BOOMERANG PARENTAL CONTROL FAQ

Thanks for visiting our FAQs. If your question is not answered below, please feel free to email us at support@useboomerang.com.

Join the conversation by visiting and joining our growing User Google Group where our support team shares live examples plus you can leave comments and add new scenarios for other parents! Visit the Official Boomerang Parental Control Google Group.

For iOS Devices only

Boomerang app disappears when the bedtime schedule is applied or when I time-out my child’s device

Apple’s approach to app blocking is to limit by age. Limiting age ratings instantly hides apps, including Boomerang as it’s rated 4+, lowest age rating Apple provides.

If you are trying to use our Family Messenger feature during a Time-Out or once the bedtime schedule is applied, your child will not be able to respond to notifications the Boomerang app will not be available.

How long should I wait for my changes to apply to my child’s device (parent mode controlling child mode)?

In our experience, an average of 20 seconds seems to be normal for all commands to successfully apply to your child’s device and report back to our parent mode app. Here are some tips on why it could be taking longer:

  1. Is your child’s device in Airplane mode? We do require an internet connection to perform our magic so if the Wi-Fi or Cellular connections are disabled, we will not be able to communicate with your child’s device.
  2. Is your child’s device turned off? Once it’s charged up and turned back on, the changes will then apply to the device as we queue them on our servers.

How do I cancel a Time-Out?

Use our Grant Access feature which will override any Time-Out you’ve applied. Apply a longer duration to make sure it overwrites the Time-Out duration.

The bedtime schedule will always re-apply itself once Time-Out or Grant Access commands have expired.

I upgraded, how do I configure bedtime schedules?

Login to our web dashboard with your group email and password, tap on your child’s iOS device and you will notice a new tab named, SCREEN TIME. Tap on the SCREEN TIME tab and enable Scheduled Screen Time.

Tip: Tap on the CLEAR ALL button just above the grid and drag+select times allowed for your child’s device and you’ll be all set! The schedule will also refresh itself in our parent mode mobile app so you can make any changes on the go, anytime.

iOS Screen Time tab

Why are some apps still available during Bedtime?

We hide all user installed apps (those that do not come with the iOS device), plus built-in iOS apps such as FaceTime and Safari. So the remaining apps are the ones that originally come loaded by Apple and can’t be removed.

When apps come back after a Time-Out/Bedtime ends, why are they in alphabetical order?

Applying a bedtime schedule, time-out or age restrictions will hide apps from your child’s device. When those restrictions are removed, apps will return in alphabetical order and not go back to their original locations (ie: custom folders). This is normal behavior for iOS devices and we are working on a solution that’s compliant with Apple’s guidelines.

How will I know that my child’s Bedtime settings took effect?

Requirement: install Boomerang on your iOS device in Parent Mode (Manage Family Devices).

We provide device statuses under each family device that is in Child Mode. An example message when the Bedtime schedule was applied successfully:

Bedtime Schedule Device Status

My kid is crafty and is turning Airplane Mode on prior to bedtime - what can I do?

Requirement: install Boomerang on your iOS device in Parent Mode (Manage Family Devices).

If the Bedtime Schedule did not take effect, there will be a message stating “Bedtime wasn’t applied” in the device list of our parent mode feature. Chat with your child letting them know that you know when their Bedtime is not applied and sign an offline verbal or written contract with your child.

How can I add more Screen Time restrictions? (ie: dinner time and school hours)

Advanced Screen Time settings are available by logging into our Boomerang web dashboard with your group email and password. Tap on the child device your wish to edit the schedule for, tap on the SCREEN TIME Tab.

Tip: Tap on the CLEAR ALL button just above the grid and drag+select times allowed for your child’s device and you’ll be all set!

How do I monitor text and calls on my child's iPhone?

The iOS (Apple) environment is more limited in its nature and monitoring calls and text messages on an iPhone is currently not possible.

For iPhones, what is of high value is location tracking and the ability to geofence, the ability to prevent in-app purchases and content restrictions such as removing apps by age restriction (ex: since the YouTube app is 17+, you would set the age limit to 12+ thus the YouTube app would be removed from your child’s device). We can also remove access to the iTunes and App Stores to limit the content and apps your child downloads.

Getting started

How do I register an account with Boomerang?

Boomerang is available for Android and Apple devices – smartphones and tablets. Click on the app store badge to download the Boomerang Parental Control app and follow our setup steps.

Boomerang Google Play badge

Boomerang AppStoreBadge

Which option do I select when asked "What do you want to do?

