Troubleshooting Screen Time & Web Filtering

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Paola
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This article discusses troubleshooting solutions for issues encountered with screen time, on-the-go web filtering, or in-home web filtering. For example, you may have seen on-the-go controls with a ❗️ symbol when reviewing your child's device:

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For troubleshooting solutions for content monitoring, check out these articles instead:

Overview

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

  1. Background on Screen Time & Web Filtering (on-the-go and in-home controls)
  2. Difference between "content monitoring" and "Screen Time & Web Filtering"
  3. Setting up Screen Time & Web Filtering
  4. Schedule screen time, block sites & apps, filter web browsing, and adjust rules
  5. How do I know Screen Time & Web Filtering is working?
  6. How do I test Screen Time & Web Filtering rules?
  7. Why is Bark blocking this app or site?
  8. Why is Bark blocking text messages?
  9. Why is Bark allowing this app or site?
  10. Notification that on-the-go controls are not working
  11. Notification that in-home controls are not working
  12. Notification that on-the-go controls are manually disabled and re-enabled
  13. Set up uninstall protection
  14. Everything is blocked
  15. The schedule being enforced early or late
  16. The schedule says it conflicts
  17. Can I use more than one VPN at a time?
  18. Invalid password logging into the child app
  19. Filtering rules not working on Amazon Fire
  20. On iOS, does the Bark Kids app use a lot of cellular data?
  21. On iOS, does the Bark Kids app use a lot of battery life?
  22. Why is Bark blocking Youtube videos?
  23. Device is using Private / Randomized MAC Address
  24. What are Anonymous Devices?
  25. Chromebook is not being filtered
  26. Mac or Windows computer is not being filtered

FAQs

How do I set up my child's device with Screen Time and Web Filtering?

Below are guides for setting up Bark's Screen Time and Web Filtering on your child's iOS or Android device:

Bark also offers web filtering for any device connected to your home Wi-Fi (like computers, Amazon Fire tablets, gaming consoles, etc.) if you purchase and activate Bark Home. If you have a Bark Home activated, then you can set up devices with web filtering by finding them in your Unmanaged Devices list and assigning them to a profile.

How do I set Bedtime, School Time, block sites & apps, filter web browsing, and adjust rules?

You can adjust rules at any time. Here is a guide for managing your Screen Time & Filtering rules for your children's devices: Managing Screen Time Rules

How do I know Screen Time & Web Filtering is working?

To verify that web filtering is working on your family's devices, select View Profile under a child or home profile. Review the status of the "on-the-go controls" or "in-home controls" for a particular device.

❗️  means action is required / something is not working properly. Click on it to learn more.

🟡  means you could set up some additional coverage if you wanted to.

✅  means that part is working.

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If you see a 🟡 or a ❗️ next to content monitoring or parental controls, verify that Bark did not detect a "duplicate" that you may have to merge into this device. If you've verified this is the only device, then click here for steps on how to set up Screen Time & Web Filtering on your child's device.

Why is it blocking this app / site?

If Bark is blocking every single internet-based app or site on your child's device, then jump down to "Bark Kids app is blocking everything" below.

If Bark is not blocking everything but is blocking particular apps or sites, let's figure it out! You can find out this information by scrolling down to a child > look at the rules currently applied (e.g. Default Rules), then select the ... icon 💬 > Add Screen Time Rule > select the applicable rule we want to edit.

You will land on Exceptions > scroll down to Recently Blocked Activity. You can quickly allow that site by clicking Allow, if applicable:

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You can also click on More info next to an entry to review why it was blocked.

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If it was blocked because it was miscategorized or uncategorized, then go ahead and click "where you think it belongs" to provide us feedback:

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Why is Bark blocking text messages?

While Bark allows you to set screen time schedules, block apps, monitor texts for worrisome content, and more, Bark does not block phone numbers, phone calls, or text messages (SMS/MMS). This is because texts and phone calls are cellular-based services rather than internet-based services.

However, if you paused the internet for a child, you will have impacted the child's ability to use internet-based communications, like Skype, Wi-Fi calling, or Wi-Fi messaging. 

If you accidentally paused the internet for a child, you can resume the internet with the click of a button! After a few minutes, your child's device will be able to access the internet according to your Screen Time rules again. You can restart the device to speed that along, as well.

