Social Media, Technology Have Changed Search for Missing Kids


Advances in technology have “fundamentally changed how we search for missing kids,” Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, tells USA Today. When the center opened in 1984, days could pass before a child’s photo was disseminated, Allen said. Now, details about a child or potential abductor can be circulated almost instantaneously through e-mail, text messages, social media and other electronic means.

That’s vital, because “time is the enemy” when a child vanishes, he says. Investigators need to move quickly to prevent an abducted child from being taken out of town, hurt or even killed. “In 1990, our recovery rate for the cases that we intake here at the center was 62%” — and now it’s 97%, he said. “The primary reason for that change is technology.”

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