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From milk cartons to Facebook and Google Waze – technology is on our side

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, newspapers carried countless stories about missing children who were reunited with their family after someone saw their picture on a milk carton and subsequently recognised them. Nowadays, more advanced methods, such as social media and apps, are used to bring missing children cases to the attention of the public.

The six-year-old Etan Kalil Patz was the first missing child to appear on milk cartons in the United States, in 1984, as part of a campaign run by the National Child Safety Council. Later, missing children were publicised on grocery bags, videotapes, television commercial, toll tickets, trucks, billboards, utility bills, pizza boxes, telephone directories, and beyond.

However, as the vice president of the National Child Safety Council, Gaylord Walker, recently said, “The milk cartons program ran its course” (read here).

Technology can save lives

Today, missing children cases reach more people than ever with the help of technology. AMBER Alerts, for example, are shown on Facebook News Feeds and Google’s navigation app, Waze. By partnering with Facebook and Google Waze, AMBER Alert Europe increases the reach of child alerts so more people can help find a child at risk. This was recently proven by the successful Facebook appeal for a missing 14-year-old from Bristol, UK.

Find out here how you can join the search.