In today’s world, kids and teens communicate as much if not more via text messages than they do in person. Because of this, parents and family members aren’t as aware of what’s being communicated. They don’t sit and talk on the phone for hours where you can hear them. They sit and text for hours. Without the normal monitoring that parents and family members did by listening in and coaching and discussing conversations, kids are missing out on the opportunities for learning appropriate social behavior and the norms and what’s OK to text and not text.
Kids are learning and moving faster with technology that at any time in our history. My junior high kids do their homework with textbooks on the computer. Their homework assignments are posted on a Google Calendar. This is their world. Yet, who is teaching them in this world? If you aren’t, rest assured, no one else is.
This is a conversation that needs to be happening in families. It needs to be happening with the kids. Kids need all the help they can get. Navigating people and the fast-paced world doesn’t always leave time for the simple conversations around what a friend said in a text message that they didn’t understand.
Over the past years, I’ve installed and evaluated many of the child monitoring tools. Bark is one that does its job perfectly and it has allowed me to have several teaching moments with my kids that I would have normally missed.
What I Love About Bark
- It alerts you when something has been texted to your child or your child has texted that would be a cause for concern, like being bullied or talking about sex or violence, etc.
- It does all the hard work with figuring out what might be a problem and what isn’t and then it gives you the actual content of the conversation
- It also monitors their social media accounts like Snapchat or Instagram and keeps a friendly eye on what they are doing. (you have to connect the accounts)
- It alerts me if they find other accounts on social media platforms that I haven’t connected. ie the child has set up an account on their own and didn’t share with you.
- It provides an opportunity for conversion with the child around what they might do differently or if they are OK with the conversations that are taking place.
The only thing I don’t love is that I can’t just go browse their messages. Bark’s philosophy is that the child still deserves their privacy. I agree with this to an extent, but I also think that parents MUST be hands-on in today’s world. Unfortunately, there are many influences that aren’t always good in the world of technology. Kids are easily influenced, especially during those pre-teen and teen years when they are trying to figure out who they are.
Start a New Conversation
It’s time that we all step in and be the village that our kids need in their growth and learning. Start a conversation with your kids. If you’re the grandparent, start a conversation with your kids and grandkids about the importance of having a conversation around these topics. It’s not easy, yet everyone needs to help! Be a part of the solution.
Details of what Bark monitors are found here: What Bark Monitors.