The Bark Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Parenting Tips

How to Talk to Your Kids About Bark

Haley Zapal  |  April 05, 2019

**Note: This post was updated on February 23, 2023.**

It’s easy for parents to get how Bark can help keep their kids safe. But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean their kids will immediately understand the benefits of using our content monitoring, screen time management, and web filtering features. A family is a team, and it’s great when everyone works together when it comes to digital safety. Talking to your kids about why Bark is so important can get everyone on the same page.

Parents have to do everything they can to help protect their kids from digital dangers, and Bark lets them do exactly that. Kids may balk at what our service does, but you can reach them more easily by using real-world examples to help them understand why content monitoring, screen time management, and web filtering are necessary. Here are some conversation starters for all three features of Bark.

Explaining Content Monitoring

Some kids worry that by allowing Bark to monitor their online accounts, parents will be snooping on all of their conversations. In reality, parents turn to Bark to avoid doing exactly that. Spot-checking devices every night or week is time-consuming and invasive. The beauty of Bark is that it only alerts parents to potential issues. Checking alerts from Bark means that parents don’t have to scour every text, email, or post — which gives kids more privacy, not less.

Start the conversation: “I think it’s important for you to have privacy. The reason I want to use Bark is that it will only alert me if there might be something wrong. I don’t want to read every time you ask your friends what’s up, but I do want to know if someone is cyberbullying you or sending you inappropriate pictures.”

It’s also worth noting that 99.91% of all communications are reviewed only by Bark’s artificial intelligence engine. We do have a trained human review team that works to verify urgent or life-threatening alerts, but kids can rest assured knowing that neither their parents nor the employees at Bark are watching their every move.

Start the conversation: “You know how when you first got your permit, you had to have someone driving with you to help you watch for hazards on the road? That’s kind of how Bark works — it helps me watch out for bad drivers on social media who might be putting you in danger.”

Parents should give their kids some credit — they’re often capable of handling challenging situations on their own. But they can’t handle everything alone. For times when they’re in over their heads — if they’re being groomed by a sexual predator or if someone is extorting them with inappropriate photos — Bark allows kids to have someone in their corner.

Start the conversation: “I think it’s cool that you have so many followers on Instagram. But some of the comments I’ve read are concerning, and I want to help you stay safe online. Bark will let me know if someone is harassing you or sending inappropriate messages.”

Bark provides families with opportunities to have difficult conversations around what they’re experiencing online. Whether it’s a classmate threatening to bring a gun to school, a friend engaging in self-harm, or witnessing cyberbullying on Instagram, kids need to know how to rise to the occasion. These conversations can be challenging, but they’re worth it.

Discussing Screen Time Management and Web Filtering

Screen time management

If your child is frustrated by the screen time rules you’ve set for them, do your best to explain how you think these limits could actually benefit them. Using this conversation starter to show your kid how much you support their non-tech interests can really encourage them!

Start the conversation: “I know how much you love practicing your basketball skills, and I’m so proud of how hard you work to get better. I want to help you follow your passions! That’s why I’m scheduling some time for you to focus on the things you love.”

Web filtering

Your child might also feel upset if you’ve elected to block certain websites (or even whole web categories) with our filtering feature. It can be helpful to discuss how you’ve actually turned these filters on to keep out some of the worst of the online world — not to punish them. 

Start the conversation: “I know you feel like your internet access is being unfairly limited, but web filtering is actually good for both of us. You get more privacy because I don’t have to go through your browsing history, and I get peace of mind knowing you’re using the internet appropriately. A few things might be off-limits, but the rest of the internet is yours to surf. So keep posting your awesome photography on Instagram and using YouTube to find amazing baking recipes. There are still so many great things you can do online!”

At the end of the conversation, it’s a good idea to give your child time to explain how they feel about the situation — listen to them and be open. If you let them know that you care about their perspective and want to hear them out, that can reduce friction and help them adjust.

Raising Responsible Digital Citizens

There’s no shortage of reasons to celebrate technology. It’s also no secret that with new technologies come new challenges. Today’s teens and tweens have never known a life without devices, which means they have to learn how to be responsible digital citizens. Parents are in a position to guide their development, and Bark can help them not only keep their kids safe online but also connect them with resources for coaching them on the appropriate use of digital technologies. When families team up to foster responsible digital citizenship, they’re setting themselves up for success in the digital age. You can even collaborate on making a technology contract so that everyone can agree on what works best for them.

Parents trust their kids with powerful tools — tools that will allow them to engage with communities across the world. Bark ensures that kids are better protected while they use them, helping families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

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

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls