Site URL: www.familywatchdog.us
Content: Family Watchdog is an interactive online map that displays the residences of registered sex offenders across the country.
Design: The site appears fairly amateur. There are strange ad placements, and nothing appears to be laid out in a logical manner. There is really only one area that anyone visiting this site would want, and it takes a few minutes to find.
Review: Once users find the map generator, they get a wealth of information. Simply submit a street name, city and state, and Family Watchdog shoots back a map with icons that represent registered sex offenders. Clicking on an icon reveals a picture, name, address, list of convictions, and offender’s age at the time of conviction.
The site’s only downside is that the map takes a while to reload if users drag to a neighboring area. Also, selecting an icon brings visitors to a separate page with the offender’s information. The user experience would be dramatically better if offenders’ bios showed in a separate window or popup.
While obviously not intended for classroom use, this tool allows educators to keep tabs on the population surrounding their school. Many states have laws about offenders living near schools, but it never hurts to look anyway.
Bottom Line: This isn’t a site to visit every day, but occasionally checking in is a good safety measure.