Web Browsing Troubleshooting: Bark for Schools

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Paola
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This article discusses troubleshooting solutions for issues encountered monitoring or filtering student web browsing.

For troubleshooting solutions for account-level monitoring, like Gmail or Outlook, reach out to us for further assistance.

The following topics are covered in this article and in this order:

  1. How do I set up the filtering of student web browsing?
  2. How do I set up the monitoring of student Chrome browsing?
  3. Can I set up both the Chrome web filtering extension and the Chrome web monitoring extension on my domain?
  4. Can I set up both the DNS web filter and the Chrome web filtering extension on my domain?
  5. How do I add an exception to a domain in my web filter policies?
  6. What do I do if my web filter policies are not being enforced?
  7. How do I know the DNS web filter is working?
  8. What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the DNS web filter reports?
  9. How do I know the Chrome web filter is working?
  10. What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the Chrome web filter reports?
  11. How do I know the Chrome web monitoring extension is working?

 

FAQs

1. How do I set up the filtering of student web browsing?

As each school or district has its own specific goals and challenges, we provide two options for web filtering: a DNS Web Filter OR a Chrome Extension Web Filter.

We encourage schools and districts to choose the one that works best for them, since they were not designed to be used at the same time. More information on these two filters is included here.

Some tips on selecting a web filter:

  • If your students are predominantly using Chromebooks, especially ones they can take home, the Chrome web filter is often the best solution for your school. The Chrome extension will follow the student account around and filter web browsing both at school and at home. On the Bark Super Admin side, it also allows you to dig down more granularly into the web filter reports and review blocked and allowed browsing at the domain level, group level, and individual user level.
  • If your students are predominantly using a combination of devices on school grounds, the DNS web filter is often the best solution for your school. It allows you to filter the browsing of any device connected to your school network(s). You also view web filter reports to review blocked and allowed networking activity.

 

2. How do I set up the monitoring of student Chrome browsing?

You can find step by step instructions on setting up the Chrome web monitoring extension here.

This feature is able to be used by G Suite schools. You can deploy our Chrome web monitoring extension to your student accounts, allowing Bark to monitor their web browsing on Chrome computers for potentially alarming content. 

Some tips:

  • The Chrome web monitoring extension is only able to monitor Chrome web browsing. In other words, the extension does not contribute to monitoring emails, documents, and images on student accounts. The Bark G Suite marketplace app is what contributes to the account-level monitoring.
  • Make sure you select the proper OUs when you're taking steps to deploy the Chrome extension. For example, do not deploy the extension to a Staff OU unless that is your intention.
  • Keep in mind that when you deploy a Chrome extension to an OU, it will also deploy it to its sub-OUs, if they exist.
  • The Chrome web monitoring extension does not filter or block browsing, but it does detect and alert on issues found in students' browsing on Chrome. If you'd like to filter or block browsing, set up one of the web filters instead. You can then remove the web monitoring extension by following these steps.

 

3. Can I set up both the Chrome web filtering extension and the Chrome web monitoring extension on my domain?

You can absolutely do that. Just keep in mind that they were not designed to be used in conjunction with one another. 

We've heard from a few larger schools that using the two extensions at the same time led to an increase in network traffic, so they decided to use only one of the two.

 

4. Can I set up both the DNS web filter and the Chrome web filtering extension on my domain?

While you can do so, it is not recommended to have both web filters running at the same time since they were not designed to work together.

If you'd like additional assistance on pinpointing what will work best for your administration, reach out to us.

 

5. How do I add an exception to a domain in my web filter policies?

  • Log into your Bark dashboard.
  • Click on the top right account menu > Web Filters.
    Don't see this option? Log in with your Bark Super Admin account. If unsure who the Bark Super Admin is, reach out to us.
  • If applicable, click See All Filters on top right. Otherwise, click Settings next to the applicable web filter, as seen below:
  • On the following page, you are able to allow or block particular domains. You can even use wildcards at the front (*.youtube.com), middle (sites.google.com/*game*), or end (*.youtube.com/playlist=1234*) of a domain to fit your use-case.
 

6. What do I do if my web filter policies are not being enforced?

Let's check a couple of things:

  • Do you have multiple web filters set up? If so, make sure you've added an exception to the domain on all web filters you've got set up. This means that if you have multiple web filters on this page, you need to click Settings on each one and check that the domain exceptions and category rules are the same for both.
    (Again, we don't recommend having more than one web filter set up at a time, but understand some schools have unique use-cases)
  • Can you check your web filter reports to see if the domain is being blocked by Bark? For instructions on using the web filter reports, click here for DNS or click here for Chrome.
    In the filter report, dig down to the individual user level, and there you can see the category of the blocked domain as well. You can also look for other domains that may be the redirect traffic for the domain you were trying to allow or block. Often these redirects are the source of the block, since they may be uncategorized domains. If that's the case, add them as an exception in your web filter policies.
  • What is the blocked page? If it's different from the blocked page below, you likely have a different web filter that is doing the blocking. In other words, it's not Bark's web filter that is blocking access to the domain.
  • If you're still unable to correct the issue, then reach out to us with the answers to the bullet points above as well as a test student email that was experiencing the block (e.g. student@yourschool.org).

 

7. How do I know the DNS web filter is working?

When the DNS web filter starts processing web browsing activity on the network, it will display the activity on the web filter reports on the Bark Super Admin's dashboard, as seen below and described in this article.

 

8. What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the DNS web filter reports?

  • The most frequent reason is because the public IP address you've inputted in the DNS web filter settings does not match the public IP address seen in whatismyip.com.
  • The other common reason is that the gateway on your school network is not correctly pointing to the Bark IP addresses seen in your DNS web filter settings.
  • If you've verified the above are set correctly, then it could be that you have to clear your cache. See here for more information: DNS Web Filter Troubleshooting

 

9. How do I know the Chrome web filter is working?

When the Chrome web filter starts processing web browsing activity on the network, it will display the activity on the web filter reports on the Bark Super Admin's dashboard, as seen below and described in this article.

 

10. What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the Chrome web filter reports?

  • Verify that you've deployed the Chrome web filtering extension to be Force Installed on organizational units containing student accounts in your Google Admin Console (device-only OUs will not properly deploy the extension, since it is based at the account-level).
  • Verify that those same student organizational units are enabled for account monitoring in your Bark Settings.
  • Lastly, make sure that the Bark G Suite marketplace app is set as On for Everyone so that we have the proper permissions to monitor student accounts. To check for an adjust the marketplace app permissions if applicable, see here.
    (Don't worry, doing this won't cause us to start monitoring Staff -- as you can see, monitoring of organizational units is configured within the Bark Settings).

 

11. How do I know the Chrome web monitoring extension is working?

You will know that the Chrome web monitoring extension is working in a few different ways.

From the admin side:

The Chrome web monitoring extension is called "Bark for Chrome" and has a blue Bark dog as the icon when you navigate to your Google admin console > Devices > Chrome management > Apps & extensions:

 

From the student side:

The Chrome web monitoring extension is called "Bark for Chrome" and has a blue Bark dog as the icon on the top right of the student's Chrome web browser:

 

From issues found:

The web monitoring extension generates potential issue alerts when it detects inappropriate Chrome web browsing. Those potential issues can be reviewed in the Review Issues page on your dashboard. These issues will display a Chrome icon, as seen below:

 

How do I reach the Bark for Schools team?

We have an incredible team behind the scenes here at Bark. For technical questions, we can be reached here. Our team is happy to help!