OffenderWatch App Frequently Asked Questions
How does the OffenderWatch App work?
The OffenderWatch App is an application that resides on your child’s device, iPhone or Android smartphone. With a Protect Plus subscription, the app compares the information from people calling, emailing or sending messages to your child’s device against law enforcement databases of sex offender information. We will alert you if a registered sex offender contacts your child using their registered phone, text, or email. The OffenderWatch App also monitors your child’s location and will notify you if the device is within close proximity of a sex offender’s home address.
How do I track my child?
Adding a child is simple, but be prepared to spend a few minutes setting up the tracking applications. Before you start, find out your child’s email, phone username and password, and if iOS, you will need their iCloud login information. Just follow these steps:
If you haven’t already, install the app on your parent phone.
- Download the OffenderWatch Parent App from the app store onto the parent phone (not the OffenderWatch Kids App).
- Add your email, create a password, then agree to the Terms and Conditions.
Create your parent profile.
- Add your home address and phone number so you can be notified about sex offenders.
- You’re done adding your parent profile. Login to the OffenderWatch App to find sex offenders near you!
Add your child’s profile while on your parent phone.
- On your parent phone, add a child profile with your child’s name.
- Add items to be tracked like your child’s email, or, if iOS, add their iCloud login information.
- Add the child’s phone number when prompted.
- Once you have finished setting up the device, a link will be sent to your child’s phone.
- Go get your child’s phone.
Install on your child’s phone.
- When you created your child’s profile, a link was sent in a message to your child’s phone. Follow the instructions in the message to download the OffenderWatch App on your child’s device.
- There are two steps: 1. Download the OffenderWatch App on your child’s device, and 2. Complete the setup on their phone.
- After completing these two steps, open the OffenderWatch App on your child’s phone.
- It will continue to run in the background without using much battery. If your child accidentally deletes the app, we will know because it will stop tracking. In this case, we will notify you.
Now you can get back onto your parent phone and track your child on the map and find any sex offenders that reside nearby.
What is Child Check In?
Child Check In will send a message to your child asking them to acknowledge their status. This can be useful if their location has not updated in some time. Locations update only when the phone moves in a substantial way. So if your child is stationary for a long period of time, it will show the same location as its last movement indicates. Once the child acknowledges the Child Check In, the location is updated and other information is forwarded to our servers for checking activity. To request a check in, find your child on the map and tap the Check In button. If the location does not update within a few minutes, please contact us at email@example.com for assistance.
How do I set up iCloud for monitoring my child's device?
Setting up iCloud steps
(This may take a few minutes, but your child’s safety is worth it!) You will need your child’s Apple ID and password. We will monitor your child’s iCloud account in the background, so it won’t affect performance of your child’s phone. Forgot my Apple ID? Here is what to do.
STEP 1: Open your child’s profile and click Add iCloud.
Read the instructions. Click Yes, I would like to proceed.
STEP 2: When prompted, enter your child’s Apple ID and Password
- After entering the Apple ID and Password, click Submit. The app will connect to Apple to verify your child’s iCloud account.
- Get your child’s device. You will soon receive a message regarding a sign-in on your family member’s device. Accept the sign-in and then enter the 6-digit authentication code that was sent to your Child’s phone.
Your child’s device is now being monitored and you will get alerted should your child get contacted by a registered sex offender or linger near a registered offenders home.
How do I upgrade to the newest version of the app?
The Offenderwatch App has a parent app and a kids app.
For iOS, either app will auto update if you have your device set to accept auto updates. If you update manually, then the app will incorporate new features after you update the app from the Apple store.
For Android, the parent app may be downloaded from the Google Play store. The parent app will update automatically if you have your device set to do automatic updates. However, the kids app is obtained directly from our servers. When we have an update, we will send a link that can be sent to the child device for updating.
The version number is on the lower right of the login screen. You should be on iOS version 2.17.1 for OffenderWatch Parents and 1.1.4 for OffenderWatch Kids or for Android, version 2.19.0 for OffenderWatch Parents and 1.0 for OffenderWatch Kids.
