I’ve been avoiding this story. When you have children of your own, especially the same age as a child in the news with an uncertain fate, you can’t help but conjure up horrific images in your own mind of the “what if’s”.
Children go missing everyday. In search of numbers on the internet, I have found only statistical numbers for 2000. In that year :
- In 2000 – 876,213 missing persons (adults and juveniles) were reported missing to the police and entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.
- For the fifteenth time in the eighteen years since the passage of the Missing Children’s Act in 1982, the number of missing persons reported to the police increased. The 2000 reports were up 1% over 1999. The total increase since 1982 is 468% (154,341 entries in 1982 vs. 876,213 in 2000).
- The FBI estimates that 85% – 90% of missing persons are juveniles. Thus, in approximately 750,000 cases (or 2,100 per day) the disappearance of a child was serious enough that a parent called the police, the police took a report, and the police entered that report into NCIC.
- In 1990 Congress passed the National Child Search Assistance Act, mandating an immediate police report and NCIC entry in every case. Since 1990, NCIC missing persons reports have increased 32%.
- The primary NCIC categories in which missing children reports are entered are:
- “Juvenile” – 685,617 cases, up .2% over 1999 (police enter most missing child cases in “Juvenile”, including some non-family abductions where there is no evidence of foul play).
- “Endangered” – 120,726 cases (adults and juveniles), an increase of 5.8% over 1999 (defined as “missing and in the company of another person under circumstances indicating that his or her physical safety is in danger”).
- “Involuntary” – 31,539 cases (adults and juveniles), a decrease of 1.1% from 1999 (defined as “missing under circumstances indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary; i.e., abduction or kidnapping”).
Here’s a scary statistic from 2006:
According to the latest online victimization research
· Approximately one in seven youth online (10 to 17- years-old) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.
· Four percent (4%) received an aggressive sexual solicitation – a solicitor who asked to meet them somewhere; called them on the telephone; or sent them offline mail, money, or gifts.
· Thirty- four percent (34%) had an unwanted exposure to sexual material – pictures of naked people or people having sex.· Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing – episodes that made them feel very or extremely upset or afraid – forty-two percent (42%) told a parent or guardian. [David Finkelhor, Kimberly J. Mitchell, and Janis Wolak. Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2006, pages 7-8, 33.]
· 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood.
[D. Finkelhor. “Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse.” The Future of Children: Sexual Abuse
of Children, 1994, volume 4, page 37.]
Most of these statistics can be found at missingkids.com
As one of the statistics above, myself, I certainly don’t want my son to face the same fate.
What happened to Maddie is every parents worst Nightmare.
This has gotten a lot of coverage, worldwide. Why? Because of the ease she was taken.
Some are questioning the parents. How could you leave your kids alone in the room?
For all those questioning, I say, “Shut Up”. You’ve done it too. Maybe not a hotel room, maybe their own room. How many times have you taken the trash out while your kids were asleep? Went and hung out in your backyard on a nice warm evening, the children sleeping safely in the house? If someone had their eye on your child, it wouldn’t matter where you were. When they are ready to try and grab your child they will. They will wait for you to make a mistake, to get complacent as we all can do.
From Court Tv’s Crime Library (A very informative site) :
The most reliable research available indicates that there are only 100-130 cases of stranger abductions a year in the
United States. These events are most frequently committed by males (86%) who are between the ages of 20 and 39 (57%). Again, the child was taken from an outdoor area in 54% of the cases but in 16% of the cases, the victim was abducted from his own yard or home.
Sometimes they are standing right next to you as in the case of Jaime Bulger, one of the most horrifying Child abduction cases I’ve ever read. (Warning, this story is highly disturbing).
My point is, you can’t have your eyes on your kids at all times.
I can imagine Maddie and her family’s day….3 kids, Nice warm day. I’m sure they were all worn out by the evening. Maddie’s parents were probably thinking about a nice quiet evening after a fun-filled but wearing day. They did everything we would of done. Checking on the kids every 15-20 minutes. That’s why this case has made Worldwide Coverage. Because in some way, we all can relate.
A couple of days ago I was stressing my feelings about the situation to my Mother.
And I told her this.
“Mom, I know this is going to sound…”Big Brotherish” and Paranoid but, If I could track my child via GPS, I’d do it in a heart beat. Wouldn’t even think twice. If it cost me a 100 dollars to call every time my son wasn’t where he was supposed to be or I feared anything, I would pay it everyday.”
Better safe then sorry. Well..to my surprise, this is actually an option.
Cell Phone companies offer GPS tracking thru your phones .
GPS-Enabled Cell Phones
The increased demand for enhanced 911 (e911) emergency calling capabilities, stimulated by the events of 11 September 2001, has pushed forward GPS tracking technology in cell phones. At the end of 2005, all cell phone carriers were required to provide the ability to trace cell phone calls to a location within 100 meters or less.
To comply with FCC requirements, cell phone carriers decided to integrate GPS technology into cell phone handsets, rather than overhaul the tower network. However the GPS in most cell phones are not like those in your handy GPS receiver that you take hiking. Most cell phones do not allow the user direct access to the GPS data, accurate location determination requires the assistance of the wireless network, and the GPS data is transmitted only if a 911 emergency call is made.
Also BrickhouseSecurity.com offers GPS & Locator tracking devices for younger children and older :
From the site:
When the individual leaves a user-defined range, an alarm sounds on the portable Base Unit carried by the parent. The Base Unit can be put into “Find Mode,” used to assist in directing parents back to their children. Each Base Unit can monitor up to 4 tamper-proof Bracelets simultaneously, allowing up to 4 children to be monitored from a single Base Unit. Additional bracelets sold separately.
If the tamper-proof Bracelet is removed from the child’s wrist, a tamper alarm sounds instantly at the Base Unit to alert parents. Because the ionKids Child Monitor & Locator signal is not transmitted via cell towers, there are no recurring monthly charges. For added peace-of-mind, this unit comes with a 1 Year Factory Warranty against product defects.
Other websites I found for GPS tracking:
IsaacDaniel Online (He created GPS shoes for adults ) Very Cool! A Children’s line is coming soon.
Maybe you think this screws with the trust between children/teens and adults or you’re thinking of Privacy issues. But when it comes to your kids, Privacy isn’t as important as keeping them out of the hands of a killer or sex offender. And Trust, well with teens, we’ve all been there. Could we be trusted? Not completely and you know it! If your teen gives you reason not to trust them, why not GPS them? Most teens won’t ditch their cell phone. 🙂
Think about it. Thinking that, “It could never happen to me” is not an answer. I’m not being pushy, but think about the possibilities of having this technology. And think about not having it, if your child goes missing.
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