How many of you ONLY use Bark to monitor your kid's electronic life?

Just curious if anyone is ONLY using Bark to monitor your child’s “electronic life” for social media, Internet, etc?

I personally have a very tech savvy kid (I’m an IT professional myself, so she learned by watching me) and she isn’t willfully defiant but she’s curious. She’ll find away around things if she can, just to see if she can sometimes.

So I’ve got a few things I run in concert with Bark to block the real nasty stuff out there too, like a Content Filter, Unified Threat Management (it’s geek talk for Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, anti-cyber bad guys) platform and so on.

I’m not saying anything negative about Bark at all here, just to be clear. It’s the one tool in my arsenal that I just TRUST to do the job. Everything else is fiddly to an annoying level.

Just curious how many parents out there are going a bit overboard like me, really. (’-’*)

I use a combination of Bark and Google Family Link on my son’s Palm phone (smartphone). The televisions throughout the house have parental controls activated to restrict explicit content (for example, if he tries to access Netflix 12+ content he needs the pin code). We don’t have a common family computer right now, but he does use a thinkpad that his school issued for homework. He only uses it in the common areas (kitchen) etc. and it has filters as well. What content filter do you use? What devices does your child access? Mine is 10 and has an Android smartphone, uses the Family iPad from time to time, his thinkpad, and then a PS4.

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I use OpenDNS on our entire home network at the router level and block all inappropriate or unsafe categories. It keeps all of our devices a bit safer. That is layered with Qustido and Sophos Home(if I’m OK to name drop here, hope so I just did…) on all the devices my daughter touches. Which is probably too many, because of my job we have over a dozen Internet connected things (iPad, Computers, Game Consoles, phones) in the house. Although parental controls are on them where appropriate, more than anything we had a big talk before we let her use them about how we can see what she does. Not because we want to invade her privacy but because we need to know if there’s problems so we can help fix them. My daughter has her own Android smart phone and a computer for school. If Bark ever DID branch off and develop a Content Filter I’d probably switch over in a heartbeat away from Qustido. It tends to over-block and I spend a bit too much time unblocking improperly categorized stuff for it.

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It’s so important to understand (and use) the parental control settings that are built into the devices and apps in conjunction with Bark to make sure our kids are protected. One of the scariest things to me is apps that have open chat rooms or the ability to be contacted by a stranger even if you don’t follow or friend each other. This blog bark.us/blog/parental-control-guide-apps-devices/ + Barkomatic bark-o-matic.com/ are INCREDIBLY helpful.

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Hi, @psauvola! Here’s my situation and what we use. :slight_smile:
I have 8th & 5th graders, who are generally very digitally responsible and have next to no “real” social media. They have and actively use: iPhones, Android tablets, PS4, Windows laptops, and Echo Dots & SmartTvs in the home (if you want to count those).

The only paid monitoring service that I use is Bark. We use this on their iPhones and Androids. It does also monitor Chrome browser on their computers, but personally we don’t use it there, because we don’t use Chrome on the Windows.

I use the built in parental controls / filters that came with our Netgear Nighthawk router. I believe it is basically Open DNS, as it redirects me to a Netgear ODNS site. It’s included free with the router I purchased. It does a great job at filtering out inappropriate websites. It also has time blocks, but I don’t implement them, as I use those on the individual devices and not at the router level.

For each device, I have set up and use the built in parental settings that come free and included with each. iOS Screen Time, Android Google Family Link, Windows Microsoft Family, PS4 settings, and then some individual parent settings on apps & services such as Netflix, Prime, etc.

I also do random spot checks as needed / desired. I created every personal account they have and only I know each login and password. I can log in or mirror on my device at any time. I also sometimes check their Google activity if needed.

I know that may sound like a lot, but honestly I’m pretty lax and do a lot of verbal “control” with it all. For example, I have their devices set to not be accessed at night when they sleep. We also do not allow devices in bedrooms at bedtime. Other than that, I do not have time restrictions set up; I simply verbally tell them, “OK, we need to take a screen break. Put them down and time to (play / homework / chores / etc.)”. This works for us, because we have sports & activities that differ day to day, so our screentime can change on a daily basis. They may have no sports or no homework one day, and the next they may be very busy with that. So for us, setting a daily screen limit of (1 hour) etc. isn’t ideal. I just tell them when they can have them and when they can’t.

That’s what works for us! I hope this helps. :slight_smile:

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@Jodie your setup sounds smart and very close to what I do. Hearing that other parents use a similar approach makes me feel better about the possibility to feel invasive to my daughter. But like I mentioned we do have talks regularly about digital life.

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… I forgot to add, they FULLY know I monitor (even if loosely), their devices are mine, and a privilege to them. We started out this way, so there honestly is no pushback and they fully respect this. We work together so they will make smart choices and understand the responsibilities and risks involved in their digital and online communications and activities. :slight_smile:

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I use Bark to monitor. I use Screentime on the iPad and iPod and Circle by Disney for my older son’s android… although I do have the iPad and iPhone on it as well. Our WiFi was upgraded and now includes more parental controls (Plume) but I need to learn more about that to see if I should bother using it much with what else I already have.

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