Chromebook + Family Link + Bark

We bought a non-school Chromebook today so my daughter could not access un-Bark-ed browsers like she was doing on windows laptop. We have, and love, Bark. I thought google family link would do some great things to fill some gaps… well I now find out google family link will not allow extensions! So I have to choose between Bark and Family Link, and neither on their own do what we need… anyone found a workaround??

Hey! I use Bark and I also work for Bark and I think I may be able to help you out! :blush: It seems that you might need to modify your Google Family link settings just a bit. Here’s a guide so you’ll be able to use both your Google Family Link and Bark monitoring on your Chromebook. I hope this works! If the previous link didn’t help you out, you can always reach us any time at help@bark.us and our support staff will help troubleshoot the issue! Thanks for reaching out! :blue_heart:

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Both work together on her phone ok, just not the Chromebook because it needs Bark to run as an extension. Am I doing it wrong?

Joy Langley

Hello, @sweetcountry14! I work for Bark and also use Bark & Google Family Link (GFL) with my kids’ Androids. Here’s what I know about GFL and what you may be running in to.

GFL has certain security measures it puts in place for GFL accounts under the age of 13.

1: GFL will not allow extensions to be installed for users under the age of 13. (Bark requires the Bark for Chrome extension to be installed to be able to monitor Chrome desktop activity).

2: GFL will not allow Bark or any third parties to sign in / connect to your child’s Google account if under the age of 13. This means Bark cannot monitor an under 13’s Gmail, YouTube, Chrome desktop browsing, Google Drive, or anything associated with your under 13’s Google login credentials.

There appears to be no way around this due to Google’s permissions and securities for under 13. Google also does not permit the birthdate of an under 13 to be changed to make them appear to be 13 or older for security reasons. The only way that a parent may be able to use Bark to monitor their child’s Chromebook / Google accounts is for your child to have a Google account with the age / birthdate of 13 or older. Because Google does not allow a parent to alter an under 13’s birthdate to older than 13, this would mean that a parent would need to create their child a new Google account with a birthdate of 13+.

I want to be clear that I, nor Bark, is in any way suggesting or encouraging one to lie about your child’s Google age to make them appear to be older. I’m simply relaying that the only scenario in which Bark can connect to and monitor a Google account or Chromebook device is if the child’s Google birthdate is at least 13 years of age due to Google’s security.

Personally, my children’s Google birthdays are at least age 13. GFL works just fine for parental settings, and also in conjunction with Bark. Some things to note with having a GFL account aged 13 or older:

  • children have access to full YouTube, whereas under age 13 does not (only YouTube Kids).
  • children age 13+ have the option to “opt out” of GFL Supervision at any time they choose. If they do opt out, you are notified, and their devices are temporarily locked. One way to ensure your children do not opt out of Supervision would be to have them sign and agree to a family technology agreement.

I do hope this helps to explain Google’s permissions and limitations. If there is anything Bark support may help you with, please do not hesitate to message the team via email to help@bark.us. We thank you! :slight_smile:

Boy that sure IS tricky because we are exactly at age 13. I really appreciate your explanation of it though. Full access to youtube is of course no good… but even if GFL is not monitoring/blocking it, Bark will be… am I correct in that way of thinking?

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Yes, Bark will monitor YouTube. :slight_smile: Bark monitors YouTube in 2 different ways (tricky, I know).

1: At the account level, through your child’s connected YouTube login credentials:
Bark monitors the videos your child posts, comments made to those videos, and new videos posted to your child’s user and channel subscriptions. Again- this is anywhere she is logged in with her YouTube credentials. So even if on a school or public computer, friend’s device, etc.

2: At the device level IE: though your child’s Android or Chromebook.
Bark can also monitor YouTube views and searches only on connected Android devices and computers with the Bark Chrome extension (including Incognito mode!).

Also, just because your 13 or older can now use full YouTube with their Google account, doesn’t mean they have to- you can still block the YT app and YT website with your GFL parent settings. :hugs:

So… pardon me for responding yet again, but I swear my brain and eyes are mush after trying to figure all this out. I fear now I’ve just messed up her google account entirely. Ugh.

So, am I to understand, then, that if my child were to be 14 years old through 17 years old that I could use GFL as well as Bark… both happily coexisting fine on a chromebook… that the Bark extension for chromebook would be allowed to work if the child
was 14 or older?

I’m not sure what to do because if I create a new account for an “older” child to accommodate this, I’m worried about losing all their stuff from their previous google account.