If you checked that the child's profile was not paused, and your child uses an Android that is experiencing text messages being blocked, it may be that they have to turn off a particular setting in their text messaging app. Click here for instructions!

In addition, if the "Unidentifiable Traffic" or "App Store & System Updates" categories are blocked for a profile, they may be blocking iMessages on iPhones, iPads, or iPods. Click here for instructions on how to check those settings!

What do I do if I have received a notification that Screen Time (on-the-go controls) are not working?

The good news, it's an easy fix. Have the child open the Bark Kids app on their device. If it's a Chromebook, open the Bark for Chromebooks app on their device. The Bark VPN will automatically reconnect (if it was disconnected) when you do this. The Bark VPN is what allows us to enforce screen time and web filtering on-the-go.

Alternatively, you can check that the Bark VPN is enabled by going to your child's device Settings > Network or General > VPN > verify that the Bark VPN is connected or turned on. You may also want to verify that the Bark VPN is set as "Connect on Demand" for iOS, and "Always on" for Android.

In this location of Settings, you can also check to see if there is a third-party VPN installed. We recommend only using Bark's VPN or you may run into issues with screen time & web filtering.

Once the Bark VPN has been reinstated, you should start to see it filter web browsing according to your Screen Time Rules within minutes. If you want changes to take place more quickly, you may wish to restart the device. You can then follow these steps to verify on-the-go controls have been reinstated.

If the VPN was already connected prior to following these steps, please check these instructions.

What do I do if I have received a notification that Bark Home (in-home controls) are not working?

  • Verify that the Bark Home power cord is plugged into a working source of electricity. Please use the charging cable and wall adapter that came with the Bark Home.
  • Verify that the Bark Home ethernet cord is plugged into the LAN1 port of your home router.
  • Check with your Internet Service Provider to see if there is an internet outage in your area.
  • Look at the LED lights on the Bark Home for further insight into the issue.
  • If still no luck, unplug the Bark Home cords, wait a few seconds, and plug them back in again.

What do I do if I continue to receive a notification that Screen Time (on-the-go controls) have been manually disabled and re-enabled?

How do I set up the child app so that it is not uninstalled or deleted?

If your child has an Android device, make sure that the Bark for Kids app is updated. Click here for instructions on how to update your child's Bark Kids app, if applicable. This will enforce Uninstall Protection.

If your child has an iOS device, you will need to use Apple's Screen Time to enforce uninstall protection. Follow these steps:

  • Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes and App Store Purchases > Deleting Apps > Don’t Allow

    NOTE: If you haven’t set up iOS Screen Time, see here for instructions.

Bark is blocking everything! Why?

We're sorry to hear that! We'll get you all fixed up.

If you just set up Bark on your child's device, it may be settling in and resolving all of the background web activity on the device(s). Give it a little bit of time. You may wish to restart the child's device to speed that along.

If after 15 minutes you're still experiencing that issue, it could be that you have Paused the child's device or it may be under strict rules. Pausing the internet for a device will block access to all internet activity on the device. You can re-enable internet access easily by clicking Resume under the child:

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NOTE: Please allow some minutes for it to catch up after re-enabling internet access. You may also want to restart the device to speed that along.

If still no luck, try restarting your child's device and clearing the cache of their browser app(s), like Chrome or Safari. This can help in clearing out the temporary files that devices build up over time to try to make browsing seem "faster." They do this by "caching" (or saving) webpages, which is why clearing the cache may help.

Also, check for updates to the Bark Kids app on your child's device.

Please also check for updates to your child's device software:

Lastly, if you're still experiencing the issue, you may need to check that it's not some other web filter or third-party VPN you have in place. We recommend only using one web filter on a child's device at a time so that it's easier for you to manage rules. For example, if there is an unexpected block, you don't want to have to look at two different services' rules to figure out which one is the culprit. 

We're also happy to help get your child's internet working again. Please reach out to us if you require additional help!

Bark is not blocking anything it should be blocking! What do I do?

Verify that you have set the correct rules and limits for your children in your Bark Screen Time Settings.

Also, check for updates to the Bark Kids app on your child's device.

Then, have the child open the Bark Kids app on their device. If it's a Chromebook, open the Bark for Chromebooks app on their device. The Bark VPN will automatically reconnect (if it was disconnected) when you do this. The Bark VPN is what allows us to enforce screen time and web filtering on-the-go.

