Using social media to rescue kids

Social media is viewed by some as a frivolous time waster. What possible importance could it have? Quite a lot, it turns out. To a child in a dangerous situation, a social media post shared across communities could be life-saving.

Twice in the past year, our county sheriff’s office used social media to locate missing children in kidnap, runaway, or Amber Alert situations. They posted a news release explaining the situation, anonymous tip lines and photos of the child, the vehicle and the suspected abductor.

School district PR professionals, the media and individuals immediately shared the posts, so the news and photos spread quickly across our community. In each case, within 24 hours, the missing child was spotted, police were notified and the child was rescued.

Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and alert community members, Mariah, 14 months old, was removed from an abusive situation. And this week, 13-year-old Samantha was returned to her family.

The next time you see an official alert, do your part to pass it along, and urge colleagues in neighboring school districts to do the same. Taking this action could save a child.

I agree with the wise words of Fred Rogers: “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” 

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