Troubleshooting Android Device Monitoring

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Paola
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This article discusses troubleshooting solutions for issues encountered with monitoring the content of Android devices via the Bark for Kids app. For example, you may have seen a ❗️ symbol when reviewing your child's device under Monitoring > Devices & Apps:

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For troubleshooting mobile screen time & filtering or in-home web filtering on Android, click here
(What is the difference between screen time, filtering, and monitoring?)

Overview

You can find answers to the following questions in this article. Click on one to jump right to it:

  1. I'm having issues installing the Bark for Kids app on my child's Android.
  2. What are some reasons content monitoring may not be working?
  3. How do I know that monitoring is working?
  4. How do I address issues with parental controls (Screen Time) on my child's Android device?
  5. The VPN is blocking text messages from being sent or received
  6. Error found when installing the Bark for Chrome extension on my child's Android.
  7. Bark is "screencasting" or "screen recording" — is this normal?
  8. What does Bark monitor on Android devices?
  9. I have a limited cellular data plan. Is there a way I can prevent Bark from using cellular data to monitor?
  10. Why are the push notifications for requested check-ins not appearing on my child's device?
  11. Why is the location not working, or why is it showing the wrong address?

Potential Issues & Solutions

I'm having issues installing the Bark for Kids app on my child's Android.

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What are some reasons content monitoring may not be working?

Make sure that the Bark for Kids app is up to date by following these steps.

Also, check that Bark is enabled in the device's Accessibility settings by following these steps.

In addition, it's possible that the Bark for Kids app may have been impacted by battery optimization settings on your child's Android device. Battery optimization settings exist on every device but where they are located on the device can vary based on the phone model and Android version. 

To find out what Android version your child's device is using, navigate to Settings > About Phone > Android version.

For Android 9.0 and newer

Watch this video to learn how to adjust Battery Optimization on Android 9+. If you'd like some additional tips — or if the video doesn't play — follow the step-by-step instructions written below.

These are typically most Android phones and tablets made within the last 1-4 years.
Locate your child's device and follow these steps:  

Disable Battery Optimization for Bark Kids

  • Android 12: 
    On your child's phone or tablet, open the Settings app ⚙ Apps & Notifications > Bark (enter your Bark password if prompted) > Battery > select Unrestricted.
  • Android 9-11:
    On your child's phone or tablet, open the Settings app ⚙ Apps & Notifications > Bark (enter your Bark password if prompted) > Advanced > Battery > Optimize Battery Usage or Battery Optimization > tap on All Apps from the drop-down list > scroll down and select Bark > choose Don’t Optimize.
  • There may be another special option in Settings app ⚙ > Apps & Notifications > Bark (enter your Bark password if prompted) > Advanced > Battery > Background restrictions or Background limitations that you also want to disable to ensure Bark will run in the background.

Disable Mobile Data Optimization for Bark Kids

  • On your child's phone or tablet, open the Settings app ⚙ > Apps & Notifications > Bark (enter your Bark password if prompted) > Mobile Data & Wi-Fi > enable Unrestricted data usage and Background data.
  • You may also need to check another option in the Settings app ⚙ > tap Network & InternetData SaverUnrestricted data > turn on Bark for Kids app so that it can still run in the background while Data Saver is on.
  • Lastly, check if the default text-to-speech engine is set to Google in Settings app ⚙ > Accessibility > Text-to-speech > change to Google.

For Android 6.0 - 8.1

These are typically most Android phones and tablets made within the last 5-8 years.

Locate your child's device and follow these steps:  

  • Settings app ⚙ > Battery > select Optimized Apps > tap on All Apps from the drop-down list > select Bark > choose Don't Optimize.
  • There may be another special option in Settings app ⚙ > Apps > Bark > Advanced > Battery > Background limitations that you also want to disable to prevent malfunctioning of the Bark for Kids app.
  • You may also check if the default text-to-speech engine is set to Google in Settings app ⚙ > Apps > Default Applications > Phone Assistance App > change to Google. The alternate location in may be Settings > Accessibility > Text-to-speech > change to Google.

For Specific Manufacturers

Should the above not work, please see instructions for specific devices below:

  • Settings adjustments on Huawei
  • Settings adjustments on OnePlus
  • Settings adjustments on Palm
  • Settings adjustments on Pinwheel
  • Settings adjustments on Samsung
  • Settings adjustments on Sony

Other related apps

Have a security application installed? We have found that there are some security apps that may affect Bark's monitoring frequency, so try uninstalling, removing, or disabling those apps to see if they help address your Android monitoring issues.

