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 browsing?
  3. Can I set up both the web filtering extension and the web monitoring extension on my domain?
  4. Can I set up both the DNS web filter and the Chrome/Edge 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/Edge web filter is working?
  10. What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the Chrome/Edge web filter reports?
  11. How do I know the Chrome/Edge web monitoring extension is working?

FAQs

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 a few options for web filtering: a DNS Web Filter, a Chrome Extension Web Filter, or an Edge Chromium 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 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 (G Suite) or Edge web filter (O365) is often the best solution for your school. The Bark for Schools Filter 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.

How do I set up the monitoring of student Chrome or Edge browsing?

You can find step by step instructions on setting up the Chrome web monitoring extension here. For the Edge Chromium extension, click here.

You can deploy our web monitoring extension to your student accounts, allowing Bark to monitor their Chrome or Edge Chromium browsing on computers. This includes analyzing the searches and webpage title of browsed sites for signs of self-harm, sexual content, and anything else that may be alarming. 

Some tips:

  • The Chrome and Edge web monitoring extensions are only able to monitor the webpage titles and searches in the browser. 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 (Gmail, Drive) for G Suite and the Bark O365 app is what contributes to the account-level monitoring (Outlook, OneDrive) for Office 365.
  • Make sure you select the proper OUs/active directories/groups when you're taking steps to deploy the Chrome or Edge extension. For example, do not deploy the extension to a Staff OU/group unless that is your intention.
  • Keep in mind that when you deploy a Chrome or Edge extension to an OU/active directory/group, it may also deploy it to its sub-groups, if they exist.
  • The Chrome or Edge web monitoring extensions do not filter or block browsing, but they do detect and alert on issues found in students' browsing on Chrome or Edge. If you'd like to filter or block browsing, set up one of the web filters as well. For information on the difference between web monitoring and web filtering, see here.

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

You can absolutely do that. For information on the difference between web monitoring and web filtering, see here.

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

While you can do so, it is not recommended to have two web filters running at the same time since they were not designed to work together. In addition, adjusting one filter's rules will not automatically change the other filter's rules, so having both will mean you need to adjust rules for each one so that they don't conflict with one another.

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

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:
schools.png
  • On the following page, you are able to allow or block particular domains.
    • On the Chrome or Edge filter, 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.
    • On the DNS filter, you can only allow or block domains.

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.
    (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/Edge.
    In the filter report, dig down to the granular logs, and there you can see the category of the blocked domain.

    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 an unexpected block, since they may be differently categorized domains. If that's the case, add them as an exception in your web filter policies. If applicable, you can suggest a new category for a domain by clicking on the category in the report:

bfs-suggest.gif

  • Is your filter configuration still applied to all of your students? If using the DNS filter, you may wish to reference the Public IPs you entered on the settings page are still accurate.
    If using the Chrome/Edge filter, you may wish to verify the organizational units you deployed the filtering extension to are still accurate by referencing the last few steps in the setup guide.
  • Is DNS over HTTPS enabled in your Google Admin Console? If so, try disabling it. You can do so by going to Devices > Chrome > Settings > scroll down to Network > disable DNS over HTTPS.
  • 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).

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.

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

How do I know the Chrome or Edge Chromium web filter is working?

When the Chrome /Edge 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.

What do I do if I see 0 web traffic requests in the Chrome / Edge web filter reports?

  • Verify that you've deployed the web filtering extension to be Force Installed on organizational units containing student accounts in your Google Admin Console or Microsoft 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.
  • If on G Suite, 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).

How do I know the Chrome / Edge Chromium web monitoring extension is working?

You will know that the 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:

The Edge web monitoring extension is called "Bark for Microsoft Edge" and the way it looks in your Microsoft Admin Console depends on which method you used to set up the extension in your O365 instance.

From the student side:

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

From issues found:

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

schools2.png

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!