Yolofsky Law September 2019

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Yolofsky Office PAGE 1 LinkedIn Lessons PAGE 1 Honoring the Canines of 9/11 PAGE 2 The Clean Plate Conundrum PAGE 3 Take a Break! PAGE 3 Basil Berry Sorbet PAGE 3

Do You Know Who Your Kid Is Talking to Online? PAGE 4

Bark Lets Parents See Potential Online Threats to Their Kids How Does the App Work? What Do the Experts Say About It?

Our advanced technological age, with its plethora of online platforms to connect people all over the world, is riddled with obvious benefits as well as unfortunate side effects. Nearly 60% of children ages 8–12 have a smartphone, so cyberbullies and online predators pose a legitimate threat. Parents now wonder what they can do to preserve their child’s safety without completely invading their privacy, andmany have turned to Bark for help. According to Bark’s website, the app was created in collaboration with child psychologists, youth advisors, digital media experts, and law enforcement professionals to deliver a research-backed way of safeguarding families using technology. Once purchased, the app connects to 24 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) tomonitor text messages, emails, and social activity for signs of harmful content and interactions. When Bark’s

algorithms detect potential risks, it alerts parents via email and text and sends them snippets of flagged content paired with recommendations from child psychologists on how to talk to their kids about it. Since its launch in 2016, Bark has scannedmore than a billionmessages from 2 million children and claims to have helped prevent dozens of potential suicides, school shootings, and bomb threats through its detection of problematic language. While the app’s claims are certainly advantageous, many parents wonder if they are infringing on their child’s privacy. According to Jasmina Byrne, a child protection specialist at UNICEF, the privacy concerns get exponentially worse if parents don’t inform their kids about the app. Other experts claimparents should let their child know they are using the tracking app, but, as a result, the childrenmight

feel forced to express themselves differently, which poses a threat to their online freedom.

While there has yet to be 100% consensus among child psychology experts regarding parental smartphone-monitoring software, all seem to agree that if a parent deploys these types of apps, the experience can lead to better family communication if they let their kids

know about it, and Bark might be the safest and least invasive option on the market thus far.

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