Control this Device (Child Mode): Selecting this mode enables restrictions, location tracking and safe browsing. If you are a parent trying out Boomerang, we recommend you select this mode to experience what we can do on your child’s device.

Monitor Family Devices (Parent Mode): In this Mode, we allow monitoring your family devices (both Android and Apple iOS).

How do I add another family device to my Family Group?

Selecting the right App Mode

Control this Device (Child Mode): Selecting this mode enables restrictions, location tracking and safe browsing. If you are a parent trying out Boomerang, we recommend you select this mode to experience what we can do on your child’s device.

Manage Family Devices (Parent Mode): In this Mode, we allow monitoring your family devices (both Android and Apple iOS).

Follow these steps on all family devices
  1. Install Boomerang Parental Control
  2. Open Boomerang
  3. Tap LOGIN
  4. If selecting Control this Device, follow our onboarding wizard and login with your email and password used to create your account.
  5. If selecting Manage Family Devices, simply login with your email and password used to create your account.

How do I change the App Mode?

Boomerang has 2 App Modes

Control this Device (Child Mode): Selecting this mode enables restrictions, location tracking and safe browsing. If you are a parent trying out Boomerang, we recommend you select this mode to experience what we can do on your child’s device.

Manage Family Devices (Parent Mode): In this Mode, we allow monitoring your family devices (both Android and Apple iOS).

Login to our Web Dashboard

Log in here, click on a device, on the Status tab click on the App Mode to select Parent or Child. (Red box in screenshot).

If you are changing from Child to Parent, you will lose your settings and will need to reconfigure them if you switch back to Child mode.

App Mode switch

How much does Boomerang cost?

Boomerang for Android is $12USD annually per device used in Child Mode. Payment can be made via a Play Store in-app Purchase or via PayPal in our web dashboard licensing page.

Boomerang for Apple iOS is currently free for one year when used in Child Mode.

Our Parent Mode is free for parents to manage their family devices.

How do I purchase a license for my child's Android device?

You can purchase a license for your family child devices via our Boomerang app.

  1. Open Boomerang (on the device you are using to view and monitor your child’s device – usually your device)
  2. Tap on your child’s device
  3. Tap on Purchase via Google Play
  4. Follow the usual steps to buy an in-app purchase via the Play Store.

Parent devices using our app in “Parent” mode do not require a license. In our setup wizard, this is the “Manage Family Devices” step.

How do I purchase a license for my child's Apple iOS device?

Currently Boomerang for iOS is free for one year. We do plan to add an in-purchase option in the near future so Download Boomerang now from the App Store.

App Store Badge

How It Works

Can you view SMS messages from the child device in the parent app?

Yes, our Android and iOS app when used in parent mode will provide detailed text message history for both flagged messages for bad words or unknown numbers and all other messages.

Kinds of messages we collect:
  1. SMS: these are normal text based messages that do not contain images, videos or other content.
  2. MMS: we currently do not collect images, videos or content in this type of message but we do log them as an MMS message so you know a piece of content was sent or received on your child’s device.

Note: 

Text message logging is currently only available for child devices using the Android operating system. We currently do not log messages from Apple’s iMessage.

I want to collect the contents of SMS text messages

Android smartphones only

By default, Boomerang only collects the numbers and times text messages have occurred. If you wish to collect the contents of text messages, you must enable it in the Boomerang web dashboard.

  1. Login to the Boomerang web dashboard
  2. Click a child device
  3. Click on the Text Messages tab
  4. Click on Collect SMS Content in the Message Log.

We will now collect the contents of the text messages your child sends and receives.

Note:

  • We always collect the contents of a text message if the number is unknown or the text contains inappropriate words.
  • Content from previous messages will not be collected.
  • We do not collect the contents of MMS text messages (those containing images, videos and sounds)

Can I block Text Messages from certain numbers?

In the fall of 2015, Google made changes to the Android operating system that no longer allows the blocking of text messages by number or content. However, we notify Parents when certain numbers text your child and/or your child texts certain numbers. We proactively notify Parents via push notification to parent device running Boomerang in parent mode and also send parents an email when the following events occur:

  • My child texts an unknown number or an unknown number texts my child
  • Inappropriate word is used in a text message
  • A blacklisted number texts my child or my child texts a blacklisted number

In addition an Alert entry is made in the web dashboard, https://app.useboomerang.com/My and you’ll get a summary via our daily emailed activity reports.

Can you view photos ideos take on my child's device?

No. This is an area that we have on our roadmap to explore. Contact us if this would be an important feature for you and what type of device you are using.

