Frequently Asked Questions

For Parents

Q: What does SafeStudents Online monitor?

A: SafeStudents Online gives you access to Bark, the award-winning parental monitoring software. Although Bark’s capabilities are broad and cover many social media apps, the membership you have through your school maybe limited. All SafeStudents Online plans include: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+/GMail/Google Chat, and most personal email accounts. Your school may also include Snapchat.  You can also choose to upgrade to Bark’s full functionality by paying a discounted upgrade fee. 

Q: How does SafeStudents Online work?

A: SafeStudents Online gives you access to the Bark app, which monitors your child’s social media activity for negative content such as alcohol, drugs, sex, racism, bullying, depression, suicide, and violence. Bark sends you a real time text or e-mail alert if any such content is found. Your alert includes the content that was found as well as a snippet of the full message thread if you want to check it out further. Bark also analyzes photos and videos for objectionable content and alerts you to anything inappropriate. A summary of your activity and alerts will always be available on your private Bark dashboard. We will also send out a weekly recap to summarize your child’s social networking activity over the week.

Q: How do I start monitoring my child? / How do I start getting alerts?

A: Log In at http://bark.us. Click the Add Child link in your user dropdown menu at the top right. The first step will be to provide your child’s name and age (to help Bark determine what is acceptable content based on age). The second step is to add social media apps you want to monitor by selecting them from your list. Then follow the step by step instructions on the Bark web site.  Once the Bark app has connected to your child’s social media app it can take up to 48 hours to start receiving alerts.

Q: Should I tell my child I am searching their site?

A: Yes. We encourage  you to be open about the fact that you may see some of the information your child posts online. You should let your child know you are NOT spying on them, and you only receive alerts if inappropriate material is posted. The more open communication with your child is, the less likely they will try to be sneaky to avoid your good parenting.

Q: Does using SafeStudents Online violate my child’s privacy?

A: No, SafeStudents Online actually helps you respect their privacy by allowing them the freedom to post where and when they want without having you read every single message. You are only alerted when problematic content is posted, so if the content on their page isn’t inappropriate you won’t have to review it. Remember, the content posted by your child can be copied, passed along, or shared by others and become very publicly available information without your child’s consent. Content posted on social media can seriously impact your children and their reputation. It makes sense to monitor their activity.

Q: How do I change my profile information

A: Log in to your dashboard at http://bark.us and click on Profile in your user dropdoen at the top right corner of the screen.

Q: Will SafeStudents Online work if my child has his/her page set to private?

A: Yes. The Bark app connects to your child’s social network app. When installed, that app gives Bark the permissions it needs to monitor your child’s account.

Q: Who is covered by my SafeStudents Online account?

A: Your SafeStudents Online account allows you to set up and monitor all of your dependent children.

Q: What if I change my email address?

A: If you change your email address you can update it by logging in at http://bark.us and selecting Profile from the menu in the upper right corner. Note: Changing your email will NOT automatically send notifications to the updated email. Visit your notification settings to update the emails that receive potential issue notifications.

Q: I’m Friended by my child so why do I need SafeStudents Online?

A: Being connected to your child’s social network account by being “friended” or “following” them is a great start. But SafeStudents Online is a great tool in addition to that because: 1) it allows you to monitor even content your child might use privacy settings to hide from you; and 2) helps you filter through enormous amounts of content your child might be posting to see just the content that might be problematic. Our goal is to help make it faster and easier for you to know when potential problems occur so you can talk with your child about them.

Q: I’ve got my child’s username and password why do I need SafeStudents Online?

A: Having your child’s username and password is a great start. But who wants to risk their child’s safety because they didn’t have the time to check out every page of the child’s social network accounts, read each post, or check out each photo. That’s where SafeStudents Online comes in. Our goal is to make it easy for you to know when problematic content is being posted. We alert you via email when they friend an adult, and when problematic content is posted on their page by them or about them (by bullies).  Timely alerts allow you to have meaningful discussions with your child about any of that content that concerns you.

Q: I’ve got Internet filtering software. Why do I need SafeStudents Online?

A: Internet filtering software only monitors your child’s activity on the computer it is installed on. Your child has access to their social network accounts from many other locations – a friend’s house, their smart phone, school, etc. SafeStudents Online allows you to monitor their social network activity regardless of where they access from and we alert you whenever problematic content is found.

Q: Who are the alerts sent to?

A: Alerts are configured through your Bark account. Log in to http://bark.us and click on Notifications in the user menu at the top right. Here you can configure email addresses or text message recipients for your Bark alerts. You can also change your notification preferences.

Q: Will SafeStudents Online work if my child has their page set to “private”?

A: Yes, the Bark app is installed on their social network account. Bark is granted permission to monitor the child’s posts, comments, photos, etc. So even if their account is set to “private” we will be able to alert you on inappropriate activity.

Q: What happens if my child deletes the Bark app?

A: If your child deletes the Bark app from within their social media account, you will receive an alert from Bark notifying you with instructions on how to reconnect it. If your child uses the Bark for Kids app to connect Bark to their social media accounts and then deletes the Bark for Kids app from their phone, monitoring of those social media accounts will still continue.


For Kids

Q: What is SafeStudents Online?

