Digital Parenting in a Pandemic: Resources for Journalists
No doubt, 2020 has been a most challenging year for parents and educators. Continued distance learning means kids are on their devices more than ever, adding extra stress and uncertainty for families navigating both working and managing school from home. Helping to keep these kids safe online and in real life has never been more critical.
At Bark, the work we do every day to protect more than 5 million kids by analyzing millions of messages from multiple platforms puts us in a unique position to speak to how kids interact online as well as the dangers they face. We will continue to closely monitor these trends as we close out 2020 and enter into 2021.
Current stats and trends:
We saw a significant uptick in severe cyberbullying directly related to this year’s election.
From 10/1-10/31 of 2020, Bark alerted parents and schools to 952,013 incidents of sexual content, 1 incident of sextortion, 9 incidents of predatory behavior, and 1,333,452 incidents of bullying across multiple platforms.
In August, we saw a 123% increase in emergency calls made to parents and schools compared to July. These calls reflect incidents of violence that included suicidal ideation.
During the first three months of quarantine alone (March-May 2020), we saw the following trends in online teenage behavior:
- A 23% rise in online predation
- A 16% increase in hate speech and a 63% increase in the most severe hate speech
- Alerts for discussion about/consumption of illegal drugs has increased substantially
- A 10% lift in alerts about fake profiles during quarantine
- Usage of profanity was down by 8% during quarantine
- Imminent suicide risk alerts were down by 61% during quarantine, but severe-but-not-imminent suicide alerts were up by 46%
- Sexual content is generally down by quite a bit, but sexting/sending nudes is up by 11%
- Severe violence was down by 68%
*Stats come from Bark’s analysis of more than 600M messages analyzed over different periods since March, 2020.
Feel free to contact us for story-specific data or requests for subject matter expert interviews.
• Tips for safe “gifting” of tech to kids this holiday season
• Mental health and anxiety in kids during quarantine
• Cyberbullying and distance learning
• Risky apps and social media platforms
• Kids and online pornography
• Child predators and online communication
Subject Matter Experts Available for Interviews:
Titania Jordan, Chief Parent Officer, Bark Technologies and author of Parenting in a Tech World
Renee Abrams, School Safety Manager, Bark Technologies
Rich Wistocki, Cyber Crimes Detective and Child Crime Expert
Dr. Free Hess, Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Child Mental Health Advocate
Chris McKenna, Founder, Protect Young Eyes
- Parenting in a Tech World book Hits Shelves
- Bark Introduces Screen Time Management
- Bark Technologies Acquires Router Limits
- Varsity Esports Foundation Partners with Bark
- Lenovo’s LanSchool Partners with Bark to Expand Safety Solutions
- Bigo Live Partners with Bark Technologies
- EarthLink Launches Safe Internet Solutions for Families
- Bark Partners With Stratix Corporation To Launch First Mobile Education Technology Program
- CenturyLink Partners With Bark Technologies To Promote Online Safety
To see Bark featured in the press, visit bark.us/newsroom.
What is Bark?
Bark is an award-winning monitoring and screen time management service founded in 2015 by a parent who was looking for a way to help keep his kids safe online while preserving their privacy. Bark covers 30+ of today’s most popular social media platforms, as well as texts, chat, email, YouTube, and files contained in Google Drive. Bark also monitors images, text within images, audio, and video and has recently added screen time management and web filtering to its suite of safety solutions.
Bark helps protect more than 5 million kids across the U.S. and has alerted parents to tens of millions of potential issues. In 2019, we detected 7.3M+ instances of cyberbullying, 540,000+ instances of self-harm and/or suicidal ideation, and 450 child conversations with sexual predators. To date, Bark has also helped prevent 16 school shootings and offers free content monitoring for more than 2,300 schools and districts nationwide. Click here for our most recent stats from our 2019 Case Study.
Families and schools that use Bark have seen more family engagement in their children’s digital lives, deeper conversations around the dinner table, and ongoing dialogue about living in a tech world — all of which have led to healthier relationships between parents and kids, kids and their devices, and yes, even parents and their devices, too.