What is included in the new Free OffenderWatch App?
Find Sex Offenders Near Me
Quickly pinpoint residences of sex offenders currently registered with local law enforcement. Click on the pin to see a photo and details about the offender. Keep aware of offenders near you and use this information to talk to your child about staying away from that location.
Find My Family
It is often difficult to keep track of your child on a bicycle, walking home from school, or visiting grandma. By monitoring your child’s phone, you can track their location as they move about the neighborhood.
Find Sex Offenders Near My Family
Your child is planning to visit a friend in another town or go trick-or-treating with friends in another neighborhood. Now you can track the location of your child, and the location of the residences of registered sex offenders around them.
Get Neighborhood Alerts from Local Law Enforcement
Parents receive an email alert should a registered sex offender move to a residence in or nearby their neighborhood. Parents also receive safety advisories and information directly from local law enforcement. (To get other alerts, such as an alert if a registered sex offender contacts your child through email, phone, or text, you have to upgrade to the Protect Plus subscription.)
Get Help or Contact Local Law Enforcement
- Learn how to speak to your child about sex offenders.
- Get online safety tips.
- Contact local law enforcement or quickly dial 911.
What is included with a Protect Plus Subscription?
In addition to the FREE features of the app, when you add a Protect Plus family annual subscription (only $9.99/year for the ENTIRE family), the OffenderWatch App will alert parents if a registered sex offender contacts your child by email, text message, phone call or if your child’s device lingers near a registered offender’s residence.
Monitor My Child’s Activity
- Parents can see the numbers of text messages, emails, and calls each month for each child.
Alert if My Child is Contacted by a Registered Sex Offender
- Parents are alerted of a contact by a registered sex offender via text, email or phone contact with their children.
- Parents receive a text message and email notification when an alert event occurs with information about the contact and suggestions on what to do.
Alert if My Child Lingers Near a Registered Sex Offender’s Home
- We track each child’s location on a map and if they end up at an offender’s home address, we alert the parent via text and email.
How is the OffenderWatch App different from other parental control applications?
Information on registered sex offenders’ internet and phone accounts is not generally available. The OffenderWatch App is the ONLY app that partners with law enforcement and has access to data about offender emails and phone numbers.
Will my child be safer after I start using the OffenderWatch App?
No application can guarantee that your child will never receive any unwanted communications. However, your child will certainly be safer using the OffenderWatch App since the app monitors communications from people who are known to prey on children.
There is more you can do. Follow these Online Safety Tips.
What do I do if I forgot my family password?
The easiest way is to recover your password is to open the app and click forgot password on the login screen. Now enter your email address and click reset. You will be sent an email with further instructions.
How do I change my password?
If you are logged in, click on Profile located at the bottom right of the screen. Click on reset password. Enter your current password. Then enter your new password twice.
How do I update my home address?
Click on the profile at the bottom right corner of the screen. In the profile, click Edit, then enter your new address.
How do I update the phone number for the parent account?
Click on profile at the bottom right of the screen. In the profile, click Edit, then enter your new phone number.
How do I refer a friend?
How do I change my parent email?
Click on profile at the bottom right of the screen. Click on manage notifications. Then choose the name of the recipient you would like to change and update their email.
How do I change my child’s email?
After logging into the app, click on the child’s name. You will see the Child profile page where you can add and remove emails. Remove the old one and add the new one.
We monitor Microsoft, Yahoo and Gmail addresses. Many school addresses are actually supported by one of these services. Ask your school which one they use.
How do I add another parent?
Click on Profile located at the bottom right of the screen. Click on manage notifications. Now you can add others to be notified. It is not necessary for everyone to have the parent app installed on their phone to be notified.
What offender data is used by the app?
The OffenderWatch App uses data provided by law enforcement agencies who have elected to participate in the OffenderWatch App program, as well as data from other public sex offender registry sources. The offender data includes offender address, as well as phone numbers, email, and other internet identifiers that are not available generally to the public but are made available by law enforcement to aid with community safety.
Because OffenderWatch is a business partner with thousands of agencies in the United States, we have been able to gain access to this information on your behalf.