Have a Task Manager app installed? It is possible that you might have a task manager that automatically closes applications periodically. If you do, please add Bark to the whitelist (ie. apps that are excluded from being automatically closed) of the application. If the app does not have a whitelist, consider uninstalling it. 

How do I know that monitoring is working?

  • Log in to your Bark dashboard.
  • Select Monitoring > Devices & Apps under your child.
  • Find the Android device and look at the symbols:

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✅ means all is well.
❗️ means something is not working / action is required. Click on it to fix it!

If based on the symbol, you find that you'd like to check that the app is working properly on your child's Android, open the Bark for Kids app on your child's device, and tap the settings icon:

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Descriptions of settings:

  • Upload over Wi-Fi only: If your child's Android device needs to conserve cellular data use, then you may consider turning on the setting of "Upload over Wi-Fi only." Otherwise, leave disabled.
  • Test monitoring: If you want to make sure the Android device monitoring is set up properly, tap on "Test monitoring." A message will then pop up letting you know if it looks good!
  • Check for updates: Tap on this option to see if there's an update to the Bark for Kids app. Updates will ensure your child's device monitoring is not interrupted.

 NOTE: Do NOT logout of the Bark for Kids app, or monitoring will be impacted.

How do I address issues with screen time & filtering on my child's Android device?

On-the-go controls and in-home controls, also known as Screen Time and Web Filtering, allow you to block or allow apps and sites according to the schedule you've set for the day, bedtime, school time, and free time.

If you're running into an issue with this feature, we've put together this guide to help.

(What is the difference between screen time and content monitoring?)

The VPN is blocking text messages from being sent or received

The Bark for Kids app on your child's Android device adds a VPN that allows you to enforce your Screen Time & Web Filtering rules on your child's device. Some newer Android devices have a new form of text messaging called "Chat Features" or "Rich Communication Services." These chat features in texts show typing indicators, read receipts, etc. These extra features layered on top of text messages are what may be causing the problem with your child's device being unable to send texts when the Bark VPN is running. Luckily, it's an easy fix!

You can turn off chat features by following these steps:

  1. Open the Messages app (this is the default text app on Android).
  2. Tap More optionsSettings > Chat features.
  3. Turn off the Enable chat features setting. 
  4. Restart your child's Android device.
  5. Open the Bark for Kids app and tap on the Settings icon  > Test Monitoring.

Now, your child will have the best of both worlds -- they'll be able to send and receive text messages, picture messages, etc. while also being monitored and getting your Screen Time and Web Filtering rules applied! The only thing they'd be missing out on are the typing indicators and other chat features.

Error found when installing the Bark for Chrome extension on my child's Android.

When installed on your child's Android, the Bark for Kids app automatically monitors the Chrome, Firefox, and Samsung web browsers (including incognito browsing mode). Thus, you do NOT need to install the Chrome Extension on your child's Android — the Chrome Extension is only for monitoring Chrome on a Windows, Mac, or Chromebook computer.

What does Bark monitor on Android devices?

On Android, Bark can monitor texts, photos, videos, web browsing, and many installed apps, including TikTok and Snapchat. If you'd like to see a detailed list of everything Bark can monitor, check out this guide: What Bark Monitors on Different Platforms

I have a limited cellular data plan. Is there a way I can prevent Bark from using cellular data to monitor?

If your child's device is an Android, and your family is on a limited cellular data plan, you can elect to turn on a setting that prevents Bark Kids from using any cellular data.

Keep in mind that this means it will be longer before you receive alerts on your child's Android activities, since the device will wait until it's connected to Wi-Fi to update Bark's servers on your child's activities.

To enable this setting, open the Bark Kids app on your child's Android > tap on the bottom right gear icon > toggle on Upload over Wi-Fi Only.

Why are the push notifications for requested check-ins not appearing on my child's device?

If you or your children are not receiving a particular push notification, then there are a few potential culprits. Learn more here: Not Receiving Push Notifications

Why is the location not working, or why is it showing the wrong address?

Bark's location features rely on the accuracy of the device's GPS chip. There are a number of variables that can temporarily throw off the GPS on your child's device, leading to a check-in or location alert that seems to be slightly off from the child's true location.

For detailed instructions on calibrating the location services of your child's device, check out this guide: Calibrate Location on Android

 

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.