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Internet Safety Tips

How Bark Works: A Deep Dive into Bark’s Parental Controls

The Bark Team  |  January 29, 2019

When it comes to parental controls, each family has unique needs, so how do you know which tool is the best fit for your family? This is why Bark strives to be the one-stop shop for parents for helping to keep their kids safe online. No matter what part of your child’s digital life you want to manage, Bark has the right tool for you!

But how exactly do these tools work? Bark offers a lot of features, so we’ve laid out the three main components of our parental controls: content monitoring, screen time management, and location tracking. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about each one. Whether you’re already a part of the Bark family, or you’re still in the research phase before joining the family, we hope this post provides the clarity you’re looking for!

Content Monitoring: Your Digital Safety Net 

Once kids find their groove online, they could be sending and receiving hundreds of texts a day, and scrolling through even more content on social media. As a parent trying to ensure your kid is staying safer, it can easily feel like you’re drinking from a fire hose trying to dig through your kid’s messages to find the one that may be concerning. 

So here’s Bark's solution to this problem: We built industry-leading technology that will scan your child’s device for you! Bark runs quietly in the background, looking for the things parents need to know about in their child’s texts, emails, and in 30+ social media platforms. If a message is flagged as an issue, parents are sent an alert straight to their phone so they can review it (as well as messages around it) and decide how to address it with their child properly. 

Here are just a few of the categories Bark’s software is trained to look for:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexual content
  • Predation
  • Suicide/self-harm content
  • Body image/eating-related issues 
  • Drug and alcohol-related content 
  • Medically concerning content 
  • Phishing scams
  • Violence/weapons 

Tons of parents have found Bark’s monitoring to be invaluable to keeping their kids safer online, while also preserving a crucial level of trust between them and their kids. Kids feel a sense of privacy since their parents can’t read every harmless interaction they have, which encourages their independence and growth. Not to mention, parents don’t have to waste so much time digging through their phones — just the ones that need their attention. 

Bark’s content monitoring is available with a Bark premium subscription or comes with the Bark Phone, our kid-friendly smartphone that comes with all of our parental controls built-in. 

Screen Time Controls As Unique as Your Family

Deciding when your child can use tech 

Time management is a foundational skill to learn as a kid (even as an adult!) and screen time brings a heightened awareness to this. Whether it’s the endless scroll on Instagram or “just one more” round of Fortnite, almost all kids need some help to put the device away. 

Bark offers tons of options in the way of screen time management. With one tap of a button from your parent dashboard, Bark allows you to decide when to shut off the internet to your child’s phone, TV, Nintendo Switch, or all devices at the same time. 

And to take it a step further, you can set up screen time schedules that will automatically shut down apps and devices at predetermined times. For example, Jack may need his tablet for homework after school but can have free time on his PS5 once homework is done. You can create a school schedule that blocks all devices except the tablet, and then a free time schedule that allows access to the PS5 at the same time every school day. 

Deciding what your child can use tech for 

Once you have their screen schedule locked down, it’s important to protect them from accessing harmful places while they’re online. Let’s look at Jack again. Perhaps while he’s on his tablet for homework after school, he’s easily distracted by scrolling through Reddit or YouTube. You can block those apps or websites but still allow the others he needs for school. 

Whether it’s an app or website you want to block all of the time or just some of the time, Bark’s got you. Additionally, with Bark, you can block entire categories of content, such as all sexual content, all social media, or tons of other categories to help refine your child’s online experience. 

These features are available on the Bark Home, the Bark Phone, or for mobile devices with a Bark subscription. 

Location Tracking for When Kids Are on the Go 

Families need location tracking, and Bark can cover all your bases. First, parents get real-time, GPS-powered updates on their kid's location. No matter where they are, you can see where they are as well as where they’ve been. When school, sports, extracurricular activities, and hangouts with friends start to fill up their day, parents can have peace of mind that their kids are where they’re supposed to be throughout the day. 

We also have some other unique location features to help parents keep tabs on their kid’s whereabouts. One of these features is location alerts. You can set this up for frequently visited places such as school or Grandma’s house. Whenever your child arrives or leaves this location, you’ll get an alert straight to your phone — without you having to ask for that “I made it there” text that kids aren’t always the most reliable for sending. 

The other location feature is our check-in feature. This allows kids to proactively send their location to their parent’s phone — again, without having to send the same text over and over. They can simply open the Bark for Kids app on their phone, tap “Check in” and you’re all set! A location notification will be sent to the parent. 

These location tracking features can be used on the Bark Phone or with a Bark subscription. 

Ready to Get Started With Bark?

Now that you have the low-down on all things Bark, you’re probably wondering how to get started! For a Bark subscription, you can sign up for our 7-day free trial. We believe you’ll love how Bark works for your family, but we want to offer you a full week to test out all the controls for yourself! 
You can also learn more about the Bark Phone, which has all the parental controls described here as well as some bonus device features such as contact approval and the ability to block text deletion. You can also find out more about Bark Home for a whole-house solution to screen time management.

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

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls