HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD?

Madeleine McCann was 3 when she disappeared from her bed at a holiday resort Praia da Luz, Portugal. She was supposed to be sleeping in an apartment, but when her parents checked on her for the last time, they discovered that the girl is missing. Though there were several theories concerning Madeleines disappearance like kidnapping or accident resulting in death, her whereabouts remain unknown to this day.

She is 19 if she is still alive.

Etan Patz was 6 when he disappeared on his way to school bus stop in New York, USA. He was supposed to get to school himself for the first time but he never got here. Though there were some suspects and one of them actually confessed that he murdered the boy, his body was never found. He – the first child that appeared on the photo on a milk carton – was declared legally dead on June 19, 2001.

He is 50 if he is still alive.

Andrew Gosden was 14 when he disappeared in London, United Kingdom. He left his home and bought one-way ticket to London, where he was seen for the last time, vanishing into thin air in the middle of a city center believed to be one of the best monitored places in the world. Though there were numerous theories aiming to explain his fates, the boy remains missing to this day.

He is 29 if he is still alive.

Michael Dunahee was 4 when he disappeared from a playground in Victoria, Canada. He was with his parents and he disappeared literally meters from them. Though the investigation regarding disappearance of the boy was one the largest ones in Canada, Michael still remains missing.

He is 36 if he is still alive.

There are many more names on this list- those presented above are only several ones that hit the headlines, but we cannot forget about cases that did not get that much media attention. The numbers are horrifying, though. In the United Kingdom an estimated 112,853 children are reported missing every year and in the United States these numbers reach 460,000.

The world nowadays is not a safe place. Crimes, assaults, abuse are signs of the times and children, as the ones who often are not aware of the possible danger, unfortunately, are the most prone to get hurt. If you have children, you want to protect them from any kind of harm. But no matter how vigilant and careful you are, there is no possibility that you will always keep an eye on your child. Sometimes it just takes seconds to let your kid out of your sight. There are some methods, though, that can help you to ensure the safety of your child.

GPS watch with GSM communication and SOS function is a device that will help you to monitor the location of you kid. The watch is equipped with a GSM module allowing for fast telephone connection and GPS to determine the location of your child. There is also an SOS button that can be used in case of emergency to signal that the child is in danger. What is more, the watch contains a special geofence function that allows to set an area where the child can safely move. When the zone is crossed, the message is sent to the parent.

When you have an older child, it is possible that she or he walks home alone after school or extra activities. The risk of being assaulted is always higher when the kid is alone, in the dark, late at night or in a bad neighborhood. When kids find themselves in a dangerous situation or they suspect that something wrong may happen soon, they may use a mini personal alarm that, when activated, emits a loud signal alarm of up to 130 dB that can frighten the attacker and draw attention of other people around. The signal is very loud (as loud as a jet take-off or a gunshot at close range), and this is harmful to human hearing, so there are high chances that the attacker will back out.

Sometimes children go missing and sometimes they decide to go missing. It is true especially in the case of teenagers who meet someone in the web and run away from home to meet their new friends who often are not the ones they said they are. Internet friendships are very risky because you never know who is on the other side of the screen. Gullible teenagers who feel lonely easily trust the others if they seem to care about them, that is why it is important to be vigilant and careful. If you suspect that your child may get into a shady online relationship, you may use a keylogger which is a great tool for parental control. It gives you an access to your child online chat content, or visited web pages history. It does not require any additional software and is invisible for antivirus programs, so your child will not know that it is installed on the computer.

A missing child without a doubt is something that may devastate even the strongest parent. When a child disappears, services always act immediately as the time is the most important factor in such cases. However, sometimes it is not enough and some of the missing kids are never found- neither dead nor alive. On the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children there is a Have You Seen Me? section. It contains posters of missing kids from of all over the world. Some of them disappeared recently, some of them are missing for a long time. The longest records go back in time to 1947 – Kenneth Hager from Baltimore, Maryland is 86 if he is still alive. There is no general profile of a lost child: there are kids of different age, nationalities, races and backgrounds- it can be literary anyone. There is no guarantee that these kids will ever make it home.

Where are they? What happened to them? Are they still alive?

The parents of missing children ask themselves these question every day, knowing too well that they may never find the answers they are looking for.