Can you monitor any social media apps today? Roadmap?

We currently do not monitor anything that occurs inside social media apps. We monitor how much time is spent on them on Android devices an allow parents to block individual apps on Android and by age ratings on Apple iOS.

Recommendation: 

Bark – https://www.bark.us/
Bark detects messages containing cyberbullying, sexting and signs of depression or suicidal thoughts — without you having to spend hours reading your child’s digital activity. Popular platforms such as, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more are currently supported.

Your website says it can monitor the YouTube app on Android. Is that accurate and is that information sent to the parent app?

Yes, we are the world’s first parental control app to monitor viewing history, search history and if enabled, block access to the YouTube app’s Settings so parents can enforce Restricted Mode for a safer experience on YouTube.

Our parent mode, available for Android and iOS devices, can then review YouTube app history via your child’s Reports.

Mobile Device Reports

Recommendation: 

On your child’s device, open YouTube > tap YouTube App Settings and turn OFF AutoPlay and turn ON Restricted Mode. Then return to our web dashboard to enable Lock YouTube Settings which will block access to the YouTube app Settings. Need help? Contact us.

How can I track my child’s web browsing?

Boomerang can manage web browsing with our free cloud-based safe browser, SPIN.

Other browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari are not supported.

SPIN enforces Google’s SafeSearch for search results and image results that are appropriate for younger audiences. SPIN will be prompted for install after you complete the Boomerang installation in Child Mode.

Boomerang will then be able to do the following when SPIN is installed:

  • Track and review browsing history
  • View and edit the filtered Content Categories.
  • Allow only specific websites to open or block specific

SPIN is available from Google Play and App Store (tap on the badges below to get it now!). SPIN can be used by itself too and enforces Google’s SafeSearch and filter 20 content categories, for free!

Boomerang Google Play badge

Boomerang AppStoreBadge

How do I still allow an app anytime outside of curfew time (Scheduled Screen Time)?

This feature is for Android devices. 

Our default behavior is to block all apps once your child’s Scheduled Screen Time has ended. If you wish to exclude specific apps from this curfew, feel free to login to our web dashboard with your email and password used to create your account and follow these steps.

  1. Click on your child’s Android device
  2. Click on the Always Allowed tab
  3. Add additional apps or use the ones already listed
  4. Check the Allow 24/7 checkbox

Within seconds, your child will now be able to use that specific app any time, even outside of your Scheduled Screen Time.

Websites and Phone Numbers will always work and do not require the above steps.

Can my kids still call me after their Screen Time is up?

Android Only

Yes, the phone app will always be allowed. To make it easier, you can add your phone number to the Always Allowed list which presents itself anytime an app is blocked or if time is up. In addition, Emergency (911) always works and is never blocked.

How do I block unknown incoming numbers calls?

Android Only

Login into the web dashboard, https://app.useboomerang.com/My, click on the Device, then the Calls tab and check off “Allow calls from address book only” – this means that only numbers in the Contacts app will be able to be called and call in.

Does Boomerang support Android 7 (Nougat)?

Yes. Our testing shows that we provide the same, solid experience from Android 5.x and higher.

Found an issue? We’d love to hear from you.

How do I set up a Geofence?

Login to our web dashboard, click on the Geofence tab to get started.

Click on the “+” sign on the left side to create a new Geofence. Navigate the Google Map to your desired location (you can also enter a specific address) and double click to start the creation of a surrounding area that would form a Geofence.

Geofence selection

Create a Geofence.

Once the Geofence has been created, you need to assign to a Device. Click on Device → Position → Geofence. Select a Geofence you wish to assign to this Device and the default schedule allows the Device to be allowed outside of the Geofence anytime – choose the desired schedule for this Geofence.

Assign Geofence

Assign a Geofence to your child’s device and set the reoccurring schedule.

Example: your child has after school band practice and decides to skip it to go to a friend’s house instead. Since you’ve set a geofence for the band practice time, you’ll receive a notification if your child’s device goes outside of this geofence during the schedule time. 

Troubleshooting

I forgot my password. What do I do?

Follow the following steps:

  1. Visit our Forgot Password page
  2. Enter your email address (this is your username)
  3. We will send you reset instructions via your email (usually within 30-60 seconds)

How do I prevent Boomerang from being removed by my child?

For Android Devices

SAMSUNG DEVICES only: login to our web dashboard, click on a family devices and then click on the Settings tab. You will see several options here but for the purpose of this question, put a checkbox beside “Require Password for Uninstall” and “Force Automatic Date and Time Synchronization”.