Yes this is all what I’m trying to do! So the malfunction I need to clear up is the age… and if I create a new account… how to do that.

Joy Langley

Oh my word I’m feeling so stupid… I was just explaining all this to my daughter who looks at me and says, “Then what’s the problem, Mom… I’m fourteen…” Crickets… People I have 5 children and just forgot how old one of them was (facepalm).

So, in that… why are we still having trouble if she is 14 and her google account is set at that age too?

No worries, and happy to help. :slight_smile:

Yes, ideally, a new Google account in your Google Family aged at least 13 or older. 13 as the birthdate would work fine. It’s under 13 that causes the issue. Google (and Apple, etc.) consider 13 to be the age of consent / adult. (Don’t get me started…)

I’m not sure how established her Google account is. I can see how this would be upsetting to lose especially purchased items. One thing that would work is to also add your new 13 or older profile to your Google Family, keep her original also, and then you can SHARE any Family purchases to the new account- so any paid for apps, books, music, etc. you can share between Family members. This would not transfer any saved app progress if your daughter has completed several gaming levels (for example), but it would keep you from paying for apps / music / movies / books you’ve already bought if you just share those purchases with the new profile. I hope that makes sense!

… oh. RE: 14. :flushed: Are you positive her Google Birthdate is 14? Here’s how to check (Under "Edit your child’s Google Account info).

My other thought is: is this her personal Google account? Or her school account? Some school accounts do not permit the installation of Chrome extensions.

Yes just checked.
Personal Chromebook… homeschooled… brand new.

Joy Langley

I’m sorry, If the Google age is 13 or older, and this is NOT a school account, I’m at a loss as to why you are unable to install Chrome extensions. :frowning: Those are the only reasons I know of that would prevent extensions. You might try contacting Google for help? I’ve had to call them in the past, and they answer quickly and are very helpful!
https://support.google.com/families/contactflow?hl=en

Actually… I think I’ve done it. Tell me if this sounds right… the Chromebook allowed me to download the Bark for Chromebook APP (not the extension!) and it appears to be working… I do not see the bark dog in chrome browser though…

Joy Langley

Partially correct! For the Chromebooks that allow Android apps, you’d need both the Bark for Kids APP and also the Bark Chrome extension for full monitoring coverage. The Chrome extension will monitor browsing activities. Let’s see if this helps at all?

  • Chrome extension install vid:
  • Chromebook App install:

full written instructions for both with more details

Ok. So I’m partly there. If I try to also download the Bark extension under my Chromebook sign in, it works fine (but I don’t want it monitoring me), but if at Chromebook sign in I go under her credentials and try to get it from the chrome web store it says
“this type of account can’t currently install extensions or themes from the chrome web store”… ???

Joy Langley

I am in communications with Google regarding this; I will update you shortly. :slight_smile:

Wow! Great thank you.

Joy Langley

Ok; I just wanted to touch base in that I spoke with Google and also our Bark support team.

I apologize in advance if I created further confusion; I do not personally have a Chromebook and that may be the difference in our experiences.

  • I am able to successfully use the Bark Chrome Extension with a GFL child aged 14 on desktop Chrome on a PC or Mac. Google confirmed this to be correct and as it should be. :heavy_check_mark:

  • Apparently, and this is what I did not know, is that NO supervised child account (no matter the age) can install extensions on a Chromebook. I apologize as it was not made clear to me that there is a difference in Chrome on a PC or Mac, and Chrome on Chromebook. :x:

We’ll also make updates to our site to help reflect any limitations to Bark and Chromebook monitoring with Google Family Link accounts involved, so that this will be clear and all limitations from Google Family Link explained. Thank you for your patience while we worked to further explore this!

I also see that you have an existing support open with our team, whom I was also just conferring with about this. I’d like to close up here to avoid any further confusion or having too many Bark team members answering in multiple places. Our team will respond shortly to your existing support email with Bark! :slight_smile: I’ve made them aware of our conversation here, and all that we’ve found out from Google and discussed as well. Thank you for your patience as we work to get to the bottom of this and find the best solution for you!

Ah… difference in Chrome on PC or Mac vs chromebook… bummer for families!

But just for clarification… if a child is using GFL and Bark on Chromebook… while the extension is not working on chrome browser… doesn’t the downloaded app catch anything?

I’m sorry to see you close this conversation in lieu of the other one as I must admit you’ve been more helpful!

Joy