As part of the first generation of parents learning how to raise children in the digital world, we are encountering situations and experiences that parents before us didn’t. And, to be honest, it’s not easy. Being a parent today means that in addition to keeping kids safe in real life, we also need to make sure they’re protected when searching the internet, using a smartphone, and posting on Instagram. Parenting in a tech world can be challenging, but these resources can help you keep your kids safe online.
Be realistic about what’s really going on
Technology continues to change how (and where) we communicate. Even tech-savvy parents sometimes just don’t know what apps or platforms their kids are using — or who they’re talking to online. Bark launched its flagship product for families in 2015. Since then, in partnership with parents and schools, we’ve helped protect 3.6 million children, prevent 16 school shootings, and detect 20 thousand severe self-harm situations.
Now more than ever, we need to understand what our children are really facing online. The ways in which children are bullied, peer pressured, and approached by strangers has changed a lot since we were tweens and teens. Choosing to have open and honest conversations with our kids about tough topics like sexting, suicide, and online predators isn’t always easy, but teaching them about what can happen online is an important way to help them become savvy digital citizens.
Remember that it takes a village
If raising children is a full-time job, then raising children in the digital age should count as two. It seems as if trying to understand teen lingo or deciding if our kids should be allowed on TikTok has become the least of our worries sometimes. Leaning on other parents can really come in handy and remind you that you’re not alone!
That’s why we created Parenting in a Tech World, a Facebook community that is now over 44,000 strong, and Bark Connect. Much like our Facebook group, this brand new platform is a safe space to ask questions, get advice, and stay up-to-date on all things related to raising kids in the digital age. Bark Connect takes this one step further by organizing the topics into relevant and easy-to-find categories. Join the conversation by visiting connect.bark.us and on iOS devices by visiting the App Store.
Take advantage of free parental control guides
Did you know that most smart devices, games, and apps have completely free built-in parental controls for you to use? Many parents don’t. Another thing you may not realize is that the default settings for your child’s devices, games, and apps typically allow them to view sensitive or inappropriate content, make questionable purchases and downloads, and chat with people they don’t know in real life.
Now that you’re in the know, you’ll want to take some time to set up parental controls. In the past, parents had to search through manuals and hunt online for how to implement these settings for every device and app. Not anymore!
With Barkomatic, the internet’s first customizable resource for parental controls, you simply answer a series of questions ranging from what type of devices and internet providers your family can access to what games or apps your kid uses. The Barkomatic analyzes your selections and pulls information, instructions, and guidance from across the web and then sends you an email with your personalized results.
Use a monitoring service
In addition to setting parental controls on your child’s device, the next safety layer parents and caregivers should strongly consider is a monitoring solution to assess the content their kids encounter (and produce) online. In the past, parents had to read every message to make sure there was nothing to worry about. Today, Bark can do this for you.
Bark is a simple monitoring tool that helps keep kids safe both online and in real life. Bark monitors texts, chat, email, YouTube, and 24+ different social media platforms for potential issues. You’ll get automatic alerts if our technology detects signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators, adult content, and more. You’ll also get resources and recommendations from child psychology experts to make it easier for you to talk to your kids about digital dangers and other sensitive online issues. Bark is an essential tool for parents raising kids in the digital age.