Does a US child go missing every 90 seconds? – BBC News

A television news channel in Washington DC recently launched a safety awareness campaign using the hashtag #every90seconds, claiming that one child goes missing in the US, on average, every one-and-a-half minutes.

It’s a figure that’s been widely quoted in US media over the past few years, often for the best of reasons, as in this case. It sounds worrying, because you might reasonably assume it refers to kidnappings, or children in real danger.

But where does the 90-second figure come from?

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Search for missing children often trying

Hearing their daughter say on the phone that she wanted to come home recently ended three weeks of agony for a Rapid City couple.

“The last we saw her was Oct. 28 when a friend picked her up for school,” the girl’s father recalled.

Certain that Lainie — not her real name — was with her much older boyfriend, the parents interviewed her friends, posted photos of the attractive 15-year-old in businesses around town and called the police for help.

The answer from police officers: They could take a report, but the situation did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert.

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Tiffany Sessions missing: Father of missing student urges parents not to give up on missing kids – CBS News

Missing kids. 125? Or 58,200? Depending on who you ask, the numbers are all over the board.

Stranger “stereotypical” kidnappings, which tend to be more long-term kidnappings by strangers, are rare. These are situations where a child is held overnight, transported 50 miles or more, ransomed, killed or held hostage on a more permanent basis. This type of kidnapping occurs less than 150 times a year.

But non-family abductions, which are more short- term kidnappings oftentimes occurring for reasons of sex and/or robbery, are a much more prevalent problem. There are a reported 58,000 every year.

One thing is certain; all these types of abductions are serious threats to our children and can be a long and sometimes heartbreaking journey for their families.

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The White Van: Children Are Less Safe Now than 25 Years Ago Due to Social Media

Growing up as children, my mother used to warn my sister and I about “the white van” that would drive around the neighborhood with the driver or passenger luring kids to their vehicle to kidnap them. My sister and I continue to joke about the van to this day. I still don’t know if it’s based on any true events. Maybe it’s an urban legend or perhaps an attempt from our mother to teach us to be cautious when dealing with strangers.

I clearly remember the timeframe from late elementary school and middle school when my friends and I would run the streets unsupervised. We had a curfew and for the most part stuck to it. Everyone in the neighborhood was a latchkey kid. That entire era brings back great memories and we never had any major problems. Abductions were unheard of to us and our naivety made the idea seem impossible.

Fast forward 25 years and I won’t allow my own children to do what I was doing at the same age. It’s not that I’m overprotective, it’s just that we live in a totally different society. On one hand, it protects my children from “the white van”, but at the same time it pushes them towards cell phones and computers for interaction. For the most part, when I was growing up, someone had to be extremely brazen to abduct somebody in broad daylight. Now a days, these same degenerates can mask who they are and groom their victims online over time. They can create a false sense of security over weeks or months to make their victims feel comfortable.

This article isn’t meant to provide a solution to the problem or to instruct parents how to raise their children. It’s also not an attempt to bash social media as social media has assisted in the awareness and search for missing children by leaps and bounds. The bottom line is, we live in a different era and the same technology that can help us can also hurt us.