How to Monitor an Android Device

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Alexis
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This article is for compatible Android devices on the Bark Premium plan. For monitoring Android devices on the Bark Jr plan, click here. Monitoring Amazon Fire tablets and Chromebooks require the Bark Premium plan and have different setup steps.

Get Started

Watch this video to learn how to monitor an Android device. If you'd like some additional tips — or if the video doesn't play — follow the step-by-step instructions written below.

STEP 1: Grab hold of your child's Android device. 

NOTE: If your child's device is a Pinwheel, read these instructions instead.

STEP 2: Open the web browser app (commonly the Chrome app), and type in bark.us/android.

STEP 3: Tap on Download Bark Kids app on that page.

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NOTE: If you see a prompt that asks, "Allow Chrome to access photos, media, and files on your device?," tap allow. This is Chrome's fancy way of asking if it's okay to save the file to the device.

STEP 4: Wait for the download to complete, and then tap Open, as seen below:

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NOTE: If you don't see an option to open the bark-for-kids.apk file after the download completes, you can find it in the browser app's Downloads or in the device's Files app. Alternatively, slide your finger down from the top of the screen and tap on the downloaded file that way.

STEP 5: A security prompt will likely appear, warning you about installing apps from "unknown sources." Bark is not an unknown source, so don't worry.
(What are apps from unknown sources?)

  • Tap Settings on the prompt about Unknown Sources:

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  • Enable downloads from Unknown Sources (or something similar that contains "Unknown Sources" or "Unknown Apps"), as indicated below:
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A Quick Note About Family Link:

  • Are you using Family Link presently? If so, click here for additional instructions on enabling "Apps from Unknown Sources" from your parent Family Link app. Then, come back to this guide.
  • Don't have Family Link? Click here to learn more about this free tool.

STEP 6: Install the Bark for Kids app.

  • After enabling "Apps from Unknown Sources" on your child's device (and if applicable, on your Family Link parent app), select the back navigation button to continue with the installation of the Bark for Kids app.
  • Now you should be able to tap Install.

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NOTE: If you cannot find the bark-for-kids.apk file after adjusting the Unknown Sources setting, you can find the file in the browser app's Downloads or in the device's Files app. You can also try downloading it again.

STEP 7: Open the Bark for Kids app.

Look for the Bark for Kids app on the device's home screen or App Drawer with this icon:

NOTE: If it's a different icon, it may be the wrong app!

STEP 8: Set the child's device aside. On your parent device, navigate to your Bark Account Settings. Scroll down and tap on Get a device code.

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STEP 9: Grab the child's device, enter in the device code, and tap Get Started.

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NOTE: If you are getting an error logging in, check that your child's device is connected to the internet and try again. If still no luck, go to your parent/guardian device to reset your Bark password.

STEP 10: Follow the on-screen instructions to allow permissions.

You will see several screens that will ask for permission to monitor your child's device.

  • Tap While using the app on the location prompt.

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  • Tap Allow on the following few prompts.
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  • If your child's device is on Android version 10 or above, you will be prompted to turn off Private DNS in Settings. When prompted, tap Open Settings:
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  • Then, tap Advanced > tap Private DNS > Turn Off:
  • Tap the Home button to return to the Home screen and apps. 
  • Open the Bark for Kids app. You will see this prompt about notifications. It's optional, so tap whatever you'd like. You can always change this particular setting later.

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  • Then, tap OK to enable the VPN.
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  • You will know that the screen time & filtering is set up when you see a persistent key icon on the top right of the child's device:
  • Depending on your device, this following prompt can look two different ways. If applicable, tap Do not show again on the prompt and tap Start now.

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Older Androids

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 Newer Androids

STEP 11: Select Open Settings when prompted about Accessibility.

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STEP 12: Tap Bark under the Services or Installed Services section in Accessibility. Turn it On.

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⚠ Getting an error?
If your child's device is on Android 13, you will need to do the following to be able to enable the Accessibility setting for Bark: Settings app ⚙ > Apps > Bark > three dot menu on top right > tap on Allow restricted settings.

STEP 13: Open the Chrome chrome.svg  app.

Ensure that Secure DNS is turned off in the Chrome app of your child's device

  • On Chrome, tap the 3-line menu > Settings > Privacy > Use secure DNS > set the slider to Off.
  • If you don't see it on your child's device, then you can skip this step!
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STEP 14: Consider enabling location alerts.

Our optional location alerts feature allows you to get a push notification every time your child arrives or departs a set location. In order to take advantage of this feature, you'll need to follow this guide:

Location Alerts

STEP 15: Fine-tuning.

To test the monitoring or to adjust settings, open the Bark for Kids app and tap the settings icon (see below):

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 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.

LAST STEP: Set your Time Zone in your Dashboard.

Now you can tap the Home button on your child's device and set it aside. 

Navigate to your dashboard, select Account Settings from the dropdown menu on the top right, and set your time zone:

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Congratulations! 🎉

From your Bark dashboard, you will now see the device has been associated with your child under Monitoring > Devices & Apps. Here is an example:

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The app will also automatically monitor the content on many social media apps without needing to connect them to Bark with your child's login credentials, like Snapchat, VSCO, and Discord. It will also filter millions of apps and sites according to your screen time rules for the child.

Remember to also connect your child's other social media and email accounts to Bark for additional monitoring from your dashboard. You can also request that your child connect their own accounts by having them open the Bark for Kids app and tap on the smile 🙂 icon, as seen below:

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Best Practices

Consider talking to your child about Bark and why the Bark Kids app / VPN needs to remain installed. We also have added uninstall protection to the Bark for Kids app, so that it can only be uninstalled with your Bark parent/guardian password.

Don't worry, if we detect the app or VPN stops working, we'll notify you via email, text, and/or the parent app.

Managing Screen Time & Web Filtering Rules

Manage web filters, block apps, and more from your dashboard. Click here for more information on managing your child's Screen Time & Web Filtering:

Set Rules & Limits

NOTE: Please allow some time for the web filter and content monitoring to sync up with your child's device for the first time. Web activity gets cached or queued and this is why it can take some time for the web filtering to get settled on your child's device.

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 to add more?

You can add an unlimited number of email accounts, social media accounts, and devices for monitoring. Follow this guide to connect the rest of your kids' accounts and devices!

  

Need help?

Check out our Android Troubleshooting Guide. Bark Support is also here for you! Please reach out to us if you need additional assistance.