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 content monitoring with a ❗️ symbol when reviewing your child's device:
For troubleshooting on-the-go web filtering or in-home web filtering on Android, click here.
(What is the difference between web filtering and content monitoring?)
You can find answers to the following questions in this article. Click on one to jump right to it:
- I'm having issues installing the Bark for Kids app on my child's Android.
- What are some reasons content monitoring may not be working?
- How do I know that monitoring is working?
- How do I address issues with parental controls (Screen Time) on my child's Android device?
- The VPN is blocking text messages from being sent or received
- Error found when installing the Bark for Chrome extension on my child's Android.
- Bark is "screencasting" or "screen recording" — is this normal?
- What does Bark monitor on Android devices?
- I have a limited cellular data plan. Is there a way I can prevent Bark from using cellular data to monitor?
Potential Issues & Solutions
I'm having issues installing the Bark for Kids app on my child's Android.
- If you're having trouble installing the Bark for Kids app on your child's Android that is supervised by Family Link, check out our instructions here.
- If your child's Android is unable to "install apps from unknown sources", see our installation instructions here.
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 later (General)
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 2-3 years.
Locate your child's device and follow these steps:
- Settings > Apps > Bark > Battery > Optimize Battery Usage > tap on Apps not optimized to instead select All. Then, find Bark, and tap on the slider so that it disables battery optimization for the Bark for Kids app.
- There may be another special option in Settings > Apps > Bark > Advanced > Battery > Background restrictions or Background limitations that you also want to disable to prevent malfunctioning of the Bark for Kids app.
- You may also need to check another option in the Settings app > tap Network & internet > Data Saver > Unrestricted 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 > Accessibility > Text-to-speech > change to Google.
For Android 6.0 - 8.1 (General)
These are typically most Android phones and tablets (including Palm devices) made within the last 4 years.
Locate your child's device and follow these steps:
- Settings > Battery > select Optimized Apps > tap on All Apps from the drop-down list > select Bark > choose Don't Optimize.
NOTE: You may see a message that says "May drain your battery more quickly." Bark will use a little more battery this way but, don't worry, it's very little and almost unnoticeable.
- There may be another special option in Settings > 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 > 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 Nokia
- Settings adjustments on OnePlus
- Settings adjustments on Palm
- 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 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.
Are you monitoring a Pinwheel device? If so, verify that the Bark for Kids app is set to be running on all "modes" (e.g. Bedtime, etc) for Pinwheel. This is where you'd verify that on your Pinwheel Caregiver Portal (https://caregiver.pinwheel.com/#/apps)> find and click Bark > checkmark that Bark is allowed for all Modes:
How do I know that monitoring is working?
- Log in to your Bark dashboard.
- Select View Profile under your child.
- Find the Android device and look at the symbols next to Content monitoring:
- ✅ means all is well, 🟡 means there's some additional coverage you could set up, and
❗️ means something is not working / action is required.
- NOTE: If you see an 🟡 or ❗️ next to content monitoring, verify that Bark did not detect a "duplicate" that you may have to merge into this device.
- If based on the symbol next to Content monitoring, 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:
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 parental controls (Screen Time) on my child's Android device?
- We've put together this guide to help.
- Unsure of the difference between content monitoring and parental controls? See here for more information.
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:
- Open the Messages app (this is the default text app on Android).
- Tap More options> Settings > Chat features.
- Turn off the Enable chat features setting.
- Restart your child's Android device.
- 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.
Bark is "screencasting" or "screen recording" — is this normal?
This is normal! Monitored devices on Android version 10 may see a screencast symbol on the top right of their screen:
This is because Google has adjusted their security policies so that the monitoring technology that services like Bark use now display this symbol to indicate that the device has a monitoring app running.
The symbol will not always be present, so don't worry — it will just show whenever it's monitoring social media apps on the list of platforms we monitor for Android.
What does Bark monitor on Android devices?
On Android, Bark can monitor texts, photos, videos, web browsing, and many installed apps, including TikTok and Instagram. If you'd like to see a detailed list of everything Bark can monitor, click here.
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.
Got stuck or just need help?
Bark Support is here for you! Please reach out to us.