PARENT GUIDE: GETTING STARTED WITH THE OFFENDERWATCH APP
The OffenderWatch App is an easy to use app that can give parents a sense of ease knowing there is an added layer of protection helping to prevent the unthinkable. Phones and other electronic devices are readily given to children to use but parents can’t always monitor every interaction their kids have on a daily basis.
Through the OffenderWatch App, you can find where registered sex offenders are located near you or your family, have your child check in and let you know they are ok with the click of a button, and with a Protect Plus subscription, if a registered sex offender reaches out to your child through phone, text or email, or if they are too close to an offender’s residence for too long, you get an alert! You can also learn, through our blog posts, about popular apps to be aware of, tips on keeping children safer online, sextortion and more.
HOW DOES THE FREE APP WORK?
The OffenderWatch App is an application that resides on your child’s device, iPhone or Android smartphone and works in the background, not using much battery.
With the FREE version: find registered sex offenders near you or your family members, track your child, get safety tips and get neighborhood alerts from your local law enforcement agency.
To use the free app to its full potential, you first need to add your children and their devices.
HOW TO ADD A CHILD:
STEP 1: Add your child’s profile with your child’s name while on your parent phone.
- Add your child’s phone by tapping Save and Add device.
- Add the child’s phone number when prompted.
- Once you have finished entering the child’s phone number, a link will be sent to your child’s phone. Go get your child’s phone.
STEP 2: Install the app 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.
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 protected] for assistance.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INSTANCES WHERE I MAY NEED TO USE THE FREE FEATURES OF THE APP?
Example 1: Your child says they are going to a friend’s house. Are they really there? Just check the app.
Example 2: Do you know if there are any sex offenders near that friend’s house? Enter the address on the search feature and find out.
Example 3: Haven’t heard from your child in awhile and getting a little worried? Have them Check-in.
HOW TO SET UP PAID FEATURES
If your child has an Android phone, it is already ready to monitor texts and phone calls once you upgrade to Protect Plus, but if your child has an iPhone, there is one more step to set up iCloud monitoring (because Apple won’t let us see the data on the phone). See setup instructions below.
The paid version WILL automatically notify you if your child is too close to an offenders home for a prolonged period of time.
HOW DO I ADD ICLOUD MONITORING?
For iPhone users ONLY: you will have to add iCloud information for monitoring. (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. Enter the 6-digit authentication code that was sent to your Child’s phone.
WHAT TYPES OF EMAIL DOES THE APP MONITOR?
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.
WHY SHOULD YOU UPGRADE TO PROTECT PLUS?
The real question is Why wouldn’t you? For only $9.99/year, you can get a Protect Plus subscription for the ENTIRE family. It’s a no brainer to help prevent the unthinkable.