Once the VPN has been reinstated, you should start to see it filter web browsing according to your Screen Time Rules within minutes.

If your child has installed a beta version of iOS, it may not support the Bark VPN. We recommend always using the most stable releases of software on your child's devices, rather than beta or developmental versions. 

If it's only filtering over Wi-Fi and your child's device is a cellular device, ensure that Cellular Data is enabled for Bark Kids:

NOTE: If you'd like to prevent your child from turning off Cellular Data for the Bark Kids app on their iOS device, you can use Apple Screen Time to do so! Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content and Privacy Restrictions > Cellular Data > Don't Allow.

If it's still not doing what it needs to and your child's device is an Android, ensure that Private DNS is turned off in your child's network settings.

  • Settings > Network > Advanced > tap Private DNS > Turn Off:

Also, if your child's device is an Android, ensure that Secure DNS is turned off in the Chrome app of your child's device

  • On your child's device, open the Chrome app.
  • Tap the 3-line menu > Settings > Privacy > Use secure DNS > set the slider to Off.
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On Chromebook, Windows, or Mac, make sure Secure DNS is turned off in the Chrome, Brave, and Edge app by following these steps:

  • On your child's computer or laptop, open the Chrome app, Brave app, and/or Edge app.
  • Then, click the three-dot menu on the top right > Settings.
  • In the Settings search bar, search for Secure DNS.
  • Select Security from the search results. It will have a yellow flag pointing it out:

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  • Under Advanced, find and turn off Secure DNS. Repeat these steps for any other Chrome, Brave, or Edge browsers you have filtered by Bark.

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  • You can also permanently disable the Secure DNS setting by following the steps described in these guides:

If your child uses the Firefox browser on their computer filtered by Bark, then you should also check and adjust a similar setting:

  • On your child's computer or laptop, open the Firefox app.
  • Select the top right three line menu > Settings > search "dns" in the Settings search bar.
  • Then, you'll see Network Settings as a result. Select Settings next to Network Settings.
  • Scroll down and disable DNS over HTTPS. Make sure to click OK/Save. When it's turned off, it looks like this:
    Image

My schedule / rules are being enforced early or late! How do I fix this?

This is usually indicative of the wrong time zone being set in your Bark Account Settings. It's an easy fix! Click here for steps on how to take care of it.

My child's iOS device is reporting that the Bark Kids app is using a lot of cellular data. Is this normal?

Because the Bark Kids app is a filter or a gatekeeper to your child's web activity, in some reporting apps like Apple Screen Time, they may report all cellular data traffic used on the device as being used by the Bark Kids app. This is not quite accurate, since your child was using their favorite apps and games but the Bark Kids app was filtering their web activity, so the reporting app thinks the cellular data use all came from Bark Kids.

My child's iOS device is reporting that the Bark Kids app is using a lot of battery life. Is this normal?

On older iOS devices, you may want to make the following changes to help with battery life...

Can I use more than one VPN at a time on my child's device?

Devices only allow one VPN to be connected at a time.

To see if your child's device is using the Bark VPN, go to Settings > Network or General > VPN > verify that the Bark VPN is connected or turned on. You may also want to verify that the Bark VPN is set as "Connect on Demand" for iOS, and "Always on" for Android.

In this location of Settings, you can also check to see if there is a third-party VPN installed and delete it. We recommend only using Bark's VPN or you may run into issues with screen time & web filtering.

What do I do if I get invalid password every time I go to log into the child app?

There's several strategies you can employ:

  • Ensure the child's device is connected to the internet.
  • Make sure you still use that password for your Bark account by logging in to bark.us on a parental device.
  • Verify you’re using the proper capitalization.
  • Type your password into a note or somewhere where you can actually see what you're typing on your child's device. Then, copy and paste it into the password field.
  • Reset your password for your Bark account and try to log in again on your child's device.
  • If still no luck, check to see that your account is currently subscribed to Bark Jr or Bark Premium in your Account Settings.

My filtering rules are not applying correctly to an Amazon Fire tablet filtered by Bark Home.

When using Bark Home to filter your family's Amazon Fire tablet(s), you will want to make these changes to the Amazon Fire tablet's network settings so that you experience consistent enforcement of your filtering rules on that device.

