StandoutStartups: Bark Aims to Make the Net Safer for Kids

Parenting in an era of social networking isn’t easy. It has been well reported that young people can find a lot of trouble online, with rampant bullying, abuse and worse.

But it can be hard for parents, who already have much to deal with outside of the online world, to keep a consistent eye on what their kids are experiencing in the online world.

That’s where the Bark, the app, comes in.

Bark, created in 2015 , was developed to keep kids safe online without compromising their privacy. It was created by entrepreneur and parent Brian Banson, who also serves as CEO of the Atlanta, Georgia based startup. Bark utilizes data science, machine learning and pattern matching to provide a more accurate monitoring and alerts than traditional monitoring tools that force parents to mine all of their kid’s online activities or use arcane keyword searches that can be time consuming and inaccurate.

Although Bark allows parents to keep track of what their kids do online, it claims the app is not meant to encourage helicopter parenting.

“Our ethos as a company is to help parents raise responsible digital natives, yet alert them when serious issues like cyber-bullying, sexting, thoughts of suicide and depression, potential drug use, and online grooming arise,” said Bark’s Chief Parent Officer, Titania Jordan, in an interview with Forbes.

Bark recently extended its services to schools to help them get a fix on growing cyber-bulling issues in educational facilities. So far, 1,050 schools are currently using Bark.

Bark, which is sometimes confused with pet services startup, Bark!, has detected more than 1.2 million incidences of cyber-bullying, 142,849 communications mentioning self harm, nearly 100 sexual predators tracked, and more than 50 incidents of school violence, all in 2018.  Bark, according to Huffington Post, has scanned more than a billion messages from two million kids since it launched.

Bark is now getting attention of investors wanting to see this startup succeed and grow. On August 2018. Bark raised $9 million in Series A funding, led by Signal Peak Ventures, and joined by Two Sigma Ventures, Atlanta Seed Company, Hallet Captial, Symmetrical Ventures and Fuel Capital.

But the investor approval isn’t the only vote of confidence its getting.

“Feedback from parents and schools has been amazing,” said Jordan in the interview. “Parents have been craving a solution that would allow them to monitor, detect, and alert them to problematic issues without having to be helicopter parents or read every single message.”

 

 

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