bark app reviews

Bark Reviews: Is Their Phone Tracking App as Good as Advertised?

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When it come to kids and smartphones, there’s a lot of controversy, concern, and questions. One thing is for sure, though, eventually most kids will have access to a smartphone and/or device, and as a parent your job is to keep their connected activity safe.

Fortunately, there are some apps that can help put you in the driver’s seat, keeping your kids safe, and alert you when they’re could potentially be problems on the horizon.

Bark is one of the best parental control apps we’ve tested, and a top choice for parents, schools, and experts when it comes to keeping kids online activities safe and productive.

In this Bark review, we’ll be digging into all of the key details you need to know, so you can decide if this is the right parental control app for you.

Our team of tech experts have put Bark to the test – did it pass with flying colors? Keep reading to find out….

What is Bark?

an overview of the Bark app

Bark is a parental control app, that allows you to monitor a variety of different apps, smartphone and device activities, as well as your child’s location. It’s easy to install, offers the most coverage of any monitoring tool we’ve reviewed, and can send you automatic alerts via text and email when potential trouble surfaces.

Here’s how it works…

How it Works

Bark works by allowing you an inside look at your children’s online activities, including what they’re doing and who they’re communicating with on their smartphones or devices. To get started, you simply connect the app to their social media channels, their smart phone or device, and you’re ready to start monitoring their activity.

Is Bark Easy to Install on Smartphones and Devices?

Yes, getting started with Bark is super easy. They have app options for Apple, Android, and Amazon devices. They can walk you through the entire process, but if you’ve ever installed an app on a smartphone before, you should be good to go – it’s that easy.

How Do You Connect Bark to their Social Medial Channels?

To get started you will need login credentials for your children’s social media accounts. This allows you to pair the app with the social media platforms so you can monitor their activity. This will let you see what they’re posting, their private messages, and who they’re following.

Which Social Media Accounts Can it Track?

an instagram alert via their app

Bark offers tracking options for pretty much all of the popular social media apps and platforms. Here a just a few that they have listed on their website:

  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram
  • YoutTube
  • Kik
  • FB Messenger
  • Reddit
  • Tinder
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Skype
  • and many more

Additional Tracking Features

In addition to social media monitoring, Bark also has the following features:

  • Text and Email Monitoring: Bark is compatible iOS, Android, and Amazon to keep tabs on texts, pictures, videos, and more.
  • Screen Time Limits: With Bark you can limit screen time.
  • Website Filtering: Decide which websites, and apps your children can and can’t visit.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: Bark works around the clock to monitor activity.
  • Automatic Parental Alerts: Bark automatically alerts you when it detects potential issues. They also offer recommendations from child psychologists on how to talk to your kids about their online behavior.
  • Bark Saves You Time: With their real-time monitoring and automatic alerts, you don’t have be tethered to their dashboard to see what your kids are up to. This gives you peace of mind, and allows you to build trust with your children.

Here’s a quick video overview of how Bark works:

Ready to get started?

Will Your Kids Know Bark is Tracking their Phones or Online Activity?

While it is possible to connect Bark to your child’s phone and social media accounts without them knowing, that isn’t the route that Bark recommends. For starters, to connect Bark to your child’s social media accounts, you will need their login information. But besides that, Bark says you should open a dialogue with your children, letting them know that you will be monitoring their activity, and explain why you’re doing it. If safety is the number one priority, then be sure to discuss that with your kids.

Bark has recommendations for how to approach this subject with your children at their website – read those tips here.

Do You Have to Jailbreak or Root Your Phone to Install Bark?

No, you do not have to jailbreak or root your smartphone or device to install the Bark app. This isn’t the case for some of Bark’s competitors, which gives them an edge in this category. While jailbreaking and rooting a phone can be done pretty easily, it can also void your warranty so you may want to be cautious if you decide to go that route.

Is Bark Legal?

By all accounts phone tracking apps are legal when they are used for their “intended purposes.” While the ethics around using tracking apps can be questioned, that will depend on what you’re comfortable with when it comes to protecting your kids.

That said, we’re not in the business of giving legal advice, so if you have any questions about the legality of Bark or other phone tracking apps, consult a legal expert in your area.

RELATED READING: How Does Bark Compare to mSpy?

