by Samanda Brace
Every parent has been warned not to take their eyes off of their child. But if that happens, there is now an app for that.
According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, 45,000 children went missing in 2012. However, one in six children has been located as a result of recognition from a photograph.
FindMeID is a new free app by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s MissingKids.ca program that allows parents to store up-to-date information about their child on their smart phone. The information can be sent to authorities in case of an emergency. It also provides parents with the steps they should take if their child is to go missing.
“Parents don’t plan to have a missing child, but we know it can happen. In the event of an emergency, (parents) can grab (their) smart phone and access support,” said Jessica Huzyk, caseworker for MissingKids.ca. For example, if a child goes missing in a mall, the app recommends that they contact mall security.
In Canada, there is no 24-hour limit before police will accept a report about missing children. After an initial search, the app recommends getting in touch with the police immediately. The information stored on the phone can then be sent via email to the police and MissingKids.ca.
The app is supported by the RCMP foundation and the Saskatchewan Integrated Exploitation Unit (ICE). Corporal Candace Benko of the Regina Police Service and the ICE said it will be absolutely helpful in finding missing children. “It allows information to be stored and disseminated instantly,” she said.
Many parents like Brooke Rapitta say they will use the app. “Little children wander away very easily. Anyone could take them or they could just get lost and you can’t find them,” said Rapitta.
“It would be no different than having a health card in my purse,” says Monica Field, a parent of two. Field said the app would save valuable time in finding missing children.
Parents worried about privacy will be happy to find that the app is password protected and that all the information is stored on the phone. Once you delete the app, the information is deleted with it.
The idea for the app started with the Child Find Manitoba I.D. booklets, which contained a photo and critical information about a child. The app is a modern day version and sends reminders to parents to update photos and information.