The Bark Special Projects Team — led by Sloane Ryan — went undercover online recently as the fictitious 11-year-old Bailey, who received numerous texts from predators within minutes.
That number grew exponentially over the nine-month duration of the project, and the harrowing details were published in an article on the online platform Medium.
Bark is a monitoring service that helps protect more than four million kids across the U.S. by alerting parents to potential issues among their kids’ online activities — including text, chat, email, YouTube, and 24+ social media platforms — without infringing on their privacy.
Within days of publishing the Special Project Team’s findings, the article had surpassed 5.5 million views, striking a nerve with parents, educators, and even teens themselves.
“The amount of feedback we’ve received from this article is unprecedented,” says Bark’s Chief Parenting Officer, Titania Jordan.
“We’ve always known our monitoring tool was necessary due to the data we have collected over the years, but the findings from this project have given us even more of a reason to show the world how extensive the issue of child predation is online, and how easy it is for seemingly innocuous posts to attract the wrong people.”
Bark Technologies was founded in 2015 by parent and entrepreneur Brian Bason, who was looking for a way to help keep his kids safe online while preserving their privacy. When he discovered that no such tool existed, he created one himself.
“Our goal at Bark has always been to create a tool that preserves a child’s privacy, builds trust, and jumpstarts necessary dialogue about digital safety. The response to the Medium story has shown us just how important our work is — as well as how much more work there is left to do.”
In addition to Bark’s monitoring product for families, the company offers free content monitoring and web filtering services to all K-12 schools in the U.S. Bark for Schools is the trusted partner of more than 1,700 public and private schools nationwide. With a host of subject matter experts in technology and education, Bark also serves as a hub of information for parents and educators.
As a direct follow-up to the Medium article, Bark has published a list of ways parents and guardians can help support their mission to combat online predators. For more information, visit www.bark.us.
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