Social Media And Missing Children Cases

9:14 PM, Mar 19, 2012   |    comments
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About two-thousand children disappear every day according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This weekend, a fifteen-year-old girl vanished in Greensboro. She is safe now with her family.

We posted information about the girl on our News 2 Facebook page. More than 1600 people shared it.

Statistics indicate more missing children are getting reunited with their families than ever before. Back in 1990, only 62 percent of missing children were found. Last year, 97 percent of kids got back home safe.

Those numbers have improved for a variety of reasons, but social media websites like Facebook and Twitter certainly play a role. However, before you post anything about a missing child online, call the police first.

"If you think about how far someone can get in an hour, that hour that you're spending actually trying to find that child...that hour that you're spending on Facebook or you're driving through the neighborhood on your own, think how far that child can already be," Greensboro Police Sgt. Chad Williams said.

Some people think police can't do anything until your child is missing for a certain number of hours. That's not true. They will start working with you from the moment you call. If you know for a fact your child is a runaway, police want parents to be extra cautious before posting anything online.

"If they know the parent or custodian is actually monitoring that site, it's very simple - they're going to shut it down and walk away from it...which could hinder us in trying to locate them," Williams said.

You might also want to take a look at the missing-child quick response guide posted here. Print it out and keep it in a kitchen drawer. Hopefully, you'll never need it.

WFMY News 2

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