes it  digital! Simply select a paint from the sidebar and click to paint in the areas that coincide with each paint number. This foolproof “painting” is perfect for all ages, from busy toddlers who can’t sit still to anxious adults looking for a little mindless, creative fun. Looking to go analog? You can also print out paint-by-number templates for hand coloring or painting.

2. Jackson Pollock

For those looking for a little more abstract art, look no further than Jackson Pollock. This interactive website uses your cursor as the paintbrush as you make quick swipes across the screen to reveal Pollock’s characteristic colorful splatters. 

3. PBS Kids Arts Games

If your child is nervous about picking up the virtual paintbrush, let their favorite cartoon characters lead the way. On PBS Kids Arts Games, well-known characters like Elmo from Sesame Street and D.W. from Arthur lead your child through various creative adventures.

4. Scrap Coloring

Elsa (an elementary school teacher) and Stephane (a software engineer) wanted to create an online coloring experience for their three children that went beyond the basics. Instead of a simple swatch of basic predetermined colors, in the world of Scrap Coloring, kids can pick from a wide array of fabrics, papers, textures, patterns, gradients and more to color in a variety of scenes and characters. 

5. Draw a Stickman

With Draw a Stickman, your child’s artwork goes beyond just fun and colorful and becomes a functional part of a grand adventure. In the beginning, users are prompted to sketch their own “stickman” character to use. Once your Stickman is drawn, he moves about the screen facing different challenges—which he’ll need your help to face. Draw a sword to face the mighty dragon or a rain cloud to put out the fire. Each step along the way, your art skills will be put to the test.

6. Make Beliefs Comix

Another action-packed art adventure, kids and teens can create their own comic strips with the help of Make Beliefs Comix. Backgrounds, characters, and text bubbles are all used in tandem to create a unique written and visual story that pushes your child’s creative limits.

7. Mandala Gaba

It’s all about symmetry, baby! Mandala Gaba allows users to create beautiful mandalas, which are kaleidoscopic designs that feature symmetrical patterns. The website’s interactive drawing board can instantly mirror your strokes across a number of points, creating intriguing symmetries and unexpected designs.

8. Google Arts & Culture

Hoping to sneak in a little bit of learning into your child’s next creative venture? Consider introducing your kiddos to Diwali or Hanukkah celebrations through Google Arts & Culture’s online coloring books that are outside your usual horizons. 

9. Canva

For the budding graphic designer interested in curating the perfect social feed or crafting their own ‘zine, Canva takes the tools once available only in complicated applications like Photoshop and makes them intuitive. Kids and teens can browse thousands of templates and use amazing new integrations like the “magic eraser” to remove background characters from photos and polish their designs. 

10. Sculpt GL

For those looking to get their hands dirty — virtually, that is — Sculpt GL enables users to use a variety of techniques to move and configure a ball of clay into something spectacular. While the controls and toggles are a little more advanced, tutorials are provided, and a few minutes spent playing with the different settings and methods will have you revealing a masterpiece in no time.

illustrated desk with computer, tablet, coffee, sticky notes, etc.

Digital technology has become an essential part of our lives, and it's no different for our children. Whether it's watching YouTube videos, playing online games, or chatting with friends on social media, our kids are spending more and more time online. As a parent, it's important to embrace all that technology can offer your child while also ensuring their safety and well-being. Here are some tips on digital parenting 101:

Create and Sign a Tech Contract

Signing a tech contract is an excellent way to establish expectations and guidelines for device usage. A tech contract should outline rules for device usage, consequences for breaking the rules, and guidelines around online behavior. Make sure your child understands the importance of the contract and agrees to abide by it. Not sure where to start? You can download Bark’s Technology Contract here.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries around screen time and online activity is crucial for your child's safety and well-being. Create clear guidelines around device usage, and make sure your child understands them. Consider using parental controls on devices and apps to limit access to inappropriate content.

Talk Openly and Honestly About the Benefits and Dangers

Having open conversations with your child about the things they're seeing online is essential for their safety and well-being. Ask them about their online activities, who they're chatting with, and what types of content they're viewing. Teach them about online safety and privacy, and encourage them to come to you with any concerns or questions they may have.

Model Healthy Tech Habits

As a parent, it's important to model healthy tech habits for your child. Limit your own screen time and prioritize face-to-face interactions with your family. Avoid using devices during meal times or family activities, and encourage your child to do the same.

