Episode 61 of the Get Connected podcast welcomes Titania Jordan, CMO and chief parent officer at Bark, to discuss the challenges of keeping children safe online. Bark is an Internet safety solution with a free service for schools that monitors school-issued Google Suite and Microsoft Office 365 accounts for suicidal ideation, cyberbullying, violence, sexual predators, drugs, and more. Bark also offers a paid service for parents to monitor children's private devices and social media accounts.
Topics discussed in the podcast include:
- The difference between the Bark for Schools and Bark for Parents offerings
- The dangers that exist for students online and the volume of issues getting flagged by Bark
- The escalation procedures when issues of varying severity are detected
- How Bark's artificial intelligence can differentiate between colloquialisms/Fortnight discussions and actual threats
- Privacy and liability questions that schools and parents may have
- What happens to the data that Bark monitors
- Trending slang terms that Bark is detecting (check out the Bark blog post Teen Text Speak Codes Every Parent Should Know for more)
- A preview of Bark's upcoming product roadmap
For educators who are also parents, Bark is offering a promo code for the first month free; simply sign up here and use the promo code BLACKBAUDK12.
After publishing this episode, a few additional questions about Bark for Schools has come up, the answers to which are below:
- Q: Does Bark have an integration with Blackbaud?
A: No. Bark does fully integrate with any school using GSuite or Office365.
- Q: How does Bark integrate with Google and/or Microsoft?
A: Bark monitors the entire domain or organizational unit for a school/district. The same way you can use your Google or Microsoft account to log into various apps, Bark works to monitor all of your students’ communications on school-issued accounts, covering email, chat, and what they type in Google Drive/Docs/Sheets or Microsoft OneNote notebooks, etc.
It only takes a few minutes to set up Bark:
— Google set up instructions: https://help.bark.us/bark-for-schools/how-to-setup-bark-for-schools-for-g-suite
— Office 365 set up instructions: https://help.bark.us/bark-for-schools/how-to-setup-bark-for-schools-for-office365
- Q: Does Bark also check faculty email/drives?
A: No. Bark only monitors communications for students under the age of 18.
- Q: Does Bark get parent contact information?
A: For the Family Alerts Dashboard, school administrators upload a list of parent contacts so that parents receive severe alerts after hours. Because Bark detects so many issues after school hours, during weekends, and on breaks, they now require schools signing up to include contact information for a parent/guardian to reach out to in the event of a severe situation. Learn more about Family Alerts here.
- Q: Does Bark get faculty contact information?
A: No, Bark is for monitoring student accounts. The only time faculty contact information is provided to Bark is if the school’s administration is sending alerts about an individual student in the teacher’s classroom. For the most part, the faculty contact information received is for school administrators (principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, etc.).
If you have more questions about Bark, register for Blackbaud K–12's 2019 User Conference for the opportunity to ask them in person. You may also be interested in the article Titania wrote for the K–12 blog, 5 Ways Schools Can Keep Students Safe Online.
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