Kids spend tons of time on the internet these days — not that we can blame them. They may be working on remote learning or questing in their favorite online game, but you can’t always keep an eye on them. Besides, you probably have your own remote work or, hey, just busy parent life to take care of. That’s where Bark comes in, your comprehensive tool for parental controls.
Bark isn’t a corporation just trying to grab cash in exchange for online security — it was founded by a father of two who just wanted a way to keep his own kids safe online. Of course, as the first generation to raise children with smartphones, he knew that Bark had to be both a powerful online safety tool and maintain kids’ privacy.
Photo of mother with daughter doing homework on the lap top
Bark supports both Android and iOS devices, so you should have no problem adding it to your kids’ phones. It’s also available for Amazon Fire tablets, Chromebooks, and more, and provides content monitoring for more than 30 social media platforms, website blocking, screen time management, and location sharing.
Whether you’re a TikTok aficionado or don’t know the first thing about it, Bark gives you key insights into your child’s activities on any platform they’re active on. Bark even allows you to set up the service on an unlimited number of devices for an unlimited number of kids with your subscription. Don’t worry — there’s no extra cost if you add another kid, device, or social media account later on.
So, what does Bark do?
It’s easy enough to say that Bark gives you the parental controls you need to help protect your kid online, but what does that really mean? You won’t get a notification every single time your kid sends a text or watches a YouTube video, but you will get an alert if your child encounters something potentially dangerous — be it sexual content, cyberbullying, online predators, or something else entirely. Bark’s features can be broken down into a few key categories:
Content monitoring and mental health
Your kid might not always feel comfortable coming to you about mental health struggles. In fact, it might be something they only share with their friends and try to pass off as a joke. However, Bark keeps a subtle eye in the background to let you know if something is going on.
It runs behind the scenes, monitoring for key phrases and subjects that you should be aware of. Issues such as bullying, depression, and online predators will automatically set Bark’s alarm bells in motion and send you an email or text alert to let you know about them. The service can also flag Google searches related to depression or let you know if your kid is discussing suicidal ideation in text messages.
Any time you get one of these notifications, you know it might be time to sit down for an important discussion with your child.
Website blocking and filtering
There’s a lot on the internet, and we mean a lot. Not all of it is appropriate for kids, and you might be looking for a way to block certain things until your child is older. It’s easy to stumble upon violence, adult content, or other inappropriate content pages, which is where Bark comes in to help.
You can use Bark’s website blocking tool to control which specific apps and websites your kids can and can’t visit, or you can block entire categories. If you don’t want your kids on streaming services, for example, you can block them off with a simple toggle
The blocking service works for apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, pornography, and much more.
Screen time management
Kids today have almost unlimited access to the internet from their phones, computers, or tablets, so setting healthy boundaries is critical. Bark lets you take control of when your kids can be online by letting you customize access based on your child’s unique schedule. You can build screen time rules like blocking YouTube during the school day, or only allowing music streaming apps when it’s after bedtime.
If things get too hectic, you can always press a simple pause button to freeze internet access altogether. After all, we could all use a breather here and there.
Bark offers location sharing features too, but you don’t need to go searching on a map to find out where your kid is. It automatically alerts you when your child gets to (or leaves) specific locations you’ve added, like their school or a friend’s house. Plus, if you ever need to know your kid’s exact location, you can request a check-in.
How do you sign up for Bark?
happy father and daughter having fun with digital tablet on couch
Alright, so we’ve covered just what Bark can do — and it can do a lot. Now you might be ready to give Bark a try. Right now, there are two plans you can choose from: Bark Jr and Bark Premium.
Bark Jr is a great option for young kids who don’t necessarily have social media yet since it gives you screen time management and web filtering for just $5 per month or $49 per year. On the other hand, Bark Premium takes parental control for the whole nine yards. It gives you the most comprehensive protection with content monitoring, screen time management, and website blocking for $14 per month or $99 for a full year.
Both plans offer a free seven-day trial so you can try Bark’s parental controls out with no strings attached. Hit the button below to sign up now.