Monday, July 23, 2012

Your Cell Phone Can Save a Child

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, almost 800,000 children are missing each year.  That’s an average of 2,185 children reported as missing every day.  Of these children, more than 200,000 were abducted by a family member.  That means that over 58,000 were abducted by nonfamily members and 115 of them were “stereotypical” kidnapping which means child does not know the person who took them or only has a slight acquaintance with them.  The outcome of these kidnappings have been holding a child overnight, transporting them 50 miles away or more, killing them, demanding ransom, or intending to keep the child permanently.

For those of you who may not know, in 2003 President Bush authorized and signed the national AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert program as part of the PROTECT Act.  This act confirmed our federal government's role in the AMBER Alert program and appointed the Department of Justice to be the agency that coordinates AMBER Alerts on the national level.  The Department of Justice then partnered with National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and made them the agents to coordinate and distribute AMBER Alerts to other providers. 

When a child 17 years old or younger is reported to authorities as being abducted, and they meet certain requirements, those authorities issue the alert notifying the NCMEC of the information to put in the alert.  In turn, the NCMEC electronically submits this information to Syniverse which then sends the alert to wireless participants.  Those participants then send text messages to those subscribed to receive the messages.  If you have information to report, simply call the number included in the text message. 
“Statistics show the first three hours after a child's abduction are most critical to recovery efforts.” (  

That statement alone should prompt all of us to go to the Wireless Amber Alerts site  or your cell phone provider’s website and register to receive what could be lifesaving texts.  The service is available and completely free of charge, as long as you can receive texts, in all fifty states and you only receive them for your area, defined by the up to five zip codes you can enter at registration, not the entire country.  This service can also be discontinued at any time by going back to the same website and following the easy steps.  Why would you not want to be part of this?  Our government is using a mass media device for something so important and we should all take responsibility to help. 

What if it’s your child that’s gone missing?  Would you sign up then?

For more information on the above topics, please visit:


  1. That is incredible and useful information. In the past several months, I have had a couple of different Facebook friends report news about missing and/or found children in our area, and I was always curious how they got the information when it wasn't on the news or in the paper, and now I know. I will definitely be visiting this website and getting this. Our kids are the single most important people in the world and it is atrocious how they are treated, by family members and strangers alike. We need to take better care of our nation's children, and I couldn't agree more that this simple device is something that we can all do to help.

  2. Believe it or not, I was in Jamestown, ND Wal-Mart roughly 3 months ago and they announced a CODE ADAM alert. It is Wal-Marts way of notifying customers that a child is missing in the store (could possibly be abducted from the store). They provided a description of clothing, description of the child’s physical appearance, age and name of the child over the intercom system. I literally had the worst feeling inside; I just couldn’t image how the mother or father of the child must have felt! I immediately began searching for the little girl. Luckily, within two minutes they had announced that the little girl was safe and back with her parents. Thank goodness!!!!

  3. I do think it is amazing that we have come so far in the past few years with technology, and now instead of seeing technology as a means of predators finding children we are also seeing it as a means of protecting our children and finding those who are lost. As you wrote, those first few hours after a child has been abducted are the most important, since after this time it gets harder and harder to locate those children that have been taken. I often feel very sad as I walk by those “have you seen me?” posters at shopping centers, knowing that they have been there for a long time and very few people have stopped to look. I was very pleased when the amber alert first came out, meaning information could now be broadcast over the air in much the same way a tornado or hurricane warning would. Since then I have only hear it used twice, and each time I was informed that the child had been found and returned to their parents by the following day. We need to start being aware of the threats out there, and take action before someone else does, because I cannot imagine anything worse for parents than losing their child.

  4. Child kidnapping is horrible and sometimes i wonder what really makes people do that. But i guess wondering what goes on in their minds would not help the situation. Like you said, the first few hours are the most important and i believe signing up for amber alert texts is a very good way to go. Utilization of the mass media have really helped because lots of people get to know it faster. I hope they have alert systems on Facebook or some of the social media sites because they really go a long way to spread the information out there.