Skip to main content
Jul 28, 2023
3 min

YK Communications Doubles Down on Its Commitment To Safeguard Its Community with Bark

YK Communications was established in 1948 as a family-owned and family-operated telephone company with just a single exchange. Over four generations, the YK team has expanded to offer a full range of services, including managed Wi-Fi, to residents and businesses in four communities in south Texas. Here, Russell Kacer, president of YK Communications, explains why it’s become his personal mission to keep families with young children safe from the dangers of the internet. 

Tackling Cyberbullying Is a Social and Ethical Responsibility for BSPs

Broadband service providers (BSPs) have a responsibility to their community. It’s one I feel deeply. That responsibility isn’t just about delivering reliable internet to residents of our community; it’s also about making sure our subscribers are safe from the more dangerous side of the internet. It means we have a responsibility to the most vulnerable members of our community: our kids.

Harassment isn’t new, but it took different forms a generation ago. I remember the early internet days of America Online and Netscape, when cyberbullying was in its infancy. I remember how I felt receiving threatening and harassing messages from my peers. I don’t want anyone else to experience that feeling, especially now that the internet is so much more pervasive. As a father to two pre-teen children, I want to monitor and manage my kids’ activities, and I want subscribers in my community to feel that their kids are safe online. The partnership between Bark, the online parental monitoring app, and Calix has made that much easier for our subscribers.

Navigating Today’s Social Media Minefield 

Today, 90 percent of children have access to the internet and almost half of U.S. teenagers report being online constantly. Of these, 59 percent have experienced cyberbullying—yet only one in ten report this behavior to a parent. Cyberbullying can affect a child’s mental health, which makes a parent’s responsibility even greater. Not only is cyberbullying more pervasive than ever before, but the risks are becoming more dangerous. The 2022 Annual Report from Bark noted that nearly 36 percent of tweens and more than 64 percent of teens were involved in a suicide/self-harm situation. Just one example in a sea of alarming statistics that strike fear among parents.

As parents grapple with managing their children’s online activities, local BSPs that pride themselves on family values have an important role to play. With Bark, YK Communications can provide peace of mind for parents with all the tools they need to keep their kids safe online and create a safer, healthier environment for families. This isn’t about money—it’s about protecting our communities so our children can safely explore and learn online without fear of bullying, or worse.

Bark Is Helping Us Be Heroes in Our Community

The Bark app is a sophisticated tool with comprehensive and intelligent monitoring of social media—including 30+ social media apps—that alerts parents to potential concerns. When we launched Bark, we wanted to keep the message simple. We focused on two of the most common concerns for families: cyberbullying and privacy. Tailored marketing messages that communicate the risks and demonstrate how families can use Bark to manage their child’s online presence are already creating a positive buzz in our community.

Online safety differs from other managed services we offer. It’s personal. We therefore added community partnerships into our marketing plan for Bark. Working with schools, police departments, medical professionals, church youth groups, Scout groups, and school aftercare facilities, we’ve engaged our community in a broader conversation around the dangers of social media. Having direct engagement with the towns we serve and spreading the word about the potential risks for children online has helped secure YK Communications’ reputation as a caring and respected leader in our community. 

Since launching Bark, we’ve gone further in building trust. We’ve tapped into a highly emotive issue where scaremongering has left parents feeling helpless, so being able to offer a solution like Bark creates exceptional value. It’s been incredibly empowering for our subscribers and especially rewarding for our team to know we’re making a difference in the wellbeing of families in our community.

Launching Bark Was Straightforward Thanks to Our Partnership With Calix  

Calix made launching Bark a simple, streamlined event. We officially rolled out Bark in February 2023. Leading up to that, our priority was to build a landing page with important information about the Bark content monitoring service—features, pricing, how to activate a subscription, etc. 

Working with Calix Customer Success Services, we leveraged the amazing marketing assets and Electronic Content Builder (ECB) available in the Calix Market Activation program. Our agency thrn  customized the page and we were ready to go. We then started building marketing campaigns to promote the service to our existing subscriber families. Calix Marketing Cloud (Marketing Cloud) puts powerful subscriber experience, demographic, and geographic data sources right at our fingertips, making it easy to identify those households with kids between the ages of 11 and 17. We were able to segment our base to develop a targeted campaign that reaches the right subscribers. Again, we took advantage of the turnkey assets in the ECB to create email marketing and social media campaigns, as well as presentations for our community engagement events, to help us get into market quickly with our new Bark service. 

Looking to the future, Bark presents an exciting opportunity to engage with potential new subscribers outside of our current service area. With Marketing Cloud, we can enrich our subscriber experience insights with demographic, psychographic, and geographic data to easily identify and reach new families receptive to the Bark service. This kind of service reinforces YK’s core family values and offers us an innovative way to engage with more households and grow our business. My hope is that other BSPs follow in our footsteps. Collectively we can play a part in creating a healthier online environment for children and teenagers.

Learn how you can help protect your community’s most vulnerable subscribers. Schedule a Bark consultation today.

 

Related Articles

Latest

Sep 21, 2023 | 2 min
Aug 31, 2023 | 3 min
Aug 30, 2023 | 4 min