A: SafeStudents Online is a parental monitoring tool that helps your parents protect you from potential online dangers, such as cyber bullying, cyber stalking and online predators as well helping to protect your reputation. SafeStudents Online is not about spying or invading your privacy; instead, parents and kids should work together to ensure online safety.

Q: Can my parents see my social media profile?

A: SafeStudents Online allows your parents to know if mean comments are being posted on your profile, or if inappropriate or dangerous messages are sent to or from you on social media. But parents will not see most of what you post (only the bad stuff). Remember, what you post online is not private so you should be careful about what you choose to post.

Q: Why are my parents spying on me?

A: Your parents are doing their best to keep you safe from the potential dangers of social networking. Your parents want to work with you to make sure you have fun online while still following some rules around behavior online. Monitoring your social media is to keep you safe, not to pry into your life. As long as boundaries are respected and your friends (and you) realize some things are not meant to be shared publicly, there will be no issue.

Q: I keep hearing about “privacy settings.” How do I know if my settings are correct?

A: Privacy settings are the ways to control who can see your information. Keep your status and photos private. When in doubt, use the “Preview my profile” button on any privacy settings page to check how your information appears to others. Sit down with your parents to make sure everything is set the way you want it. Facebook and some of the other social networking accounts even let you set privacy rules on every picture, video or comment you post – so make sure you check before you hit enter.

Q: When I post something to my Facebook account, who sees it?

A: This will depend on how you have set your privacy settings. We recommend that only your friends see your posts and pictures. We also recommend that nothing is set to “Public” because that means that everyone on the Internet can see it. Remember this when using other sites like online photo accounts including Flikr.

Q: What kinds of photos are safe to post?

A: Photos you post might seem perfectly innocent to you, but mean something totally different to someone else.  A safe photo to post would be something you would be okay if your parents, teachers, or grandparents saw.  Your account is a reflection of you.  And someday, a college or future employers may also look at your account, so make sure you only post things you would want them to see or know about you. And always remember, once you put a photo them on a social networking site, it can be copied, shared and posted by others – even if you mark it private.

Q: How can I remove something I don’t want posted, like a mean comment or photo?

A: If this is something you posted, you can normally delete it pretty easily from your account by clicking on it and then selecting “delete” or “remove”. If it’s a comment someone posted to your page, click on the comment and an “X” will pop up in the upper right corner. You can delete the comment there.  Deleting photos is just as easy.  If a friend tags you, you can remove the tag. You can even ask your friend to remove the photo entirely if you’re uncomfortable with it.  But remember, once things are posted to the Internet you can never really be certain that they have been deleted. Someone could have already forwarded the message or photo to others or saved it to their computer. Remember to stop, reread and think twice before posting anything online.

Q: I feel bad saying “NO” if people request to follow me or be my friend.

A: Your social network account is your world. Just as you can minimize interacting with people you don’t know or like in real life (or as much as possible, anyway!), you can and should do so on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking accounts. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choice. If someone tries to force the issue and bully you into being their “friend”, it just proves why you don’t want them in your world.

Q: My parents say I can’t be connected to adults online, even my teachers or coaches. Why?

A: Adults post comments that may be appropriate for other adults and may be inappropriate for children and teenagers. Think of it like a PG, PG-13 or R-rated movie. Some things are meant just for adults because they include adult content. Also, adults you might be connected to cannot control what other adults post, therefore, they cannot control what you see.

Q: What should I do if I think someone I don’t know is trying to contact me?

A: The Internet is a place where anyone can contact you, whether you know them or not. So, when you use Facebook or Twitter, play a video game with an internet connection or visit “chat” websites, you might come across people you do not know.  Do not engage in discussion with these people. Also, do not give them your address, phone number or any other personal information.

Q: A classmate is posting mean comments on my profile. What should I do?

A: If someone is posting hurtful messages to you or about you online, you can ignore, unfriend or block that user in order to avoid contact with them. If the person doesn’t stop, you should talk to an adult who you trust – your parents, a family member, a teacher or even the school guidance counselor. Even online, these types of comments can really hurt, and your parents and teachers are here to protect you.

Q: How do I know if I am being cyberbullied? How is it different than teasing?

A: Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated, mean behavior that occurs online or other digital means like texting. The comments, pictures or posts are meant to be hurtful. Cyberbullying can include taunting, name calling, threats or intimidation, insults based on race, gossip or any other behavior that you want to stop because it upsets you. Teasing between friends is not meant to be hurt someone’s feeling, it’s more playful, but can escalate to bullying when one person is no longer having have fun.  For example, if the teasing continues even after the person being teased has repeatedly asked the person to stop, that teasing could now be called cyberbullying.

Q: What should I do if someone is bullying me?

A: Tell your parents or another trusted adult immediately. Don’t keep it to yourself.  Don’t reply to messages from cyberbullies – even though you may really want to!  They want to know that they’ve got you worried and upset. Also, do not delete the messages so you can show your parents the comments you are referring to.

Q: My friend is posting comments about suicide and I am worried about them. What should I do?

A: Tell your parents, teachers or another trusted adult immediately. If you know of someone who is sharing thoughts or feelings of committing suicide don’t assume that the person is just kidding or not being serious about their feelings. It is extremely important that you act quickly and tell someone in authority so you can get them the help they need to deal with the emotions their feeling.