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.
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, see these instructions.
STEP 2: Open the web browser app, which is most commonly the Chrome app, and type in the following: bark.us/android
STEP 3: Tap on Download Bark Kids app on that page.
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 of the app to complete, and then tap Open, as seen below:
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.
STEP 5: Tap Settings to enable Install Unknown Apps or Sources.
After opening or attempting to install the file, 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:
- Enable downloads from Unknown Sources (or something similar that contains "Unknown Sources" or "Unknown Apps"), as indicated below:
A Quick Note About Family Link:
- Are you using Family Link presently? If so, see here for additional instructions on enabling "Apps from Unknown Sources" from your parent Family Link app.
- Don't have Family Link and want to learn more? Click here for information on 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.
- Open the bark-for-kids.apk file, and now you should be able to tap Install.
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:
STEP 8: Enter your Bark parent/guardian credentials and tap Get Started.
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 9: Follow the on-screen instructions to allow permissions.
You will see several screens that will ask for permission to monitor your child's device.
- Select the child's name that uses this Android device or select Add Another Child to add a new child to your Bark account.
NOTE: If it's a shared device, consider adding a child named "Family Tablet" for example.
- Select Connect on the first prompt.
- Tap While using the app on the location prompt.
- Tap Allow on the following few prompts.
- 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:
- 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 installing a VPN > tap OK.
- NOTE: You will know that the web 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.
STEP 10: Select Open Settings when prompted about Accessibility.
STEP 11: Tap Bark under the Services or Installed Services section in Accessibility.
STEP 12: Within the Bark menu that appears, toggle the switch for Bark to On.
STEP 13: Open the Chrome 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!
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 device content 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.
From your Bark dashboard, you will now see the device has been associated with your child under their profile. Here is an example:
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 Bark 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:
Consider talking to your child about Bark and why the Bark Kids app needs to remain installed. We also have added uninstall protection to the Bark for Kids app. The child app can be uninstalled with your Bark parent/guardian password.
Don't worry, if somehow the app stops working or is deleted, we'll notify you via email, text, and/or the parent app.
Managing Screen Time & Web Filtering Rules
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.
If Bark detects instances of bullying, sexual content, depression, self-harm, or other worrisome content in your child's messaging or media on their Android device, we will send you a notification.
Learn more about what makes Bark's content monitoring unique.