Part 3: How To Talk To Teens About Bark’s Monitoring Service
Welcome to the final installment of our how-to series on talking to your kids about using Bark as a monitoring service. We know it's a cliche, but man, kids really do grow so fast. Their ability to comprehend what the use of technology means for them as a young child, tween, and now teen is vastly different. Today we focus on how to talk to teens, ages 14-17 years old, about what Bark is and why your family chooses to use it. If you haven't already signed up for Bark, head here and get set up in under 5 minutes.
As kids get older, parents often give teens more responsibility over their lives, including their digital lives. However, accountability is key to helping your teens learn how to manage their online presence. Additionally, reviewing cell phone and internet expectations help keep the lines of communication open. Creating or updating your technology contract as your kids age and become teenagers is a good springboard for such conversations. It also engages them in the process of discussing online issues like cyberbullying and sexting.
Start With A Real Life Example
Start with a real life example you've read about. “Hey sweetie, I’ve been reading about cyberbullying and how serious it is. Sometimes these types of messages make kids feel depressed or suicidal, like Megan Meier." Then move into open ended questions that can spark a deeper conversation. "Have you heard of her? Have you seen any of your friends cyberbullied?" Questions engage your teen and you can find out a lot by listening to their answers. Then explain, "I’d like to make sure you stay safe when you’re online, so I want to work with you to add a protection service. It is called Bark and only alerts me to real issues so I can help keep you safe from cyberbullying.” Discuss with them the reasons for using Bark, how it allows them a great deal of privacy, and you won't see their non-problematic messaging.
Reinforce It’s Your Job To Keep Them Safe
Let your teen know that you consider keeping them safe online part of your parenting responsibilities, but you trust them and also want to give them privacy and accountability for their actions. You can say something like, “The reason I want to use Bark is because it will let me know when an issue is happening, but I don’t have to read every text, email, or social media message that you send. I really 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.” Their daily chatter remains private unless a potential issue is detected and then you’re alerted so that you can work with them to address it together.
You Trust Them, But Not Everyone Else
Take a moment to help them understand that you do trust them, but that you can’t blindly trust everyone else that they may know through school or with whom they might happen to come into contact with on the internet. You can begin with an analogy, “You know how when you first got your driver's permit you had to have someone driving with you to help you watch out for other dangerous drivers? Well that’s kind of how Bark works. It helps me watch out for bad drivers on social media who put you in danger.” This conversation reinforces that you are your teen's safety net and trusted adult when it comes to addressing online issues.
Actions to Take
- Timing is everything – make sure you are not in a hurry when you have these conversations and that no one is having a rough day.
- Set up Android). Give them a deadline and a consequence for not adding their device and account information to Bark by a certain time.
- Set up guidelines and write the family rules down in a technology contract.
Give Us Feedback
Our job is to keep your children safer online. We are your partner in this digital parenting space! Please always let us know how we can help by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.