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New app uses artificial intelligence to monitor kids' online activity
Source: Leah Dunn




Channel 2 Consumer Adviser Clark Howard knows firsthand how overwhelming it can be keeping track of the apps your children use every day.

“As a parent, I worry about what’s going on with my kids online,” Howard said.

According to a report from the Cyberbullying Research Center, nearly 34 percent of the children surveyed reported experiencing cyberbullying.

As technology advances, so does the way children socialize online.

Titania Jordan said that’s where the app Bark comes in.

Bark uses artificial intelligence to filter messages.

“We analyze social media, texting, emails and devices,” Jordan explained. “It’s crazy the amount of data that’s coming out and going in from children’s devices. And to date, we’ve analyzed over 500 million messages.”

The service costs $9 per month per family or $99 for the year.

Just connect you child’s devices and accounts to Bark, and artificial intelligence takes over. If something is detected, parents will be notified.

“Parents think they can pick up their child’s device and spot-check it. They don’t know about hidden apps, vault apps that hide photo libraries and all kinds of other things that look like a calculator app,” Jordan said. “Since the inception of Bark, we have alerted 26 families that their child has expressed a desire to commit suicide and they had no idea until our alert brought it to their attention.”

Bark offers its monitoring service to schools for free.

Tim Hammill works for the Westmoreland school system in Pennsylvania, where multiple schools are trying Bark.

“I think we're at a point where we need to find every innovative strategy we can find to keep students safe,” Hammill said.

Hammill said that Bark is good at picking up on slang parents often miss.

“A parent might read a message from a student and not even realize that there is something dangerous in there,” Hammill said. “Bark is good at finding what those little underlying tones mean.”

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