Smart and free parental control software will be offered for consumer mobile communication devices
C Spire Wireless partners with Atlanta-based online security firm Bark to roll out free parental controls to protect the children and families of its nearly one million mobile communications consumers in Mississippi from threats in increasing line.
The Mississippi-based company’s wireless services division works with Bark Technologies to deliver its award-winning service to help families manage and protect their children’s digital lives. Customers can also take advantage of a premium paid service that monitors over 30 of the most popular apps for signs of issues like cyberbullying, suicidal thoughts, online predators, threats of violence, and more.
Since launching in 2015, Bark has used its innovative and industry-leading software service to protect more than 5.6 million children across the country. To date, Bark has detected 262,000 serious self-harm situations and reported over 2.1 million serious bullying cases by monitoring social media platforms, apps, text messages and emails. Additionally, the company’s screen time management and web filtering tools help parents set healthy limits on how and when children use their mobile devices. Bark is also working with local and national law enforcement to escalate cases of online predation and alert authorities to credible threats to shoot at schools.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shift to virtual and distance learning have increased awareness of the dangers of online dangers for children. “Parents and families are calling for a comprehensive solution to pornography, online predators and cyberbullying,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire.
“While there are many options for parental controls, C Spire chose Bark because it provides meaningful, real-time protection,” Meena said. “When it comes to protecting our children from online threats, it is imperative that their use of social media platforms be monitored and managed, and Bark is an essential tool for parenting in the digital age. “
Bark Jr., the free tool offered, requires registration and is an entry-level product for postpaid and prepaid wireless consumers, designed for families and young children. Bark Jr. helps families manage screen time, filter websites, and get location records. Meena said that C Spire is also offering the premium service to postpaid customers at a reduced price of $ 10 per month.
Last year, Bark published a case study that analyzed over 2.1 billion texts, emails and over 30 social media apps and platforms. In it, Bark found high percentages of adolescents (children aged 10-12) and adolescents exposed to violence, threats to mental health, online bullying, drugs and alcohol, self-harm, suicidal ideation and sexual content.
The report found that 88.5% of pre-teens and 94.1% of teens have expressed or experienced violence online; 45.5% of pre-teens and 66.3% of teens engaged in conversations about depression; 76.7% of pre-teens and 82% of teens have been bullied online as a bully, victim or witness; 78 percent of pre-teens and 91.1 percent of teens engaged in conversations about drugs and alcohol and 70.9 percent of pre-teens and 87.9 percent of teens encountered nudity and sexual content online.
“We are excited to be working with C Spire to give families the tools they need to keep their children safe while balancing this with children’s need for privacy,” said Brian Bason, CEO of Bark.