FBI's First App Aims to Help Parents Keep Children Safe
A new iPhone app from the FBI hopes to help parents act quickly if a child goes missing.
Imagine this scenario: You're shopping at the Willow Grove Park Mall with your children. It's a busy day, the mall is crowded, and your hands are full of bags. Suddenly, you realize one of your children is gone. A quick search of the nearby area turns up nothing. What do you do?
Turn to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The bureau has just launched the Child ID app—the first mobile application created by the FBI. The app provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about your children so that it’s literally right at hand if you need it.
If your child should go missing, you can show pictures and provide physical identifiers such as height and weight to security or police officers on the spot. Using a special tab on the app, you can also quickly and easily email the information to authorities with a few taps of your screen.
According to a release issued by the FBI, the app also includes tips about keeping children safe, as well as specific guidance about what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.
The FBI is encouraging parents to share the word about this app with family and friends, especially during community activities that raise awareness on crime and drug prevention. The FBI is also working to publicize the app with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)—its longtime partner in the National Child Identification Program (NCIP).
The NCIP provides a physical kit to gather your child’s pictures, fingerprints, personal characteristics and even DNA to keep with you in case of emergency. The AFCA is producing a public service announcement about the app and will spread the word at various football games during the upcoming season.
Right now, the Child ID app is only available for use on iPhones and can only be downloaded for free from the App Store on iTunes, but the FBI plans to expand the tool to other types of mobile devices in the near future. They'll also be adding new features—including the ability to upload other photos stored on your smartphone.