What Parents Need to Know About Online Safety

Hi, my name is Titania Jordan and
I’m the chief parent officer of Bark and mom to a tween. I’m here
to help you with parenting in a tech world. It’s so not easy,
but we’re all in this together. You and I and every parent that
ever came before us have all had the luxury of knowing life before
smartphones, social media, live streaming, and Fortnite. Our kids, however, are connected like no other child has ever been in the history of humankind. It is our job, as caregivers
and educators to help prepare them for their digital future
or, more realistically, their digital present. By the end
of this video, our goal is for you to have a better grasp on screen
time, Internet access points, digital dangers, popular
apps and their risks, how to talk to your kids about these issues,
real life case studies, and tips and resources for monitoring
and protecting your children online. Let’s get started! First. I want to address the current landscape of being a kid today. Did you know that suicide 01:07.780 among children and adolescents ages 10 to 24 in this country and according to the CDC one in 10 high school girls attempt suicide each year. At bark, we’ve alerted parents
and schools to more than 20,000 severe self-harm situations. The Center for Homeland Defense and Security reports that 2018 had the most gun-related fatalities at schools in recorded history, with an average of more than one per week and to date, Bark has escalated 16 credible school shooting threats to the FBI. Another disturbing trend surrounds cyberbullying, in that more than one in three children will experience severe cyberbullying in their formative years. Finally, and this is incredibly
disturbing, reports of child pornography have grown 2,000%
since 2013 and 40% of that content is generated by
children themselves. We can no longer afford to stick our heads in the sand, while Snapchat, chat apps, and video games are consuming our kids. The onus is on us, all of us, to do something. So what do we do? Where do we start? Well, we have to talk openly
and honestly with both our kids and each other, band together,
and fight back. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, today’s children are spending around eight hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions computers, phones and electronic devices. Because of this, we need to treat
the digital environment just like we would any other environment
where our children would engage, and parents please do not
underestimate the very important role you play in teaching healthy
digital citizenship skills. Do you ever try to tell your
child something important while looking at a smartphone? Not
as effective. At Bark, we’ve created a tech contract which we’ll link to below and we implore you to please make sure your children are engaging in non-screen-related activities including face-to-face interaction, family time, outdoor play, exercise, unplugged downtime, and sleep! In order to manage, limit, and
block screen time, there are a variety of both free and paid
options on the market for you, including free built-in software for
both Apple iOS (which offers a product called screentime) and Android
devices (which offers a product called Google FamilyLink)
as well as paid services like Circle, Unglue and Boomerang. Depending
on your child’s device, operating system, Internet service
provider, and cell service provider, you have a variety of
options at your disposal. So where do you start with just screen time management? Well, we’ve created an amazing free resource to help you do just that. Go to BARKOMATIC.COM, select the various
ways your kid connects, and then the Barkomatic will deliver
a custom report to your inbox to help you get those controls
in place. As I mentioned earlier, this is a whole new world for our tweens and teens. It’s not a matter of if, but when
children will encounter tough issues. That’s why, in addition
to screen time controls and age appropriate filters, every parent
should have a monitoring solution like Bark connected to
their children’s devices and accounts. I want to share some more stats
with you. In January 2019, we published our annual case study for the previous year. This study took into account over 900 million messages across text, email, and social media of over 2.6 million children ages 8 to 17. What we found
was staggering, but not surprising, given the alerts we
send to parents and schools each day. 31.9%
of tweens and 45.6% of teens engaged in
conversations about depression and/or anxiety. 23.1 % of tweens and 35.9% of teens were involved with a self harm or suicidal situation. 59.9% of tweens and 72.1% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature. 56.6% of tweens and 61.6% of teens expressed or encountered violent subject matter and thoughts. 59.6% of tweens and 75.8% of teens engaged
in conversations surrounding illegal drugs and
alcohol and 62.2% of tweens and 70.5% of teens experienced
cyberbullying, either as a bully, victim, or witness. These
are real issues that happen to real kids. Good kids. Kids from all walks of life. Kids who are still developing emotionally
and make mistakes. Kids whose frontal lobes aren’t
fully formed until they’re in their early twenties. And these kids
have devices that can access the world in real time, any time. So now
you’re probably asking where do the most egregious issues happen? And given the rate at which new apps go live in the App Store and trends go viral, how do I stay on top of it? Well, keep in
mind that the old tech drawer you have is full of devices that
only need a charge and a WiFi password and all of a sudden this
digital world is unlocked. Here are some of the platforms where
a great deal of abuses take place — but keep in mind: New
ones are popping up daily. We send Bark alerts every day for issues that occurred on iPhones, Androids, Kindles, social media, direct messages (also known as DMs), Reddit, Vault apps (which are apps that hide other apps photos, and video) and even Google Docs. Yep. Seriously, even Google Docs! Speaking of Google
Docs, I want to make sure you know about Bark for Schools. That’s
our free forever product we offer to any school in the nation
to help keep students safer on school-issued devices and
accounts. Believe it or not, issues like cyberbullying, sexual content, and suicidal ideation are taking place on these accounts and devices, both between the hours of 8AM and 3PM, as well as after school hours. Bark for Schools offers free
account monitoring of both Google and Microsoft accounts, Web
filtering, and a Parent Portal so parents can be alerted