ALL OTHER DEVICES: In order to get to the Device Administrator, the child has to have access to the Android Settings. Parents can block Settings easily by going to the web dashboard, click on a family devices then on the Applications tab checking off “Block Settings” under Top Blocked Apps.

ALL DEVICES and our Default Behaviour

Your child would have to go to Device Administrator, see a warning message and still proceed in order to deactivate Device Administrator. Once Device Administrator is deactivated, then your child can uninstall Boomerang (drag and drop it to the top of the screen or use the Application Manager). When this occurs, we proactively notify Parents via the primary contact person email and also send a push notification to device(s) running Boomerang in Parent Mode.

For Apple Devices (iPhone, iPads, etc)

Boomerang installs two components to all iOS devices:

  1. Our App
  2. Device Management profile in Settings → General → Device Management.

You can leverage a built-in restriction in iOS which will not allow your child to remove any added apps to their device. Due to how Apple limits certain parts of iOS, we cannot manage this feature at the moment with Boomerang. Here’s how to enable this option on your child’s device (this applies to iPods, iPhones and iPads):

  1. Tap Settings > General
  2. Tap Restrictions
  3. Tap Enable Restrictions and enable a Passcode (don’t forget this Passcode or make it too easy to guess)
  4. Tap Delete Apps to switch it off
  5. Press Home and you’re all set!

We can only restrict the removal of our app with this restriction. Apple doesn’t allow us to add a passcode to our Device Profile. We do provide the user with a notification when it is removed. Opening Boomerang will reinstall the Device Profile.

Reference: https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201304

How do I delete a device from my group?

Login to the web dashboard, and in your devices list, click on the icon besides the device name (refer to screenshot below). Once the device has been deleted from My Account, our app will log you out on the device you delete and will no longer be managed by Boomerang. You can rejoin your family group again with our onboarding steps.

If you no longer need Boomerang on this device, make sure to also remove the app from any devices no longer being managed.

Delete Device menu

How do I change my device settings?

After the initial setup via our apps – Android or iOS – you can make any changes such as screen time schedules, application and web blocking and also track location via our web dashboard. We recommend you access our web dashboard via a laptop or desktop though a large enough tablet will work too.

Login with your email and password you used in creating your account.

Login here – https://app.useboomerang.com/My

I got a notification to update Boomerang but can’t - help!

This is a consequence of us working well – many parents block access to the Google Play Store so that their child is not able to download new apps and this is popular enough to have made our “Top Blocked Apps” list in the web dashboard, https://app.useboomerang.com/My.

So let’s uncheck Play Store under the Top Blocked Apps, perform the upgrade and then check it back as blocked.

An app in the Always Allowed list is getting blocked (Third party keyboards)

There could be a couple of reasons for this. Use the following steps to troubleshoot the issue and if you are still not successful, please email our support team at support@useboomerang.com.

  1. Google Keyboard installed (or third party keyboards)? Third party user installed keyboard apps like Google Keyboard are treated as an app. These will get blocked when time’s up and will result in app getting blocked even though it’s in the Always Allowed list.
    • Fix it: add Google Keyboard to your child’s Always Allowed list and check Allow 24/7 so it doesn’t get blocked after the Scheduled Time.
  2. In the web dashboard, is the 24/7 box checked beside the app your child’s trying to open? If time’s up and the 24/7 checkbox is not checked, apps will adhere to the Schedule Screen Time.
    • Fix it: login to the web dashboard > click on your child’s device > navigate to the Always Allowed tab and check the Allow 24/7 checkbox on apps you are OK with being opened anytime, even outside of the Scheduled Screen Time.

Make sure to force a manual refresh on your child’s device by opening Boomerang > tapping on the 3 dots then Refresh Status.

How do I transfer my license to another device?

  1. Login into the web dashboard
  2. Delete the old device by clicking on the screwdriver and hammer beside the device name. This will automatically free up the license
  3. Install Boomerang on the new device in Child Mode – it will install in the 14 day evaluation
  4. Go to Account and Licensing (http://app.useboomerang.com/My/Settings/Licensing) and click in the empty box to find the new device and add the license to it

How do I uninstall Boomerang from my device?

For all Android Devices
  1. Open Boomerang
  2. Tap 3 dots (top right)
  3. Tap Management
  4. Enter your family group password
  5. Tap Uninstall Application.

You may need to remove Device Administrator permissions in Security settings (you will be prompted for this).