How does Bark’s technology work?
Our artificial intelligence does more than flag simple keywords. Bark’s algorithm analyzes language in context and is trained to recognize the ever-evolving nuances of kid, tween, and teen slang. Since launching in 2015, Bark’s mission has always been to help keep kids safe online, and that doesn’t end with detecting digital dangers. We’ve developed our systems with state-of-the-art security technologies, and we’re proud to report that we’re compliant with more privacy regulations than are legally required of us — and that we’ve never had a data breach of any kind.
Bark covers 30+ of today’s most popular social media platforms, as well as texts, chat, email, YouTube, and files contained in Google Drive. And because we know that kids communicate with more than just words, we also monitor images, text within images, audio, and video.
How Bark Started
Bark was founded by a parent looking for a way to help keep his kids safe online while preserving their privacy. When he discovered that no such tool existed, he created one himself. We understand that parenting with technology is hard — after all, we’re the first generation of parents to raise kids with smartphones. Because of this, everything we do is guided by our perspective as parents trying to help protect kids in the digital age.
How Bark Respects Kids’ Privacy
As kids, tweens, and teens grow into adults, we believe they need to learn how to live and thrive with technology — which is why we don’t give parents unfettered access to their kids’ online activities. Instead, Bark only alerts parents to potentially concerning situations. Kids can keep their privacy, and parents can save time by not having to scroll through every message. We also have strenuous safeguards in place to protect your family’s data. From our team of dedicated customer support specialists to the helpful advice and recommended actions from child health and wellness experts that accompany alerts, we provide parents with guidance, kindness, and peace of mind.
Looking for a speaker or subject matter expert in the area of cyber safety, digital parenting, artificial intelligence as a protective measure, or trends in digital citizenship and cause-related technology? Our leadership team and advisory board is comprised of experts in the fields of technology, social justice, mental health, and internet safety.
For interviews or media requests, contact Adina.Kalish@bark.us.
Brian Bason, Chief Executive Officer
As CEO, Brian founded Bark as a solution to help parents work together with their children to navigate the dangers of today’s digital world. An entrepreneur with more 15 years of experience as a technology product lead and executive, Brian is also a parent who knew he could address a critical void in Internet safety solutions by creating one that is easy for parents to use while also affording children their privacy.
Most recently, Brian was Chief Technology Officer at Niche, a solution that helps advertisers collaborate with influencers across social media, which was acquired by Twitter. He also co-founded and served as CEO of CrowdStream, a mobile platform connecting touring bands, brands and consumers across mobile and social media, which was acquired by RadioIO. Previously Brian served as Chief Technology Officer at YouCast Corp., which was acquired by SocialChorus.
Brian graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Physics. He resides in Georgia with his family.
Brandon Hilkert, Chief Technology Officer
As CTO, Brandon is focused on delivering technology solutions to help protect our children from the dangers of the internet. As a technology leader with more than 10 years of industry experience, Brandon is also a parent of two young children and wants the internet to be a valuable place for them to learn while also being protected.
Most recently, Brandon was Engineering Lead at PipelineDeals, a SaaS CRM. He’s also co-founded and served as CTO of Meeteor, an application that leverages social data to make introductions to people you didn’t know, but should. He also wrote a book on building Ruby gems.
Brandon graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He resides in Southern California with his wife and two children.
Titania Jordan, Chief Parenting Officer
Titania Jordan is the Chief Parent Officer of Bark.us, an internet safety solution that helps parents and schools keep children safer across social media, text messaging, and email. As the former host of NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA’s weekly television show Atlanta Tech Edge, Titania has the honor of covering the latest in tech news and talent across both the city and the globe. Past roles also include serving as the CMO of KidsLink, co-founder and CMO of PRIVET, and Executive Director of Band of Coders Girls Academy. Titania travels the country serving as a tech expert and was named a tech innovator and a mother of invention by The Atlantan in 2015. Titania is mom to a tween son.