NOTE: While Bark can monitor the content of Amazon Fire tablets with the Bark for Kids app, on-the-go web filtering is not supported. If you'd like to set up in-home web filtering on an Amazon Fire tablet, you will need Bark Home.

Why is Bark blocking YouTube videos?

Verify that you have set the correct rules and limits for YouTube in your Bark Screen Time Settings. If YouTube is reflecting as blocked for the current rules in the screen time schedule for that child, you can click on the toggle to allow it.

NOTE: Please allow some minutes for it to catch up after re-enabling YouTube access. You can also try restarting the child's device to speed that along.

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If you've verified YouTube is not blocked, you may need to verify an additional setting: YouTube Restricted Mode. YouTube Restricted Mode is a feature that filters out explicit content from YouTube, which can include whole videos or the comment sections of videos. It can be enforced by Bark or by Google Family Link. If a particular video meets the criteria for adult content, Youtube Restricted Mode will not allow the child to view it and the child may see a message like this one:

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If you'd like to disable YouTube Restricted Mode through Bark or learn more about it, click here for more information: About SafeSearch & YouTube Restricted Mode

What does it mean when it says a device is using "private address"?

You may have noticed an "Anonymous Devices" section, or you may have seen the following notice on a particular device in your dashboard:

"This device is using a 'private address' which can cause issues with screen time. Learn more!"

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(What is a Private or Randomized MAC Address?)

The Bark Home remembers the devices on your home network because of their unique MAC Address always being the same.

However, devices on iOS 14+, Android 10+, and Windows 10+ may have a setting enabled that keeps them from broadcasting the same MAC Address, meaning it could lead Bark Home to think it's detecting more devices, when in fact it's detecting the same Android, iOS, or Windows device.

Luckily, it's an easy fix. For each of these devices in your home, follow these steps.

What are "Anonymous Devices"?

You may one day notice a section of the In-Home page that is labeled "Anonymous Devices." "Anonymous Devices" is a profile only present for Bark Home users that have "unknown" devices that Bark couldn't automatically identify.

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Click into each device and look to see if it has a notice at the top about "private address." If it does, follow these steps.

Otherwise, use this guide to identify the unknown device.

The schedule says it conflicts with another block.

This message occurs whenever you're inputting the time for a new block that conflicts with an existing block. For example, the error message may look like this:

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Luckily, it's an easy fix! The error message will tell you which existing block it is conflicting with as well as the conflicting block's set time, allowing you to either remove the old block or adjust the new block's time range to not overlap with the other block.

In the example above, I am being told that I cannot schedule a block from 2pm to 5pm because there's already an existing Free Time block that is scheduled from 2pm to 4:30pm. Thus, I will need to either edit the existing Free Time block time, or I will need to adjust this new schedule block's time to start before or after the Free Time block.

Chromebook is not being filtered

If your child's Chromebook is not being filtered, click here for how to fix it!

Mac or Windows computer is not being filtered

If your child's Mac or Windows computer is not being filtered, make sure you have activated Bark Home, if you haven't already.

Verify that you have set the correct rules and limits for your children in your Bark Screen Time Settings. Check that you've properly identified the computers and assigned them to a profile.

On Chromebook, Windows, or Mac, make sure Secure DNS is turned off in the Chrome and Edge app by following these steps:

  • On your child's computer or laptop, open the Chrome app and/or Edge app.
  • Then, click the three-dot menu on the top right > Settings.
  • In the Settings search bar, search for Secure DNS.
  • Select Security from the search results. It will have a yellow flag pointing it out:

Screen_Shot_2021-05-27_at_9.33.13_AM.png

  • Under Advanced, find and turn off Secure DNS. Repeat these steps for any other Chrome or Edge browsers you have filtered by Bark.

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If your child uses the Firefox browser on their computer filtered by Bark, then you should also check and adjust a similar setting:

  • On your child's computer or laptop, open the Firefox app.
  • Select the top right three line menu > Settings > search "dns" in the Settings search bar.
  • Then, you'll see Network Settings as a result. Select Settings next to Network Settings.
  • Scroll down and disable DNS over HTTPS. Make sure to click OK/Save. When it's turned off, it looks like this:
    Image

 

Need additional assistance?

Bark Support is here to help! Reach out to us and we'll be happy to assist.