Circle blocks most VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) when the "VPNs and Proxies" category is set to "Not Allowed" and is constantly updating to block more.
That said, you might be concerned that your child is using one to bypass Circle. This article is a guide to recognizing when a Virtual Private Network might be in use on your child's device and how to make sure that is blocked.
What does it looks like when a Virtual Private Network is bypassing Circle?
- Missing or strange history: Rather than seeing the History you expect to see, there may be large chunks of time with only IP addresses appearing (i.e., web addresses that just look like 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206) or odd looking websites.
- Missing or strange usage: You may be seeing a large amount of "Uncategorized" traffic or very odd looking domains appearing in a profile's Usage
What can you do to prevent this?
- Ensure all Circle app permissions are allowed. Use your reference guide here for assistance: Checking Circle App Permissions on Kid Devices
- Check your child's devices for any unrecognized VPNs. These can be installed as apps on mobile devices, as well as extensions to web browsers.
- In the Circle app, set “VPNs and Proxies” to "Not allowed" under their Profile's Filter Settings. This is set to "Not Allowed" for most Filter Levels by default, but it's worth confirming.
- Check any unrecognized websites or IP addresses you see in a Profile's History with the lookup tool found at brightcloud.com. If you know that a particular web or IP address ought to be considered a VPN, please submit the suggestion that the IP be added to the "Proxy Avoid and Anonymizers" web category.
- If your child is using a VPN or proxy to bypass Circle, report it to Circle Support using the buttons below.
Troubleshooting and contacting support
If you notice a Virtual Private Network app or browser extension is not being blocked by Circle with "VPNs and Proxies" set to "Not Allowed," contact our team using the buttons below. Here’s what we’ll need from you for an effective report:
- Confirm that your device is being managed by Circle and can be Paused.
- Identify and remove any VPN from your child’s device.
- Confirm VPNs and Proxies are actually set to “Not allowed.”
- Reboot Circle.
- If the VPN continues to bypass Circle, please gather up the following and send it our way.
- The device name in Circle
- The profile name
- The name of the VPN app or suspect IP addresses
- A screenshot what you are seeing
- Your Circle account email
Other Options for dealing with Virtual Private Networks
- Use iOS Screen Time settings to prevent VPN apps from being downloaded on iOS devices (Settings >> Screen Time >> Content & Privacy Restrictions >> iTunes & App Store Purchases >> Installing Apps >> OFF).
- In the Circle app, set "App Stores and Downloads" to "Not Allowed" for a profile in the Circle app by heading to its Filter settings.
- Block access to browser extensions or new apps using restrictions on the device like an admin. account or built in parental controls.