Frequently Asked Questions

How does Safe Virtual Neighborhood Work?
Safe Virtual Neighborhood (SVN) is an application that resides on your child’s iPhone, Android device or other smartphone device. SVN compares the information from people sending messages to your child’s device against participating law enforcement databases of sex offender information. If a registered sex offender account sends your child a message through text, email or Snapchat, or calls their phone, we notify you. SVN can also monitor your child’s location and notify you if the device is within close proximity of a sex offender’s residence.

SVN analyzes email communications and tracks location on all iPhone and Android devices. Presently, SVN can only monitor phone and text communications on Android devices. Apple does not currently allow outside applications to have access to phone activity. While we are working on a solution to make phone activity available on iPhones, we strongly recommend you switch your children to Android devices to provide enhanced safety.

How is SVN different from other parental control applications?
Information on registered sex offenders’ communication accounts is not publicly available. SVN is currently the only application using this offender information, which is provided directly by law enforcement. SVN is the only app that alerts parents if a known sex offender has contacted their child.
Will my child be safe after I start using Safe Virtual Neighborhood?
No application can guarantee that your child will never receive any unwanted communications. However, your child will certainly be safer using SVN since the app monitors communications from people who are known to prey on children.

The sex offender data is not always collected accurately through law enforcement, and offenders who want to hide their identity can often do so. But we think it’s better to have some safety against known offenders than none.

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?
Log on to your child’s email account and scroll down to the unwanted email. Most email applications will have an option to “block sender.”
How do I block a Snapchat sender?
Open Snapchat on your child’s device (the yellow icon with a ghost logo in it). Swipe down anywhere on the screen. Doing so will open your child’s account profile. Tap “My Friends.” It’s near the bottom of the screen. Select a friend to block. Do so by tapping on their name and holding briefly. Tap ⚙️. It’s in the upper-right corner of the dialog box. Tap “Block.”

If the unwanted chat is not from a friend, then tap the “Chat” bubble and find the unwanted person from the list of people that appears by tapping on their name and holding down briefly. Tap ⚙️. It’s in the upper-right corner of the dialog box. Tap “Block.”

How do I set location services on?
It’s very important to leave location services “on” for your child’s phone so SVN can monitor and send you notifications if your child 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:

For iPhone Devices:
Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and make sure it is set to “ON.” Next, open the Safe Virtual Neighborhood application in the Settings menu and set “Location” to be on “ALWAYS.”

For Android Devices:
1. Open your device’s Settings app.
2. Tap Security & Location OR Location.
a. Note: If you don’t see “Security & Location,” tap “Location.”
3. If you see “Mode,” select “High Accuracy” mode.

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, location or Snapchat account 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 open 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, contact your local law enforcement office. Please note that the sex offender may be in your local sheriff or police department’s jurisdiction—but they will know how to contact other jurisdictions 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 or this particular offender.

If you have other questions or need help you can always Contact Us and we will respond.

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 SVN application, you will receive a warning alert. You will need to 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 Safe Virtual Neighborhood is a tool to help protect them from bad people online. If you receive a notification that the app’s location has been turn off or if it has been deleted, ask your child if they have been tampering with the app. If you think it’s an SVN technical problem and need further help, Contact Us.

 

Does Law Enforcement see my child’s data?
Law Enforcement will not have access to any of your child’s data unless you authorize it. SVN will keep a record of any data that involves sex offender alerts. SVN will store the information pertaining to sex offender contact for a period of in case the child deletes the information. However, the data is your private data and cannot be shared unless you authorize it.
Can I still use other parental control programs along with Safe Virtual Neighborhood?
Yes, SVN should not interfere with any other parental monitoring products. SVN 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 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, contact your local sheriff or police’s office.

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. 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 your local police department.

Contact Safe Virtual Neighborhood

Send us a message, and we’ll get back to you shortly.