Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Which Parental Control App is Best?

March 5, 2024

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Parental control software has become a must-have for families in the digital age. With kids using smartphones, tablets and computers for school and play, monitoring their online activity is more critical than ever.

Covenant Eyes and Bark are two leading options for parental control apps. But how do you decide which one is the right fit for your family?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Covenant Eyes and Bark side-by-side. We’ll look at key factors like features, pricing, compatibility and more.

By the end, you’ll have the information you need to make an informed decision on the best parental control software for your needs.

What is Covenant Eyes?

Covenant Eyes

Covenant Eyes is a Christian-based company founded in 2000. Their parental control app focuses on promoting online accountability and filtering out inappropriate content.

The core feature is internet monitoring and accountability reporting. The app captures screenshots while in use, detects any explicit images, and sends an “accountability report” to your chosen partners.

This leverages accountability between friends, spouses or mentors to motivate positive online behavior. The reports act as a deterrent since your partners will know if you view inappropriate content.

In addition to accountability, Covenant Eyes also offers:

  • Automatic filtering to block adult content
  • SafeSearch enforcement
  • Custom blacklist keyword blocking
  • Blocking file downloads
  • Time limits and bedtime lockout
  • Uninstall protection

Plans cover an unlimited number of devices. Access can be managed across Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android apps.

If you’re also considering Qustodio, see how it compares to Covenant Eyes in this Covenant Eyes vs Qustodio comparison.

What is Bark?

Bark

Bark takes a broader approach to family safety. Their parental control app monitors texts, YouTube, emails, forums and 30+ apps for signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators and more.

Bark uses machine learning algorithms to analyze activity across SMS, email, YouTube and social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Discord and TikTok. It looks for potential issues like:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Depression or self-harm
  • Drug use
  • Adult content
  • Predators

When a potential issue is detected, parents receive email alerts with details on the situation and expert recommendations. This allows you to address problems early before they escalate.

Bark also has web filtering, app blocking, time limits, location tracking and DIY monitoring options. It’s designed to handle all aspects of digital safety for kids.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Feature Comparison

Let’s look at some of the key features offered by Covenant Eyes and Bark:

FeaturesCovenant EyesBark
Internet FilteringYesYes
Time LimitsYesYes
App BlockingNoYes
GeofencingNoYes
Monitoring TextsNoYes
Monitoring EmailNoYes
Social Media MonitoringNoYes, 30+ apps
Webcam AccessNoYes
Uninstall ProtectionYesNo

As you can see, Bark offers more extensive monitoring and management features compared to Covenant Eyes.

Bark is designed to handle all aspects of digital safety – not just filtering. It monitors across SMS, social media, email, YouTube and other apps.

Covenant Eyes is more narrowly focused on accountability for web activity. The main goal is deterring and filtering adult content.

So Bark provides more robust oversight for kids’ digital lives. But Covenant Eyes offers superior protection against adult content with uninstall protection.

Next let’s look at how their detection capabilities compare.

Content Flagging & Alerts

Since Bark monitors more apps and services, they use machine learning to automatically flag potential issues. Their algorithms are trained to detect things like:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Depression or self-harm
  • Drug use
  • Sexual content
  • Violent content
  • Predator grooming

When something is flagged, parents get email alerts with previews, expert recommendations and talking points.

Covenant Eyes takes a simpler approach. Their main focus is on pornography and adult content. When questionable activity is detected, your accountability partners are notified.

The key advantage with Bark is automatically detecting a wider range of potential problems – not just sexual content. Issues like depression, bullying and violence can be addressed early before becoming crises.

But some parents may prefer Covenant Eyes’ tight focus on filtering adult content only. Bark’s expanded monitoring means more alerts and information to parse through.

Customization

Both apps allow you to customize monitoring and filtering to suit your family’s needs.

With Covenant Eyes, you can:

  • Create custom blacklists to always block specific sites or keywords
  • Set time limits for daily or weekly device use
  • Configure times apps can’t be accessed (bedtime lockout)
Covenant Eyes Blocking And Filtering Capabilities

Bark offers robust customization including:

  • Setting app time limits and schedules
  • Creating custom web filtering rules
  • Managing location tracking and geofences
  • Configuring monitoring sensitivity
  • Setting up DIY notifications and alerts
Bark Customization

Bark provides more flexibility, especially for granular time management. But Covenant Eyes still has strong customization for a narrowly focused adult content filter.

Compatibility

In terms of supported platforms, Covenant Eyes and Bark are evenly matched:

  • Covenant Eyes works on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.
  • Bark is also fully compatible with Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.

The key benefit with Covenant Eyes is that one subscription covers unlimited devices. With Bark, you need to pay per device protected.

So Covenant Eyes is better for large families with lots of smartphones, tablets and computers to cover. Bark can get expensive in those cases.

But Bark offers broader compatibility in terms of integrating with apps and services. As mentioned, they monitor SMS, email, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and 30+ other platforms.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Pricing

One of the biggest differences between Covenant Eyes and Bark is their pricing models:

PlanCovenant EyesBark
Monthly Price$17/month$5 – $14/month
Annual Price$184/year$49 – $99/year
# Devices CoveredUp to 10 users and unlimited devicesUnlimited devices

Covenant Eyes charges a flat $17 per month or $184 per year. This covers up to 10 users and unlimited devices on a single account.

Covenant Eyes Plans And Pricing

Bark uses per device pricing. Their basic plan is $5 per month ($49/year) and covers unlimited devices. You can add additional protection for $5 per device monthly.

Bark Pricing

So how does the math work out?

For a single device, Bark is cheaper at $14/month versus $17 for Covenant Eyes.

Both Bark and Covenant Eyes offer annual packages that support unlimited devices, but Bark is more affordable in terms of price.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Ease of Use

Both Covenant Eyes and Bark aim to provide intuitive, user-friendly apps for parents.

Covenant Eyes has a simple interface focused on web filtering and accountability reporting. The dashboard clearly shows recent device activity and flagged issues.

Covenant Eyes Dashboard

Getting started is very straightforward. Download the app, create an account, and add devices. There’s little complexity or learning curve involved.

Bark is slightly more robust but still easy to use. The main dashboard displays flagged issues, trends and monitoring alerts over the past day or week.

Bark Dashboard

You can drill down into detailed activity summaries for each child. Adjusting preferences like time limits or location access is simple.

For monitoring beyond just web activity, Bark does involve a bit more setup. But the interface remains clean and navigation stays simple.

Overall, both options are designed for simplicity and ease of use – even for less tech-savvy parents. Bark ultimately provides more features and controls, but won’t overwhelm you with complexity.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Customer Support

Reliable customer support is crucial when choosing parental monitoring software. Both Covenant Eyes and Bark offer robust support channels:

Covenant Eyes Support

  • Email support
  • Live online chat
  • Phone support
  • Knowledgebase/forum
  • Weekly seminars

Bark Support

  • Email support
  • Phone support
  • Parent resources
  • Knowledgebase
  • Bark blog
  • Active social media help

Response times are speedy for both – often within an hour during business hours. Support reps are friendly, knowledgeable and able to resolve most issues.

The companies also invest heavily in self-service resources. Their knowledgebases and forums help parents troubleshoot problems and learn the platforms.

For timely, knowledgeable assistance, you can’t go wrong with either provider. Both offer top-notch customer service and support.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Pros and Cons

Let’s summarize some of the key pros and cons for Covenant Eyes and Bark:

Covenant Eyes Pros:

  • Specialized focus on blocking adult content
  • Unlimited device support under one subscription
  • Affordable pricing for larger families
  • Strong uninstall protection
  • Ideal for Christian families

Covenant Eyes Cons:

  • Limited to web monitoring
  • Can’t monitor texts, social media, etc
  • More alerts and info to parse through

Bark Pros:

  • Monitors 30+ apps and services
  • Flags range of concerning behaviors beyond just sexual content
  • Cheaper for individuals and small families
  • Robust customization and time management
  • Easy-to-understand alert reports

Bark Cons:

  • No uninstall protection
  • Per-device pricing adds up for larger families
  • Potentially overwhelming alerts to sort through

For another top competitor, read this Covenant Eyes vs Net Nanny breakdown.

Key Factors When Deciding Between Covenant Eyes and Bark

When choosing between these two options, keep these key considerations in mind:

Monitoring Scope

  • Do you only need filtering and accountability for web browsing? Or broader oversight of texts, social posts, YouTube and more?
  • Bark covers more digital territory. But Covenant Eyes offers superior web protection.

Family Size

  • How many kids and devices need coverage?
  • Covenant Eyes is cheaper for bigger families thanks to unlimited device pricing.

Alerts and Notifications

  • Do you want monitoring focused strictly on sexual content? Or flags for a wider range of concerning behaviors?
  • Bark sends more alerts – some parents may find this overwhelming.

Uninstall Protection

  • Is deterring kids from uninstalling monitoring apps a priority?
  • Covenant Eyes has the edge here.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: Which Is Better For Your Family?

Here are some simple guidelines on which families each product is best suited for:

Covenant Eyes Works Best For:

  • Parents focused strictly on filtering adult content
  • Larger families with many devices to cover
  • Christian households who want Biblical principles enforced
  • Anyone seeking accountability for compulsive behaviors

Bark Is Ideal For:

  • Parents who want protection across texts, social media, email and more
  • Smaller families with just a few kids’ devices
  • Secular households looking for comprehensive digital oversight
  • Monitoring kids at higher risk for issues like depression or online predators

Take some time to consider your family’s needs and priorities regarding digital safety. This will point you towards the right solution.

Both Covenant Eyes and Bark offer outstanding protection and parental control. Choose based on the areas you most want to focus on for your kids.

Covenant Eyes vs Bark: FAQ

Still have some questions about how Covenant Eyes and Bark compare? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is Bark or Covenant Eyes better?

There is no definitively “better” choice. It depends on your priorities:

  • Covenant Eyes provides superior protection against adult content.
  • Bark offers more extensive oversight across texts, apps, email, YouTube and social platforms.

Does Bark monitor Snapchat?

Yes. Bark’s social media monitoring covers Snapchat content and activity.

Can Covenant Eyes see incognito browsing?

No. Covenant Eyes cannot monitor incognito or private browser windows. Content in those sessions is not logged.

Does Bark read texts?

Bark does not directly read or view private texts. Their system uses keyword flagging to detect potential issues and alert parents.

Can kids bypass Covenant Eyes monitoring?

It is difficult thanks to uninstall protection and requiring an account password to disable. But tech-savvy kids could potentially circumvent it.

Does Bark record phone calls?

No. Bark does not record or listen to phone calls. They monitor texts and apps only.

Is Bark really free?

Bark offers a free monitoring plan but it is limited. Their paid plans unlock all features and full monitoring capabilities.

Does Covenant Eyes work on Mac?

Yes, Covenant Eyes has apps for MacOS to monitor Safari and Mac device use.

Can Bark see private browsing?

Like most parental control apps, Bark cannot monitor activity in private browsing sessions. These will not show up in logs.

Safeguard Your Family with Covenant Eyes or Bark

In today’s digital world, parental control software is essential for keeping kids safe online. Both Covenant Eyes and Bark offer excellent protection and oversight.

Covenant Eyes shines for its uncompromising stance on filtering adult content. Unlimited device support makes it affordable for larger families.

Bark takes a more comprehensive approach. It monitors texts, apps, email and social platforms for an array of issues beyond just pornography.

Take time to understand your family’s needs and priorities. And leverage the right mix of tools to safeguard your kids in the digital age. With smart protections in place, parents can keep kids safe while still allowing age-appropriate freedom to learn and explore online.

Key Takeaways

  • Covenant Eyes specializes in accountability and aggressive filtering of adult content. Bark provides broader monitoring across texts, apps and social media.
  • Covenant Eyes is cheaper for larger families thanks to unlimited device support. Bark is more affordable for individuals and smaller families.
  • Covenant Eyes sends alerts focused on pornography and sexual content. Bark’s alerts flag a wider range of concerning behaviors.
  • Covenant Eyes has superior uninstall protection. Bark offers more robust time management and customization.
  • Consider your family size, style of parenting, and concerns when choosing the right software. Both options provide excellent oversight and protection.