to after hours issues. Bark for Schools is trusted by more than 1300 districts across the U.S. Now, back to parents. What else can you
do? I said this earlier, but it deserves repeating. You cannot talk
to your children enough about digital safety and mental
health. Also, if you’re on Facebook (and I’m assuming you are as most of the planet is there), you have to join Parenting in a Tech World. It’s our free community of over 43,000 parents discussing these very issues and supporting each other at all hours of the day and night. When do I give my child their
first smartphone? How do I talk to my kid about sexting? Where do I report cyberbullying without causing even more embarrassment to my child? Those conversations and more are taking place in our group. Join us. Next, it’s imperative that you monitor your family’s tech usage. In addition to implementing parental controls, which are different than parental monitoring. As a reminder,
there are variety of actions you can take to limit screen
time and block access to certain websites and ads. But those
options do not alert you when your child has experienced
common issues like cyberbullying, sexual content, and
thoughts of suicide and depression. Thankfully, that’s where
bark comes in. Bark for families monitors over 24 social media platforms, text, email, chats, YouTube, and more for the most troubling issues affecting our kids today — cyberbullying depression, suicidal thoughts, sexual predators, drug use, acts of violence, and more, and will alert you via text or email when this happens, along with best recommended next steps vetted by child health and safety experts. Other things you can do that will
really make a big difference: Establish screen-free zones and
times in your house. Trust me, nothing good happens on the Internet after 10 PM. Also, our kids are growing their minds and bodies need a good night’s sleep in order to reach their full, healthiest potential. Connected devices in bedrooms are not a part of that equation. Next, 2 informative and helpful resources in this tech parenting journey are Common Sense Media and Protect Young Eyes. Common Sense Media offers tips and insights into the current media landscape your child is navigating with helpful articles like “How Colleges Use Kids’ Social Media Feeds” and, “Where Kids Find Hate Online”. Another incredible
resource is Protect Young Eyes. If you want to know what is really
going on with those apps your kids are obsessed with, Protect Young
Eyes offers breaking news and easy-to-follow steps to truly
protect your families. And a reminder — I know we shared the Barkomatic with you earlier, but now knowing what you know, you might want to really check it out sooner than later. The Barkomatic will
give you personalized parental control and monitoring
advice based on your family’s specific tech setup. Finally, use
Bark! At only $9 per family per month, Bark will monitor an unlimited number of devices and accounts, saving you valuable time and giving you peace of mind. Watch this 1.5 minute
overview of just what Bark can do for your family. When kids get their first phone,
they’re getting the keys to a larger world. But technology comes
with risks, and the Internet can be a minefield of potential
issues like cyberbullying or online predators. So how do you
keep your children safe? Grab their phone randomly and read all their texts? Spend hours every week, trying to keep up with their online activities? Do nothing and hope for the best? Bark
can help. Bark is an award-winning service that analyzes your child’s text messages, emails, and social media, and sends alerts when potentially problematic issues arise. We’ll also include
recommended actions to help you handle the situation effectively. Here’s how it works. Bark uses advanced technology that keeps up with the evolution of language and recognizes possible dangers. What kind of dangerous? Well, anything from bullying,
violence, and adult content, to depression, self-harm
and suicidal ideation. Often, the only signs of trouble are hidden deep within a tween or teen’s phone the majority of the time parents aren’t even aware there’s an issue until bark send them a notification. Think of it this way, when you get your kid a bike, you also give them a helmet. When you give your kid a phone, make sure they have Bark. Nothing can substitute thoughtful parenting or replace on going conversations about digital safety. But Bark helps parents and kids work together, build trust, and even strengthen relationships. Get started with Bark — an essential
tool for parenting in the digital age. So we’ve covered a lot of ground
today, and I want to close with a few key parenting tips, thanks to
the American Academy of Pediatrics. 1. Know your children’s
friends both online and off 2. Set limits, tech-free zones,
and encourage playtime unstructured and offline play stimulates
creativity. 3. Screen time shouldn’t always be
alone time. Don’t just monitor children online, interact with them! You can understand what they’re doing and be a part of it 4. Be a good role model. If you’re always connected to a device and disconnected from them, they will see that and emulate 5. Not all apps are for kids. Despite what the age rating might
say in the App Store, more than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational,
but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. And, as kids get older just because a social media app is cleared for 13+ doesn’t mean it’s in your child’s best interest to join it. 6. It’s okay for your team to be online. It’s
part of raising a responsible digital native. Keep
the lines of communication open and let them know you’re there
if they have any questions or concerns. 7. Warn children
about the importance of privacy and the dangers of predators
and sexting. Once that content is shared with others, you can never take it back. Also, sex offenders often use social
media, chat rooms, email, and online gaming to contact and
exploit kids. Don’t let it happen to yours. At Bark, we’ve detected
and escalated over 200 online predators to law enforcement. It’s an unfortunate reality of the world we’re living in, but you can protect your children. In conclusion, please remember
kids will be kids. Kids 14:00.900
will make mistakes using technology. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn mistakes into teachable moments. Media and digital devices are an integral part of our world today. The benefit of these devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be great! You can do this and we are
here to help. If you have any questions, please email [email protected] We are your virtual village. Thanks so much
for watching.

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