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Feb 28, 2024
4 min

Children Aren't Safe Online, But BSPs Can Protect Them Against Cyberbullying

The threat of online dangers such as cyberbullying continues to rise, dramatically impacting the mental wellbeing of children. In fact, 90 percent of kids have access to the internet, and almost half of teens report being online constantly. Further, more than a third of children report having experienced cyberbullying, yet only 10 percent disclose the incident to their parent or guardian.  


Taking Action is Complicated 

While the situation has reached crisis level, it’s unlikely that state or federal governments will step in to fix the issue. This inaction is partly because social media companies hide behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Congress passed the law to protect Americans’ freedom of expression online by protecting the intermediaries that make online communication and social media possible. The purpose is laudable, but the result is less than ideal—especially when it comes to protecting children online. Congress needs to reform the regulation, but we do not have time to wait. 

Communities are bridging the gap as best they can, like the recent lawsuit filed by a Seattle public school. The complaint—filed with the U.S. District Court on Friday, January 6, 2023, against Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), Snap Inc (SNAP.N), and TikTok owner ByteDance —claims these companies purposely designed their products to hook young people to their platforms, thereby creating a mental health crisis. 


BSPs Can Help Communities Keep Kids Safe 

“As someone who has experienced cyberbullying firsthand and has preteen-age children, I immediately knew that the partnership between Calix and Bark was something that I wanted to get behind,” said Russell Kacer, president at YK Communications. “I think that, as broadband service providers, we are responsible for protecting our communities by making efforts to stop cyberbullying.”  

As the gateway to the internet, broadband service providers (BSPs) offer an invaluable service to their community. But that relationship also comes with responsibility. BSPs can and should offer their subscribers tools and resources they can use to ensure their children can safely explore and learn online. “I am not doing this to make money. It’s a social responsibility,” Russell said.


SmartHome™ and Bark Add Peace of Mind for Concerned Parents

Thankfully, BSPs can make a difference. More providers build subscription models based on personas such as parents with children. This allows BSPs to offer plans that include everything parents need to help their kids stay safe online. Calix SmartHome can help with internet parental controls to manage and monitor their children’s online lives, whatever their age and whether they are at home or on the go. ExperienceIQ® and Bark are complementary features you can offer as managed services to help subscribers navigate the complexities of kids’ constant connectivity. 

SmartHome empowers subscribers with an extensive set of home network controls that allows them to easily create and enforce online rules for the users and devices in their home networks. It also provides parents peace of mind by protecting their children from inappropriate or harmful content.  

Bark adds another layer of social media protection for children when they leave their homes. Bark provides BSPs the power to help keep kids safe in their communities. Bark uses AI monitoring technology to detect and alert families about cyberbullying, online predation, self-harm, suicidal ideation, violence, and more across text messages, emails, YouTube, and 30+ other apps and social media platforms. 

Bark and ExperienceIQ are part of the growing family of innovative managed services offered through Calix SmartHome. Calix Unlimited Subscriber already features the customizable CommandIQ® mobile smart home technology app, home network security, and Arlo Secure connected home security camera. Combined, these tools help BSPs meet the challenge of warding off a growing list of digital dangers. It’s just another way Calix continues to help BSPs easily embrace innovation so they can build their brand and provide value to their community.  


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

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