How do I get a refund?
Did we disappoint you? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
How do I block a phone number from future calls or text messages?
To block a phone number from calling your child in the future, you will need to access the child’s phone, find the phone number in the recent call history, and then access the information on that number. One of the options when you tap the info button will be a choice to “block this caller.”
How do I block emails from a specific address?
How do I set location services on?
It’s very important to leave location services “on” for your child’s phone so the OffenderWatch App can monitor and send you notifications if your child’s device is near a sex offender’s residence. If location services are turned off, you will receive a notification advising you that this feature won’t work.
To turn these services on, follow the steps below:
For iPhone Devices:
1. Open the Settings App.
2. Scroll down to OffenderWatch App.
3. Set Location to be on “Always.”
For Android Devices:
1. Open your device’s Settings app.
2. Select Apps.
3. Select the OffenderWatch App.
4. In App Info, Click on Permission.
5. Turn on Call Logs, Contacts, Location, Phone, SMS, and Storage.
Why would I ignore an offender contact?
Sometimes sex offenders are known to you or your children. They may even be relatives. If you feel that contact with these offenders is not a danger to your child, you can mark a phone number, email, or location as OK so that it is ignored for future alerts. To do this, tap or click the “Ignore This Offender” button next to the alert about that offender. You may want to choose this option so that you’re not constantly alerted about offenders you feel present no risk.
What happens when I contact local law enforcement?
If your child receives a threatening or soliciting message from a registered sex offender, or you suspect criminal behavior, save the texts and images, then contact your local law enforcement office listed in the app or dial 911.
Please note that the sex offender may not be in your local sheriff or police department’s jurisdiction—but they will know how to contact other agencies to get information about the offender. The process may take some time. Be patient. Carefully monitor your child’s communications and talk to him or her about safety with strangers and to avoid this person.
If you have other questions or need help, you can always contact us at email@example.com.
What if my child keeps turning off location services or otherwise disables the application?
If your child turns off location monitoring or disables/deletes the OffenderWatch App, you will receive a warning alert. You should take action when you receive this warning. Sometimes children will try to hide information about who they are communicating with online. Explain to your child that the OffenderWatch App is a tool to help protect them from bad people online. If you receive a notification that the app’s location has been turned off or if it has been deleted, ask your child if they have been tampering with the app.
Apple devices also have a setting that prevents deletion of apps. From the home screen, Tap Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. Make sure Content and Privacy Restrictions is On. Now tap iTunes and App Store Purchases, then set Deleting Apps to Don’t Allow.
If you think it’s a technical problem with the app and need further help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does Law Enforcement see my child’s data?
No, Law Enforcement does not have access to any of your child’s data unless you authorize it. The OffenderWatch App does log certain data related to sex offender contacts and alerts in order to support any subsequent investigation. However, the data is held private and is not shared unless you authorize it.
Can I still use other parental control programs along with the OffenderWatch App?
Yes, the OffenderWatch App should not interfere with any other parental monitoring products. The OffenderWatch App does not monitor all activity on your child’s devices, and some unwanted activity may come from predators who are not registered sex offenders.
However, one of the best safeguards against online predators is talking to your children about what is right and wrong when chatting online.
What do I do if an offender contacts my child?
If you suspect something is wrong, or you receive an alert that an offender has contacted your child, first talk to your child. Ask if he/she knows the person. If not, or if the communication is concerning, save any texts or images. Then contact your local law enforcement listed in the app or dial 911.
How do I find my child's Apple ID and password?
It happens. You or your child didn’t write down your child’s Apple ID or password. That’s OK. You can get that from Apple, but you will need to jump through some security hoops. Here are some useful links from Apple:
Contact Law Enforcement
If a sex offender has contacted your child and you are concerned about the communication, contact your local police or sheriff department listed in the app. Explain that a registered sex offender has contacted your child and request to be connected to the agency in charge of managing the local sex offender registry.
If you suspect abuse, immediately contact local law enforcement office listed in the app or dial 911 or contact the CyberTipline 1-800-THE LOST.