Embrace the Benefits

While there are certain risks associated with the digital age, it's important to remember the benefits as well. Technology can provide opportunities for learning, creativity, and social connection. Encourage your child to explore these positive aspects of the digital world while also being mindful of the potential risks.

How Bark Can Help

Even after establishing your family’s rules about the internet, your child might not always follow them. That’s why having an additional safeguard in place can be helpful. Bark’s award-winning monitoring service alerts parents and guardians when there’s a potential issue they need to know about — including cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, depression, and more. Sign up today to monitor your child’s texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms and get one week of our service completely free!

illustrated app icons (duolingo, National Geographic, Epic!, etc.)

Kids nowadays spend a lot of time on their screens and as parents, we know it’s important to limit screen time when we can. But the reality is technology and screens are a huge part of our lives. Most of us can’t just give up screens entirely, which means we just need a healthier approach! 

So we put together a list of educational apps that your kids will love, while also giving you peace of mind that their screen time will be more productive and beneficial to their development. And there’s a lot — so let’s jump in! 

Best language learning apps for kids

Communication is key to success in school and throughout life. Learning to read and write empowers your child to express themselves clearly and confidently.

Here are a few apps that are great for language learning.

1. Duolingo

Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning apps out there. The gamified approach has made learning new languages more fun for both kids and adults.

You and your child can unlock new levels as you complete lessons. Plus, you can earn points and compete against others. You’ll also earn points as you unlock.

The rewards system and colorful, child-friendly design make learning a new language more engaging and help to keep kids motivated!

Pros: Duolingo is great for everyone, from beginners to advanced learners. It’s also available in over 38 languages. (Including even some fictional ones!).

Cons: It’s not available in all languages and requires an internet connection to access the content.

Cost: Duolingo app is free and gives you access to all content. However, to remove ads and access offline content, you’ll need to upgrade to Duolingo Plus.

2. Epic!

Epic is like Kindle – but for kids! From picture books to non-fiction, Epic puts the world of reading at your child’s fingertips. You can let them browse with confidence, knowing they’re accessing books that are parent (and kid) approved.

Epic also stands out with built-in learning tools, like dictionaries and quizzes, to make the most out of your child’s reading journey. There are also other elements like badges and reading buddies to help keep your child motivated.

Pros: Access to over 40,000 titles in just one subscription, including books that are exclusive to Epic.

Cons: Epic’s library is designed for ages 12 and under, so it’s not a great solution for older kids and teens.

Cost: Epic is a subscription-based app that starts at $6.67 a month. A free trial is available to explore the offering.

3. Night Zookeeper

The name doesn’t quite do it justice, but Night Zookeeper is designed to help kids with their vocabulary, spelling, and grammar skills.

Night Zookeeper makes learning to write more engaging and interactive. The storybook-inspired environment is designed to help encourage creative thinking and writing. Kids can start with simple vocabulary activities and progress to writing short stories.

They also include unique ways to keep kids engaged, like drawing their own avatars!

Pros: Instant writing feedback from Night Zookeeper characters and educators.

Cons: Relatively expensive subscription compared to other apps on the list.

Cost: Night Zookeeper has a free 7-day trial. Subscriptions start at $9.92/month.

4.   Write about this

Kids have some of the wildest imaginations, but they can get writer’s block sometimes too.

Write about this helps get the creative juices flowing by providing prompts. The prompts range from random ideas to images. Then your child can use the prompt to write directly in the app, use the voice recording feature, or start writing elsewhere.

The app is a unique way to get kids to write more and feel comfortable doing it. There are also publishing features to encourage your child to share their writing.

Pros: Simple to use and can be repurposed in many different ways, from journaling to other creative projects.

Cons: Built-in editor has limitations which can make writing in the app challenging at times.

Cost: Write about this has a one-time app fee, currently at $5.49.

Best math and science learning apps for kids

Whether your kid dreams of being a doctor or has other goals in life, math and science help provide the foundation for learning. They’re great subjects for developing critical thinking skills.

These educational apps will help your child develop their love of science and math early on.

5. Prodigy

Take learning math into a whole new world with Prodigy.

Kids take on a role in a fantasy world where they can win battles with – you guessed it – math. They go through different daily and seasonal quests in order to earn items and rewards.

There are also interactive elements like pets and treasure hunts that make Prodigy feel more like playing a game. It’s a perfect alternative for the child who struggles with traditional learning and math.

