Bark’s Annual Report on Children and Technology

In 2019, Bark analyzed more than 873.8 million messages across texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms. These findings exclude school-based accounts.

Our data can give parents and guardians important insights into what it’s like to grow up on the internet today, allowing them to better protect their children while they use technology.

Cyberbullying

76.2% of tweens and 78.4% of teens experienced cyberbullying as a bully, victim, or witness.

Alerts for cyberbullying range from mean-spirited teasing to hateful threats and provocations.

Additional external cyberbullying statistics:
  • Only 11% of teens talk to parents about incidents of cyberbullying.
  • 50% of young gamers experience cyberbullying while playing online.

Mental Health

55.1% of tweens and 67.1% of teens engaged in conversations about depression.

Alerts for mental health range from mild pessimism to talking about or planning to attempt suicide.

More national data about mental health:
  • 17% of kids ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder at some point during childhood.
  • Major depression increased by 52% among young people between 2005 and 2017.

Violence

86.8% of tweens and 89.6% of teens expressed or experienced violent subject matter/thoughts.

Alerts for violence range from texting a friend about a fight at school to direct threats against a child.

Relevant U.S. school shooting statistics:
  • In 2019, there were 27 gun-related fatalities at schools.
  • There were 111 shooting incidents at schools in 2019 — an average of more than two per week.

Drugs/Alcohol

75.5% of tweens and 84.6% of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol.

Alerts for drugs and alcohol can range from texts about prescriptions to videos of a child consuming illegal substances.

General drug/alcohol facts affecting kids today:
  • Vaping is on the rise among kids, and teens are now more likely to use e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.
  • Nicotine exposure can harm adolescent brain development.

Self-Harm/Suicide

35.1% of tweens and 54.4% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation.

Alerts for potential self-harm and suicide include anything from essays about cutting to an email draft of a suicide note.

National statistics surrounding self-harm/suicide:
  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
  • 1 in 10 high school girls will attempt suicide.

Sexual Content

70.7% of tweens and 84.0% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature.

Alerts for sexual content can be anything from references in anatomy and biology homework to a child receiving nude photos.

Recent information regarding kids and sexual content:
  • 1 in 4 teens is sexting.
  • Sexting laws vary from state to state. Be sure to know the laws in your area.