Real Customer Testimonials: Positive + Complaints

So what are parents saying about Bark? There are plenty of reviews for you to read online, but here are few we thought were worth sharing here.

Let’s start with the positive feedback

Positive Feedback

This parent credited Bark with providing an inside look at some of the issues her son was dealing with:

I am grateful to have Bark. Our son is adopted and has a lot of behavioral issues. He just came out of residential and has a cell phone for the first time. I knew he was going to have a hard time managing this and it scared me to death on how I could adequately monitor. Bark has been an amazing tool for us as it allows him some privacy but alerts me to all the issues. It has been very helpful in giving us insight into what he is going through and helping us be able to coach him and keep him safe. Thank you for helping us.

For this dad, Bark’s parental tips also proved valuable:

I am able to keep tabs on my teens without completely invading their space. Bark also provides suggestions on how to handle certain situations which is awesome. Oh, and they can also pick up on the new acronyms these kids use these days for profanity.

This mom appreciated the hands-off approach the Bark alerts provide:

I love the peace of mind this app provides. When alerted it gives a good amount of texts that came before and after the inappropriate language which allows for context.

Complaints

While I haven’t found many complaints from actual Bark customers, the common theme with negative reviews or complaints seems to center around privacy issues. While one can certainly argue that Bark could be an invasion of privacy, it’s my opinion that that decision is ultimately up to the parents’ discretion.

Bark recommends to have an honest conversation with your kids about using Bark, and to not use it in secret which I believe would go a long ways to addressing potential privacy issues that may arise. As long as your kids are aware that the app is in use, then it seems to be a pretty level playing field, and one could argue Bark was being used with only your child’s best interest in mind.

Read more reviews at Bark’s website.

Bark Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Piece of Mind when it Comes to What Your Kids are Doing Online
  • Automatically Detects Potential Problems so You Don’t Always Have to be Monitoring
  • Easy to Install
  • Tracks Most Popular Apps
  • Control How Much Screen Time Your Children Get
  • Blacklist Websites and Apps You Don’t Want Your Children to Access
  • Monitor Text Messages, Emails, Photos, and Videos
  • Track GPS Location and Create Times for Location Check ins
  • Get Tips from Experts on How to Address Issues as They Arise
  • Works with Apple, Android, and Amazon Devices
  • No Need to Jailbreak or Root Your Devices
  • Affordable Pricing Options
  • Free Trial Available

Cons

  • Potential privacy issues to consider
  • Could be a trust issue with your kids
  • How much do you want to know about what your kids are up to?

Price: How Much Does Bark Cost?

Bark starts as low as $4.08 per month for their Jr. Plan. The full Bark plan can be purchased for as little as $8.25 per month when you opt for their annual plan. Here’s a look at pricing in more detail:

  • Bark Jr: $5 per Month or $49 per Year
  • Bark (regular plan): $14 per Month or $99 per Year

Plans

When you join Bark you can choose between two plans: Bark Jr. or their regular Bark plan. Here’s a look at the features you get with each plan:

Bark Jr. Plan

  • Manage screen time
  • Manage which websites your kids can visit
  • Access GPS location, and create check-ins

Bark Plan

  • Monitor texts, emails, photos, videos
  • Access more than 30 apps: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and more
  • Get automated alerts when Bark’s algorithms detect any potential problems are troublesome communications
  • Manage screen time
  • Manage which websites your kids can visit
  • Access GPS location, and create check-ins

Review: Final Tips for Deciding if Bark is Right for You

Bark is an amazing app for giving you access to what your kids are doing with their smartphones. While there have been some privacy concerns raised, it’s ultimately a parents decision about what is best for their kids. If you feel that you could benefit from helping keep your kids safe by being alerted of potential trouble or dangers from their smartphone use, then Bark may be just the app you have been looking for.

With Bark, you aren’t stuck constantly monitoring their screen time, either. Their sophisticated algorithm is working 24/7 in the background, is ready to alert you via text or email as soon as it detects any issues.

If you are looking for one of the most trusted and safe solutions for keeping tabs of your kids smartphone usage, then we recommend giving Bark a try. Right now, they’re even offering a chance to try it risk-free for seven days.

Learn more at their website: