Missing American Children

The hashtag #every90seconds started to trend in social media as part of an education campaign to highlight just how often and easy can a child go missing. So just how and where was this statistics gathered in the first place? Read on and find out.

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Kids' Toy

In 2015 alone, a total of 460,699 children were missing as reported by the FBI. Additionally, 1 out of 5 of these children were forced into sex trafficking. Other cases involved were kidnapping or other dangers.

But the 90-second statistics does not just pertain to the dangers of society. In 2002, a study conducted by the US Department of Justice counted roughly 800,000 missing children who have either run away, gotten abducted, or being forced to leave. Among these, 115 were confirmed to be kidnapped. The rest of the cases were defined as “benign,” meaning a majority of parents gave up on their children or lost track of them along the way.

When the public hears the word “missing,” they immediately associate it with possible abduction. While the numbers are quite alarming, there are a lot of misconceptions about it as well. Prof. David Finkelhor, who co-authored the 2002 study and is a director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, explains the misconception about the term “missing”:

“There are lots of reasons why a child may go missing—they may have run away or failed to come home on time—and cases like this may be worrying, but they are very different from the case of a child being kidnapped by a stranger in the street.”

Lonely Child

Finkelhor also describes kidnapping as being abducted by a stranger and detained ranging from an overnight period to permanently, or being whisked at least 50 miles away from their home. He also defined “benign missing,” which was discussed earlier.

Still, that does not eliminate the need to address the issue of missing children. Though the numbers have not gone up since 2002, cases of missing children should be taken seriously first and foremost by their parents and primary guardians.

One of the easiest ways to keep track of them and secure their safety is by taking advantage of the technology that is available in the market. According to Finkelhor, advanced technology has played a part in making life easier for parents and children.

“The biggest change has been the acquisition of cell phones, which allows parents and children to stay in touch with one another. So for example, ‘benign missing’ episodes are likely to have declined a great deal because parents can call and find out what’s happening,” he said.

Lost Child

Parents can also make use of GPS technology to really ensure the safety of their children. Trackimo is one of the most reliable devices out there. It comes with an application that has a user-friendly interface that enables you to check on your children’s real-time locations.

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Amanda Thomas