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Bark’s Unique Approach to Your Child’s Privacy

Allison Scovell  |  February 14, 2024

kid looking at his phone, illustrated lock to symbolize privacy

It’s a simple fact of nature: Kids will eventually want more privacy as they get older. It’s only natural for young people to want more independence from their parents, like having a later curfew or using a popular app to connect with friends. But they might not be considering their safety in the same way their parents are. Parents have to walk a thin line between protection and privacy, and it can be hard. 

At Bark, we’re a team of parents who’ve walked the same exact line. That’s why we take a unique approach to your child’s privacy with our content monitoring. In this post, we’ll explain what that approach is and why so many parents find it to be their favorite part about Bark. 

Why Bark Values Your Child’s Online Privacy  

Bark’s ultimate mission is to help parents foster healthy relationships with their kids, both on and offline. Privacy for kids — or rather, giving your kid a healthy amount of space as they get older — accomplishes two things. One, it builds their confidence in their own decision-making. And two, it creates trust between you and your child. 

Allowing your child to have a popular app like Instagram means you have to trust them to be responsible while they use it. And it also means your child can trust that you recognize their ability to do so. But it doesn’t mean they won’t make any mistakes with their newfound independence —it just allows them to remember what you’ve already taught them. 

This is something the experts have long advocated for, even as they’re calling for legislation to crack down on better parental controls in tech. The American Psychological Association notes that parental controls for social media such as adult monitoring should be “balanced with youth’s appropriate needs for privacy.” 

If you think about it, kid’s conversations online are likely similar to the conversations you had growing up when you hung out with your friends at the mall. Generally speaking, your parents were probably not privy to all these conversations. For many kids today, apps like Instagram and Snapchat are their version of meeting up at the mall. It may seem different now, but kids today can still have a healthy level of privacy online and be safer — the two aren’t always mutually exclusive.

How Bark Strikes the Perfect Balance 

When you look at the current options for monitoring apps, it can feel like an all-or-nothing approach. You can either use an app to spy on and access all of your child’s messages or use an app that only really focuses on how long your child spends time on an app. It’s either zero privacy or not enough.

Here’s how Bark strikes the perfect balance — we created a technology that will scan your child’s messages for you and alert you to the concerning content you need to know about. If your child is messaging a potential predator on Instagram or receiving texts from a friend that indicate suicidal ideation, Bark will notify you. This helps you keep them safe. 

But all the innocent conversations about favorite Fortnite skins and the boring school assembly that day? Bark simply passes over those, just as you would if you were manually checking the phone yourself. This helps you give them privacy. 

Bark as the Fan Favorite 

So why do parents love Bark’s monitoring so much? Because they don’t have to waste time digging through the harmless messages just to find the one that may be concerning. They don’t have to sacrifice their child’s online privacy and independence just to keep them safe — they get the best of both worlds. 

Tons of kids prefer Bark, as well. Most of the time, they don’t even realize it’s there as it runs quietly in the background. However, despite the level of privacy they get with Bark, you may find your child apprehensive about the idea of monitoring. If this is the case, we have some helpful resources about how to best address it with your child. Once they learn how it really works, kids often understand it’s better than a lot of alternatives — like spot-checking or spy apps.

Ready to Get Started With Bark?

If Bark sounds like a good fit for your family, we’d love to offer you a free, 7-day trial so you can get a feel for how our monitoring works. In addition to content monitoring, Bark also has a host of other parental controls, including screen time management, web filtering, and location tracking. You may even consider checking out the Bark Phone, our smartphone built with children’s safety in mind. 

Important note: You might be curious about how Bark manages all of the data we analyze. We recognize this is an important concern for child’s safety and privacy. When Bark scans your data, we immediately encrypt it so it can’t be traced back to you. Additionally, we purge data every 30 days (and parents can request us to purge their child’s data at any time). We hold ourselves to the highest security standards for the safety of you and your child. 

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

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls