Managing Rules for the Bark Phone™

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Paola
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Background

The Bark Phone™️ delivers even more tools to the existing Bark Premium experience that has made us the leading parental controls brand on the market. Some of these new tools available on the Bark Phone include time limits for app usage, app approval, contact approval, and more.

How To Manage Rules

You can access your tools for managing the Bark Phone by selecting the Bark Phone tile under the child(ren) that have a Bark Phone activated. 

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Clicking on the Bark Phone tile will pop open a menu with options to manage the following settings:

sms.svg Text

play_store.svg App Store

contacts.svg Contacts

camera.svg Camera

clock icon dashboard.png Time Limits

alarm icon dashboard.png Alarms

browser.svg Browser

apps.svg Sites & Apps

pause.svg Pause

settings.svg Settings 

Clicking on the Screen Time tile will open up some additional settings that allow you to create routines for when some of the above settings can take effect.

wifi_mono.svg Current Screen Time & Filtering Rules

switch_mono.svg Routines

Below we break down each section.

Current Camera Rules

This tells you what camera rules are currently being applied. When you block the camera, it blocks it within any other app that relies on the system's camera, like Instagram. This also blocks the ability to take screenshots.

In addition, the Pasted_Image_1_19_23__12_07_PM.png Camera app will disappear from your child's home screen and App Drawer whenever it is blocked in Bark.

If you've set up additional routines, this rule may change according to the schedule you've created for the day or week. 

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Current Contact Rules

Review, approve, and/or block contacts here. Text messages or calls from blocked contacts will not be received by your child on their Bark Phone.

If you have Contact Approval enabled, and an unapproved contact texts your child, your child will not see the message but will be asked whether they want to submit that contact for approval.

Similarly, if an unapproved contact calls your child, your child will not hear or see the call but will be asked whether they want to submit that contact for approval. The experience of the person on the other end is that their call would go straight to voicemail.

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Current Texting Rules

This tells you what texting rules are currently being applied. When you block texts, the orange messages app.png Messages app gets disabled / greyed out on their home screen and App Drawer. They will not be able to read texts sent during the time that texting was blocked.

If texting is allowed, texts they send or receive cannot be deleted on the Messages app. If they download a third-party texting app, they may be able to delete texts -- consider enabling App Approval to prevent that from happening!

If you've set up additional routines, this rule may change according to the schedule you've created for the day or week.

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Time Limits

You asked, we answered! Time limits are a possibility with the Bark Phone. Here, you can say "I want my child to use Youtube for a maximum of 1 hour per day" and boom, it's done.

Limits apply during all routines. The day resets at 3:30am in your time zone. Make sure to check your time zone in Bark here.

Lastly, you can set time limits for all apps within a particular category. For example, you could set a time limit of 2 hours for the Gaming category, meaning any app within that category (like Minecraft or Roblox) would contribute towards the time limit.

If you prefer to just stick with time limits for specific apps, that works too!

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Pausing the Bark Phone

When you elect to pause the Bark Phone, consider it a temporary lockdown that only allows the child the 📞 Dialer app for emergencies. Every other app is greyed out and non-essential internet use is blocked.

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Settings App

We suggest disabling the child from having unsupervised access to the Settings app since it opens up the door for kids to mess around and attempt to turn things off that will cause headaches down the line.

Just enable it when they need to make some changes while you're around, then disable it again once they're done!

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Current Web Browsing Rules

This tells you what web browsing rules are currently being applied. When you block the web browser, the browser.svg Chrome app disappears from the phone, and any other app (that would've opened the Chrome browser automatically) will find that it can no longer open Chrome to visit a website.

If you've set up additional routines, this rule may change according to the schedule you've created for the day or week.

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Current Rules for Sites & Apps

Here you can manage access to apps currently installed on the Bark Phone™. If you block an app in this section, it suspends the app entirely on the Bark Phone (the app looks greyed out and inaccessible). If you block an entire category with this section, it will block apps under that category by default.

💡 Pro tip: Use the search bar at the top to quickly find an app to allow or block.

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If you've set up additional routines, this rule may change according to the schedule you've created for the day or week.

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App Store Rules

  • Allow app store: Controls whether your child has the Google Play App Store available on their Bark Phone. When it's disabled, the Play Store app disappears from the child's home screen and App Drawer.
  • Require app approval: When enabled, it suspends any new app your child installs on their Bark phone until you approve it in your Bark dashboard (ie. the app looks greyed out and inaccessible). If you decide to block an app they submitted for approval, it then uninstalls the app from the child's device.
  • Allow app removal: When enabled, it allows your child to delete apps from their Bark Phone.

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Current Screen Time & Filtering Rules

In this section, you can see a summary of the child's current ruleset for screen time & web filtering

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Click on ⚙ Settings to customize the current rules further. You'll see the following options:

Routines

Routines allow you to schedule and customize the rules for your child throughout the week. For example, you can set a different Bedtime for Mondays and Saturdays, and also set different rules for Bedtime than for Free Time. 

Prefer to stick to one solid ruleset to keep it simple? Just focus on the Default Rules routine!

Otherwise, you're able to use these routines / rulesets to set the boundaries that work best for your child. Below are the ways we thought through these different options, but you're welcome to use them in whatever way works best for your family.

  • 🟦 Bedtime: Limit device usage when it’s time for lights out. Customize what kids can access during Bedtime. 
  • 🟩 School time: Limit what can be accessed during the school day. Customize the apps/sites they need for school, like Zoom. 
  • 🟨 Free time: Dedicated time to use devices just for fun. Example use cases:
    a) “I only want my child to have access to social media for an hour a day.”
    b) “I only want my children to access social media after they're done with their homework.”
  • ⬜️ Any other time (Default rules): The default ruleset when another ruleset isn’t currently applied or scheduled. 

You can schedule routines by clicking on 📅 Schedule > tap on ➕ > schedule the new routine. Check out the Weekly vs. Daily view.

To customize the rules applied for each routine, you'll click the Rules button under the one you're interested in:

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Apps & Websites

This has a couple of other sections: Filters and Mobile App Rules

Filters

You can manage network access to thousands (if not millions) of sites here. When an app is blocked in this section, it will look like it's not loading, not refreshing, or not sending messages. The app may still be present and able to be opened on the phone, but it will not be able to connect to the internet.

This means that games that have an offline mode would still be able to be played in offline mode.

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If you'd like to block a particular app from being accessible at all, not just its internet access, use the 🔍 search bar to search its name, then block it under the rule for Apps on Child's Bark Managed Devices. This suspends the app entirely on the Bark Phone™ (the app looks greyed out and inaccessible).

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Alternatively, you can scroll further down to the Mobile apps section.

Mobile Apps

Here you can manage access to the apps currently installed on the Bark Phone™. If you block an app in this section, it suspends the app entirely on the Bark Phone (the app looks greyed out and inaccessible).

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Device Settings

We made the Bark Phone so that we could have more control over a device that could grow with the child and be customizable to every family's digital needs.

Here, you can allow or block texting, the camera (including any app that uses the camera!), and web browsing for this particular routine / ruleset.

Scrolling further down or selecting the Blue Settings at the top, you'll find some other settings that apply to the device regardless of the schedule.

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Other Settings

This has a couple of other sections: Apps, Contacts, Alarms, and Settings App Rules.

Alarms

Alarms allow you to set a specific time(s) you would like an alarm to go off on your child's Bark Phone. You can schedule alarms to be one-time only or recurring. The alarms go off even if the phone has silenced their notifications, too!

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Exceptions

In the event a particular website is being unexpectedly blocked (or unexpectedly allowed), you may wish to add an exception for it in your rules. For more information on this, check out the guides below:

How to Allow an App or Site

How to Block an App or Site

Copy Rules

Our goal is to make parenting in a tech world a little bit easier by providing you tools that grow with your children. Our subscription plans include the whole family, and there are rules you may wish to apply to more than one child. You can easily copy the rules from one child to another by using this option!

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Reviewing Alerts

If Bark detects instances of bullying, sexual content, depression, self-harm, or other worrisome content in your child's messaging or media on their device, we will send you a notification.

Learn more about what makes Bark's content monitoring unique.

Need help or have additional questions?

We are happy to assist! Reach out to Bark Support, and we'll help every step of the way.