Engaged parents know of the challenges kids face as they dive into the online world using popular social media apps as responsible digital citizens. It is important for parents to be a guiding force for online etiquette. Bark was created to support parents by detecting and alerting you only to potential issues, allowing teens privacy and providing the tools necessary to speak to them about potential issues.
In fact, 64% of Bark kids experience digital communications that include at least one of the following issues: cyberbullying, sexual content, predatory activity, depression, and suicidal ideation. Here are the top five apps we see teens using that benefit from a monitoring service like Bark.
Instagram is a favorite social platform for teens that focuses primarily on photos and videos. Teens can share selfies, memes, and anything else they enjoy, which then allows others to leave comments. Instagram is a great way to keep in touch, but it also presents plenty of opportunities for cyberbullying and inappropriate behavior. With the advent of subtweeting, Finstas, and hashtags that provide access to pornographic content, Instagram is no longer just about pretty pictures. Is Instagram safe for kids? Bark monitoring can help with that! We monitor the images and videos your child posts and comments on those posts. Additionally, Bark can monitor Instagram direct messages and searches on connected Android and Amazon devices. However, Instagram does not allow external access to private messages on iOS… yet!
Snapchat is probably the most popular social media platform among teens. This is, in part, due to a movement away from posting on a wall, as is done on Facebook, and using direct messaging apps instead. Additionally, Snapchat has a supposed “fail-safe” that automatically deletes “Snaps” after a short period of time. Kids may think that they will not get caught when they send risky messages to someone — they often don’t consider that other users can take screenshots, or even screen recordings of their Snaps. Screenshots and recordings can then be shared and potentially used for cyberbullying. Being a positive digital citizen means thinking about their digital footprint.
It is normal for teens to explore their sexuality, but remind them that sexting and sending nudes or other explicit messages can carry criminal liability. There are ways to reduce risky behaviors on Snapchat. Additionally, Bark is able to scan public and private Snapchat stories. Bark also monitors Snapchat direct messages (DMs) on Android and Amazon devices. Snapchat does not allow external access to DMs on iOS devices, however.
GroupMe is becoming a preferred messaging app for teens. It allows Android and iPhone users to group chat each other easily and without using up messaging limits. The app can also be used to schedule events, send money, and has a wide array of emojis and GIFs available. However, the emoji and GIF features are not always age appropriate and may include adult content. There is also no way to delete a past post, which means a user’s control over their content is limited. However, Bark is able to monitor your child’s group messages and private messages on GroupMe, including images and media associated with each.
Twitter is another popular social media app that kids use, and it’s the most common social platform among celebrities. Monitoring Twitter is important, as it is often a top choice for messaging between teens. Bark monitors kids’ Twitter accounts — even direct messages. As a another safety measure, follow the celebrities that your teen follows and discuss any celebrity tweets that are inappropriate. Some celebrities retweet jokes, comments, and statements that are not good examples of digital citizenship. Talk to your teens about these tweets, and share with them your family values around appropriate internet interactions.
Facebook allows anyone age 13 and over to create an account and interact with peers, and it allows those under age 13 to have access to their Messenger app. One online safety measure is to get to know your kid’s friends on social media apps, just like you do in real life. Check their friends list for people you don’t know, and ask your kid who that person is. Remind them that they should only interact online with people they know in real life. Another safety measure is to connect their Facebook account to Bark, and we’ll alert to you any potential issues of cyberbullying or sexting that are posted on their wall.
Social Media Apps and Online Safety
Social media apps are used by many teens to communicate and share fun things with their peers. Online safety challenges arise as teens learn how to use them responsibly. It’s essential to keep in mind that the frontal lobe — the impulse control and decision-making part of our brains — is not fully developed until our early 20s. Kids do not always understand the permanent and future consequences of today’s actions. This means your kids or their friends are dealing with online issues like cyberbullying, and they need guidance.
Monitoring your teen’s digital life, especially on these apps, is an important part of being a digital parent. Sign up with Bark today and connect your teen’s social media apps, emails, text messages, and more.