The Internet is a fairy tale bursting with memes, copyright-infringing music videos uploaded to YouTube, Wikipedia articles and, of course, the no man’s land that is 4chan.
It can also be a terrible place, where strangers behind a screen can steal your identity — and your children.
Families in Oakland gathered last week in honor of National Missing Children’s Day, which warned locals to be wary of their kids’ activity outside the home, and online.
The Take 25 campaign, which takes place annually from May 1 – 25, asks families to set aside 25 minutes on any day of the campaign to talk to their children about how to stay safe and prevent abduction.
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told Oakland North the events were a successful way to discuss safety and exchange ideas that could save children:
“This is an opportunity for us to really stress the importance of keeping our children safe. Child exploitation is a serious problem, and we all have responsibility to do what we can to address it.”
Many children in America have access to technology, making it a hot topic of discussion. Parents like Teresita Hernandez said that she disables location-finding services whenever her son uses her tablet or phone for games.
Oakland police declined to provide statistics on missing children in Oakland, but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that nearly 2,000 children go missing a day nationwide.
That’s 800,000 children annually.
Around 200,000 of those are abducted by a family member. Another 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, with sexual abuse being a principal motive.
Since National Missing Children’s Day was first recognized in 1983, NCMEC received 3.5 million calls on its missing-children hotline. At least 175,200 have been recovered through the organization throughout the past 29 years.