Internet Safety Solution Bark™ Adds Cyberbullying and Education Advisors, Creates Youth Board

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Leading Experts Guide Bark in Its Mission to Keep Children Safe from Online Dangers

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Bark’s goal of aligning schools and parents in helping to keep our children safe online addresses a fundamental issue affecting youth today.

Bark™, an online safety solution that proactively alerts parents to potential Internet dangers, is expanding its advisory board with educational and cyberbullying experts supporting the platform in its mission of enabling children to enjoy the power of the Internet while helping to protect them from its pitfalls. In addition, Bark has launched a new Youth Advisory Board with a select group of ambassadors that will guide the executive team in understanding the digital landscape through the eyes of teens as it continually updates the platform to help protect them.

Powered by enterprise-level technology, including data science, machine learning and pattern matching, Bark analyzes social media, text messages and emails contextually to alert parents only when there is a perceived threat. These alerts are combined with research-based recommendations for addressing the issue head on, empowering moms and dads to combat potential online dangers and signs of trouble with their children. To continually enhance these proactive recommendations, its technology and approach, Bark has enlisted an elite team of advisors – a combination of child psychology, Internet safety and education experts, including four new members:

  • Otha Thornton, immediate past president, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The first African-American male president of National PTA, Thornton is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Carrie Goldman, M.B.A., author of “Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.” Along with actress Chase Masterson, Goldman also created the Pop Culture Hero Coalition to bring together top bullying prevention groups and celebrities to teach students how to act as heroes against bullying in their everyday lives.
  • Amy Barnes, Chicago police officer. Barnes began her career as an educator and then decided to pursue a career as a Chicago police officer. She has spent 13 years with the Chicago Police Department, where she currently works in a gang unit with a focus on social media and children.
  • David Luxton, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Luxton's research and writing is focused in the use of technology in mental health care. Much of his work has focused on telemental health with an emphasis on clinical best practices. He has also conducted extensive research in the area of suicide risk and prevention.

“Internet safety is a prevalent topic among PTA members nationwide. What can parents be doing to protect their children? What is the role of schools? How can we all better work together?,” said Thornton. “That’s why I’m excited to join Bark’s team of advisors. Bark’s goal of aligning schools and parents in helping to keep our children safe online addresses a fundamental issue affecting youth today.”

Thornton, Goldman, Barnes and Luxton join Bark’s powerhouse team of existing advisors, including Yalda T. Uhls, M.B.A., Ph.D., author of “Media Moms & Digital Dads;” Johnathan Roberts, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Armstrong State University; Ben Halpert, vice president of risk & corporate security at Ionic Security and founder of Savvy Cyber Kids; Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps, and Karen Fowler, Emmy-winning children’s programming producer.

In addition to its Board of Advisors, Bark recently created a Youth Advisory Board to guide the Internet safety solution’s strategic growth by providing insights on their online experience in today’s digital world. Meeting monthly, the eight members of the Youth Advisory Board will discuss new and emerging digital platforms, Internet safety protocols in schools, digital citizenship and more. This board will help advance Bark’s product expansion, ensuring that it continues to be a solution that both parents and their children trust.

“Being a teenager in today's world, I'm always using the Internet. Whether for school or social networking, my phone is always on me, and knowing I'm safe is all that matters,” said Ava Hammill, 16-year-old Pennsylvania high school student and founding member of Bark’s Youth Advisory Board. “It's important to have youth on a board like this. People often fail to realize that we do truly care about Internet safety, so I’m glad to join Bark to give a voice to these issues.”

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About Bark™
Bark is an Internet safety solution endorsed by parents and children alike for its ability to unobtrusively identify potential threats and provide proactive recommendations. Unlike traditional monitoring tools that rely on parents combing through every activity or that use keyword searches which ignore context and history, Bark utilizes data science, machine learning and pattern matching for smarter alerts. These alerts are combined with research-based, actionable advice for addressing the issue head on, putting more power in the hands of parents to address potential digital dangers.

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