Lessons and activities are based on standard curriculums, so you know your child is on track. There is also an English stream for language learning.

Pros: Interactive features allow your child to play with friends online in a safe, child-friendly space.

Cons: Some parents have provided feedback that the math components could be better integrated into the game.

Cost: The basic version of Prodigy is free and includes all core game functionality. There are also Level Up and Ultimate memberships that unlock things like items and additional pets.

6. National Geographic

Let your child explore the world from the comfort of the couch with the National Geographic app.

This app gives your child unlimited access to interactive and digital versions of National Geographic’s world-class stories and photographs. National Geographic is one of the best ways to learn about the world around them – from people and animals to the creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.

In general, this app is better for older kids who have developed solid reading skills. You can also pair it with a National Geographic Kids subscription for the ultimate Nat Geo experience.

Pros: A subscription includes access to past articles and issues, so there’s plenty for kids and adults to enjoy.

Cons: Free content is very limited, but subscription costs are reasonable.

Cost: Free with a National Geographic subscription. Otherwise, a subscription costs $2.99/month.

7.   NASA App

The perfect app for kids dreaming of going to the moon. The NASA app is home to all content related to NASA.

From podcasts to space photos, this is the ultimate app for any space lover. There’s even an educational center that includes a solar system simulation.

Whether it’s browsing pictures of space or discovering missions in 3D, the NASA app is a comprehensive resource for all things space. Even adults will love exploring everything the NASA app has to offer.

Pros: Take a deep dive into real-life examples of the work that NASA is doing.

Cons: Content can be technical, so it’s not very friendly for kids under 10.

Cost: The NASA app can be downloaded for free.

Best technology learning apps for kids

AI and robots aren’t taking over the world yet, but we know computers are powerful tools.

Take a deep dive into the world of computers with these apps that will help improve your child’s computer literacy.

8. Typing club

With more and more education and testing taking place digitally, building typing skills early on is more important than ever.

Typing club helps children develop their touch typing skills through interactive typing lessons. It teaches to build muscle memory while encouraging proper hand posture. Kids can advance through the lessons and levels as they progress in their typing skills.

The badges and stars gamify the experience and act as great motivators.

Pros: Unlike most apps, there’s no need to create an account. But you still can create one to save your progress.

Cons: Since it’s typing-focused, it’s not a traditional app and requires a laptop and keyboard.

Cost: Typing club is free to use.

9. is a nonprofit helping kids, and underrepresented communities get access to computer science education. The site has many activities so kids can dip their toes into computer science.

There are resources and activities for kids as young as kindergarten to Grade 12. Many of the tutorials also relate directly to popular games like Minecraft or trending music. It’s a great way to apply computer science to the real world.

Pros: partners with major organizations like NASA to develop activities and campaigns that go beyond just coding.

Cons: There is no standalone app, and it must be used online in a browser.

Cost: and its resources are free to use.

10. Scratch

Scratch is a coding language designed especially for kids. It takes the fundamentals of coding to create a visual programming language. Kids can drag-and-drop blocks to create their own designs and animations – without the complications of text-based coding.

There’s also an online Scratch community for kids to learn more about coding and share their projects.

For kids below age 8, consider Scratch Jr.

Pros: Scratch can be used via a web app or downloaded to be used offline. There is a mobile app, but it has limited access to the creator.

Cons: There are limited resources to help older kids transition to text-based programming languages. The online community also offers limited content monitoring.

Cost: Scratch is funded by donations and is free to use.

11. Tynker

Learning to code is about more than just programming. It can teach children problem-solving and critical thinking skills that can be applied to all aspects of life. So it’s no wonder coding apps are taking the educational app space by storm!

Tynker is another platform designed to introduce kids to the world of coding.

Tynker’s partnership with brands like Star Wars and Barbie makes the activities more fun and relatable.

Pros: Unlike the other coding apps on this list, Tynker has a hybrid approach that gives your child access to live coaches. There are also dashboards for parents to stay up-to-date on progress.

Cons: You can only access very basic features in the free plan. Most benefits of Tynker require a subscription.

Cost: Subscriptions for Tynker start at $20/ month.

Best educational apps for ages 8 and under

Even the youngest of learners have access to apps that can help them grow and develop. Most importantly – they need to be fun and safe!

Here are some apps that are perfect for the youngsters in your family.

