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Q&A: Bark Technologies talks about social media and how it can be dangerous for kids

Two girls look at the Apple iPhone 4S on display at an Apple Store in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Two girls look at the Apple iPhone 4S on display at an Apple Store in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Bark Technologies' Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Parent Officer Titania Jordan spoke with WFSU News to teach parents about internet safety.

Social media may be harming your child’s mental health. That’s one of the reasons behind a bill (HB-1) that passed through the full Florida House. It limits social media access for kids.

On Thursday, Bark Technologies' Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Parent Officer Titania Jordan spoke with WFSU about online protections for children on social media. She said her company tracks instances of bullying on social media.

Listen to the full interview, or read highlights from the transcript below.

CPO Jackson: Over 2023, we processed over 5.6 billion activities on children's devices and accounts—text, email, YouTube, [and] countless social media platforms. The rate at which children experienced issues like bullying, were higher than anyone might think. Whether it's children as young as six and seven, and eight years old either being a bully or being bullied, to older teens still being horrible to each other online. And that translates into mental health issues.
 
WFSU: Social media isn't all bad right?  What are the benefits?

I create a lot of content to educate about the harms, the dangers, and the risks, because I know both parents and children need to be empowered about the pros and cons of tech, because tech is a tool. Social media can be used for good, whether you're a creator, or you're looking to connect with like-minded peers in a positive way and support each other. It's a great educational opportunity to stumble across new ideas and new themes. But it does have downsides. Children should not be given unfettered and unfiltered access to it, particularly at a young age, if their parents have not yet spent time on those same platforms, examining the pros and cons and the pitfalls, and having those candid, informed conversations with their children about what you might encounter [while on social media].

Baseball fans Graham, second from left, and Strain Howard, of Greenwood, Miss., play video games in the hallway of Oxford-University Stadium as they wait out a weather delay before the first game between Georgia Tech and Washington in the NCAA college baseball regional tournament in Oxford, Miss., Friday, May 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
/
AP
Baseball fans Graham, second from left, and Strain Howard, of Greenwood, Miss., play video games in the hallway of Oxford-University Stadium as they wait out a weather delay before the first game between Georgia Tech and Washington in the NCAA college baseball regional tournament in Oxford, Miss., Friday, May 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

In those conversations, obviously, the dialect and language is a little different. You must first understand that technology evolves. What does that conversation look like? What does that sound like?

It's actually a pretty pivotal time, because a lot of their [kids under 13] friends and peers are experiencing and encountering content, themes, and people that even if the children themselves don't have access to it, they're hearing about it right? You know, a lot of children are so scared that if they do come to their parents with something, that parent will immediately punish them, or take away their screen time, take away their form of entertainment, take away their way to connect with other people and consume content. No kid wants that. Kids will just sit on things and not share. So, reiterating that you're a safe place, you'll navigate it together. That doesn't mean be an overly permissive parent. You don't have to agree or condone bad behavior or mistakes, good kids make bad choices. But if you can remain calm and address the toughest issues with your children, much earlier than you might think, and more frequently than you might think, you'll be better suited for this new landscape that we're all living in.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.

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