Amber Alert Stuns Smartphone Users

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We’ve come a long way from placing missing children’s pictures on milk cartons. With the expansion of technology, alert systems to help locate missing children has gone high-tech. New systems like SecuraChild uses social-media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, to send out email blasts and text messages whenever a child is reported missing through the site.

An Amber Alert was issued yesterday afternoon by the CHP for a 13-year-old child from Oakland. The girl was abducted by a 35-year-old man driving a 2001 red Infiniti Qx3 sedan with California plates 6JFM648. How do I know that? I, like many other Android and iPhone users, received an alert on my phone. The emergency alert, which was sent via text, had vital information on the abduction. The first text I received was at 3:22 PM, while I was still in class. I received another one a few hours later, and an update this morning at 10:16 AM. Abduction cases, much like public relations, is time sensitive. Getting the message to the mass audience in a timely matter is essential. I’m pretty busy throughout the day, and don’t really watch the news until later at night. Had I not received the Amber Alert text, I wouldn’t have known about it until seven hours after the abduction. Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, a lot of us receive initial news updates through social media sites.

Retweet. Share. Like.

With the click of a button, we’re able to not only receive information, but also spread the word to others. Technology of all types places information in our faces, regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. How many times have you driven on the freeway and noticed an alert board flashing details, giving information on where the suspect was last seen? Bringing awareness is the main goal, and the use of social media is bridging that gap.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, social media has helped to resolve and recover 98.5 percent of amber alerts since 2005. 98.5 percent. That’s beyond impressive. Of 1,451 notifications from 2005 to 2009, 1,430 children have been found.

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