By: Tim McDonald – President and Founder of Aspis Consulting Inc.

Getting Started
Every day, millions of kids wake to the sound of a favorite song, an obnoxious alarm or the buzzing from a mobile device that has ultimately infiltrated every aspect of life. This segment will introduce Bark, a solution for monitoring your child’s digital footprint, give examples of some of the dangers that Bark protects against and finally provide examples of why subscribing to a service like Bark is so important for making children safer. Mobile devices touch virtually every aspect of a person’s life and has become a staple for most of society. Communication, banking, education, shopping, entertainment, navigation and so many other areas are managed by smart devices. It would be egregious to stop there and not mention other, more negative areas of life where mobile devices are utilized like bullying, harassment, self-loathing, sexting and other inappropriate acts.
As an investigator attached to a Major Crimes Unit, I have seen first-hand the devastation that mobile devices can cause if used in an inappropriate manner. I want to spend the rest of the time introducing a service that has proven itself time and time again as a powerful tool for parents to help make their children safer. If you want to take a brief pause and find out for yourself, click here and read testimonies from actual Bark users, parents just like you, of children that were saved from drugs, underage sexual activity and even suicide. It would be a disservice to you and your family not to share such an amazing tool.


What is Bark?
Bark is a service that monitors mobile device activity and any connected account using algorithms…honestly, the information on their website is better suited to explain all of the ins and outs of what it does, so with their permission, here is a breakdown of what is happening.
“Bark’s watchdog engine uses advanced algorithms to look for a variety of potential issues, such as cyberbullying, sexting, drug-related content, and signs of depression. If a potential issue is detected, a text/email alert is sent to you to review the issue, along with recommended actions on how to handle the situation.” In a March 24, 2018 article by Forbes contributor, Robyn Shulman, Titania Jordan, the Chief Parent Officer of Bark, talks about how Bark was started by CEO, Brian Bason “…as a solution to help parents work together with their children to navigate the dangers of today’s digital world.” and that Bason was “…a parent who knew he could address a critical void in Internet safety solutions by creating one that is easy for parents to use while also affording children their privacy.


Why is Bark so important?
As an investigator, I investigated hundreds of child sex crimes ranging from Sale, Distribution or Display of Harmful Material (Texas – Class A Misdemeanor) to Minor to Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child or Children (Texas – 1st Degree Felony). In almost all of my case, I recognized a reoccurring theme in the commission of these crimes and that was the use of a mobile devices to communicate between the actor and victim. I also heard most of the victim’s parents say, “I had no idea that my child was capable of doing that on their phone.” or something similar. Prior to my law enforcement career, I was in the Information Technology industry. After hearing so many parents say the same thing, I recognized that they were simply unaware of what their child was doing or what was being done to them through mobile devices. Because of my understanding of how the technology worked I began searching for possible monitoring solutions that I could introduce to these parents and that is where I found Bark. Though Bark is one of many parental control and monitoring services, it has the capability to monitor so much more than what other apps are capable of and does so in a manner that allows parents and children to build trust in one another.
Not only does Bark set the standard for monitoring services, they truly care about families and making children safer. It is because of this I encourage all of my clients and all of the parents that attend my trainings to invest in their children’s safety and subscribe to Bark. In some cases, I encourage parents to utilize other parental control apps, but only to supplement Bark’s monitoring capability.


Conclusion
Parents must exert influence into their child’s life especially in areas when their child is not fully capable of understanding or simply is oblivious to the dangers present when getting online and/or using mobile devices. To effectively make children safer, I encourage parents to find a balance of monitoring, limiting, and controlling their children’s devices and digital footprint. Every child is different and there is no secret formula to figuring out what it is going to take, but the first step is monitoring, and I have found no better solution than Bark. If you would like to try Bark, they offer a free trial period backed 100% by a staff that will bend over backwards to help you successfully deploy their service. Click here to sign up and if you choose to subscribe, receive 20% off.


Sources:

  1. www.bark.us
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/robynshulman/2018/03/24/this-app-aims-to-help-keep-your- kids-safe-online-without-helicopter-parenting/#2cf149e55ca0
  3. www.aspisconsulting.org