12. ABCmouse

ABCmouse is regarded as one of the premier learning apps for young children – even boasting several awards!

The curriculum is well-rounded, offering activities in everything from reading to the arts. From puzzles to games, there is something for every kid. Plus, the stunning graphics and animations alone are bound to keep your child entertained for hours.

As a paid app, you can ensure that your young children are in a safe environment, free from any potentially inappropriate content.

Pros: Activities for children as young as pre-k.

Cons: ABCmouse is on the pricier side for a children’s learning app.

Cost: ABCmouse’s subscription is $12.99/month. You can try the app first for free by taking advantage of the 7-day free trial.

13. PBS Kids Games

From TVs to apps. PBS’s Kids Games app is the best of both education and entertainment.

The app is designed to help kids aged 2-8 learn basics in a wide variety of subjects alongside the characters they know and love from their favorite shows. There are well over 200 games, videos, and activities to create a seamless transition from TV to the app.

PBS is a trusted nonprofit educational organization. So you can feel comfortable letting your child browse on their own. The content is well-researched and developed with your kids’ best interests in mind.

Pros: It also includes resources for parents, like TV schedules and storage management.

Cons: Some parents note that there are so many options on the app that it can be overwhelming for young kids.

Cost: The PBS Kids games app is free to use.


HOMER is designed for early learning – making it the perfect app for kids under the age of 8.

They use a four-step approach throughout all their activities to help kids become better learners at a young age. HOMER also covers topics across all subjects to help set your child up for success.

Pros: HOMER is created by experts who have backgrounds in early childhood education and development. So you know that your child is in good hands with Homer.

Cons: There is limited functionality offline, making it difficult to take HOMER on the go.

Cost: HOMER has a free 30-day trial. Memberships start at $4.99/month.

15. Starfall

Starfall has several learning and education apps for young children. However, it’s mostly known for its learn-to-read curriculum.

Your child can go on a journey from learning the alphabet to reading at a Grade 3 level – all with Starfall. The main character is Zac the Rat, who takes the user on a journey through colorful stories and reading-related activities. The app also includes learning streams in math, social subjects, art, and more.

Pros: Starfall has several different education apps that you can download for your child. You can also access a majority of the content directly through a web browser.

Cons: Some users report that the content can get repetitive at times, but it seems the developers are continuing to make improvements.

Cost: Starfall is a free app, but certain content is available for a cost in-app.

Best educational apps for teens

Games may offer less intrigue for older kids, but technology and apps can still empower them to learn.

Here are some favorite learning apps among teens:

16. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a nonprofit whose mission is to help more children around the world access educational resources.

The biggest areas of learning for Khan Academy include math and science. However, you’ll find lessons and videos on everything from economics and humanities to life skills. For high school kids, you’ll even find lessons on SAT prep.

Pros: The reliable and high-quality content for children of all ages makes Khan Academy a trusted education source.

Cons: It’s less interactive which can be a challenge for kids who need an extra layer of motivation when it comes to digital learning.

Cost: Khan Academy and all the resources are available for free.

17.  Quizlet

Quizlet itself isn’t an education or learning app; rather, it’s a platform that helps children study through flashcards and quizzes.

No matter the subject, you can create digital flashcards to help you memorize and test your skills. You can even add images and diagrams. There are also other learning features like Match, where you can drag and drop matching answers.

The different tools mean there’s a solution for every learning style.

Quizlet can be a great way for parents to help kids study or learn new skills.

Pros: Completely customizable to supplement school curriculums.

Cons: Flashcards and quizzes already available on the site are created by individuals, which means the content has not been vetted for accuracy.

Cost: Quizlet is a free resource. But you can remove ads and get access to offline studying with Quizlet Plus, which costs about $48 a year.

Making digital education a priority with Bark

Technology and apps have so much to offer kids of all ages. The best part? All these apps are parent and kid-approved, so you can feel confident knowing that your children are getting the best possible digital learning experience.

The world is becoming increasingly screen and technology-centered. It’s inevitable that your children will spend time online – whether they’re learning or just having fun!

However, it’s normal to be wary as a parent when it comes to screen time and digital access. Use tools like Bark’s website blocking and screen time management to make sure that your child is balancing online fun with online education.

With Bark, you get detailed reports about the sites and apps your child is using. Plus, you can even monitor content and set alerts– so you can enjoy peace of mind that your child is staying safe online.

Get started with a free trial of Bark today.