Even though we do protect Boomerang from uninstalling, if your child does remove Boomerang from the Device Administrator, Parents will receive a notification via email, in-app (if they are using Boomerang in Parent mode) and an SMS will be sent to their phone number notifying that this event occurred.

For iOS Devices

Boomerang installs two parts to all iOS devices. The following 2 steps will guide you in removing all traces of Boomerang from your iOS device.

  1. Hold down the Boomerang icon (until it shakes) and remove the app as per normal iOS procedure.
  2. On your iOS device, you will also need to remove the Device Management profile from Settings → General → Device Management.

About Huawei and Xiaomi Battery Managers

Background: 

On some of the more recent Huawei and Xiaomi devices, they’ve included a battery manager feature to monitor apps that may drain the battery more than normal. Boomerang does get flagged as one of those and needs to be manually added to the list of exemptions. Please note, it may also be possible this is occurring on other hardware manufacturers – these steps may apply.

Here’s how: 

  1. Go to Android Settings
  2. Search for “battery”
  3. Tap Battery manager
  4. Tap Protected apps
  5. Look for Boomerang in the list and tap the toggle ON

Huawei and Xiaomi battery manager

 

Additional tip: 

From our web dashboard, it is possible to block access to the Battery Manager once you’ve completed the steps above. Login to our web dashboard, click on your family settings then on the Settings tab, check the checkbox “Block Power Saving Settings”.

Device position is not accurate

The location of your device leverages both the built-in GPS and the WIFI antenna. If any of these are switched off, the accuracy may be impacted. You can confirm if the GPS function is working by reviewing the options in the Boomerang Web Dashboard under Devices → Position → Settings.

GPS Accuracy

Settings for GPS accuracy.

You may also review the settings on your Android device by going to Settings → Location Services. Confirm that the GPS Satellite checkbox is checked.

Device data is not being updated

Device data such as call logs, messages and browsing history, are collected and sent on a daily schedule to the Boomerang servers.

Sending data on a daily basis is the optimal approach in terms of keeping a low footprint on data plan and battery usage.

If you wish to change the check-in frequency, you may do so in the Boomerang Web Dashboard under Settings → Family Settings → Agent Lifetime.

Agent Lifetime

Changing the check-in time for the Boomerang agent.

Our recommendation is to manually request a check-in by clicking on the hammer logo on the right of the Device name and selecting “Request Check-in”.

Request Checkin

Requesting your child’s device to check in for data collection and updates to its status.

Why do I see "Prorected by Boomerang" in the notification area?

Android only

This is normal behaviour for Boomerang when Control this Device is selected. If parents want to remove this persistent notification, you can do so by navigating to Settings > Application Manager > unchecking Show notifications.

Protected by Boomerang

Why do I keep getting “Out of Geofence Notifications”?

Check your Geofence setting to ensure that it is not on the border of your home and/or school and make it broader as it could be set on the edge and we’d recommend a 200 meter (100 yards) buffer ideally as GPS is not perfect and can report locations that are slightly off from the actual location.

Sporadic collection of information (calls, texts, etc.) *in progress*

Android only

You may experience collection issues on certain types of Android devices. The mix of hardware and Android versions is a constant challenge we work with when supporting our customers but want to share some of our knowledge in things we check for first.

  1. Are you using the latest version?
  2. Is the device communicating with our servers?
    • Refresh Status: Open Boomerang on your child’s device > tap on three dots (top right) > Update Status.
    • Typically within 10 seconds we should get an update to our servers which will include any new texts, calls, web history, location, etc.
  3. Multi-User – does your child use a second account on their Android device?
    • On Samsung devices, we can disable the creation of additional users and disable the Guest mode account. We have this turned on by default.
    • For non-Samsung devices, please check if there are additional users on your child’s device – we only work with the current user and do not support the Multi-User feature.
  4. Safe Mode – is your child booting their device into this mode?
    • On Samsung devices, we disabled this option by default.
    • On non-Samsung devices, you may need to ask your child if they are booting up in this mode as it will bypass all protection.
  5. Is your child using the default texting app?
    1. We’ve found some carriers will modify the stock texting app (ie: Verizon Message+). Please try Google’s default messaging app for texting, Messenger and report back to our support team if text messages are being collected.

I get the Error "New MDM payload does not match with the old one" (iOS Devices)

You will encounter this error when installing the Boomerang Device Profile on an iOS device that already has another Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile installed on the device.

How to fix

If this error is displayed, you need to perform the following steps on the iOS device:

  1. Tap on Settings > General > Profiles > Device Management.
  2. Remove the existing MDM Profile.
  3. Open Boomerang on the device again and we will try again.