Category Archives: NCMEC

Got 2B Safe – My Rules

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Knowing My Rules for Safety

  1. I CHECK FIRST with my parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything, or getting into a car.
  2.  I TAKE A FRIEND with me when going places or playing outside.
  3.  I TELL people “NO” if they try to touch me or hurt me.  It’s OK
    for me to stand up for myself.
  4.  I TELL my trusted adult if anything makes me feel sad, scared,
    or confused.

Sometimes there are people who trick or hurt others.  No one has the right to do that to you.  So use these rules, and remember you are STRONG, are SMART, and have the right to be SAFE.

Always:

  • CHECK FIRST
  • TAKE A FRIEND
  • TELL PEOPLE “NO” IF THEY TRY TO TOUCH YOU OR HURT YOU
  • TELL AN ADULT YOU TRUST IF ANYTHING HAPPENS

KidSmartz is a child safety program that educates families about preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors.  This program offers resources to help parents, caregivers, and teachers protect kids by teaching and practicing the 4 Rules of Personal Safety using tips, printable activities, quizzes, articles, music, videos, and more.

1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
http://www.missingkids.com

Resources:

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
KidSmartz.org

The Fight For All Children Needs You

.jpg photo of Child Sex Trafficking graphic
The internet has created a lawless space for predators to buy and sell people.

How tech companies are trying to
combat trafficking

Sex trafficking and human slavery are certainly nothing new, but the internet has created a lawless space for predators to buy and sell people.  Today, more than 150,000 escort ads are posted in the US every day, many of them for children.  The human trafficking industry enslaves an estimated 27 million people worldwide.

Now, an organization is turning to the very features of the internet that make trafficking so widespread to combat it.  Thorn partners with technology companies like Google, Pinterest, Facebook and others to help identify and rescue children, and possibly catch predators.

Last month, a video of Thorn founder Ashton Kutcher went viral when he gave very personal testimony to the US Senate on the tragedy of child trafficking.  Earlier this year, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee sponsored a bill that eventually became a law to direct $50 million in federal money annually to combat sex trafficking and human slavery in the US.

Following Kutcher’s Senate speech in February, the White House – led by Ivanka Trump – invited a number of anti-trafficking groups in to discuss what can be done.  Policy proposals may follow.
Traditionally, law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking have been insufficient, given the fluid nature, anonymity and enormous reach of the internet.  Thorn’s approach is interesting because it creates tech tools specifically geared to helping the authorities.

In 2011, law enforcement officials in the US turned 22 million images and videos of child abuse over to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to identify the victims, according to the center’s US Sentencing Commission testimony cited by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times.  In the US alone, 9 million computer IP addresses were tracked sharing child pornography files.  The sheer volume of victims and perpetrators is overwhelming for law enforcement.

Child abuse images are often traded on peer-to-peer networks or inside password-protected chat rooms.  Most buying and selling of sex occurs online, on listings sites like Backpage or Craigslist – where escort ads are posted, and customers text in to make contact.  That’s not illegal.  The challenge for law enforcement is that many of those featured in the ads may be underage girls who are trafficked – mixed in with women posting ads voluntarily.

“These transactions don’t happen in the open,” says Julie Cordua, CEO of Thorn.  “I can go on to backpage.com and put my couch up for sale and if I click the next tab I can buy a 14-year-old for sex, and this is not illegal, because an escort is not illegal.  Every day, hundreds of thousands of ads are posted, and some are children, but how do we know?  It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

Innovations in tech and data science can make that process more efficient.

Thorn is using machine learning, in which computers learn what advertisements represent a child, and create an algorithm to predict what other ads are more likely to be associated with a child.  That, they hope, can reduce the thousands of images of children in circulation.

They’re also using facial recognition software that recognizes signs of aging and can identify children from photos.  They are working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s database of missing children that could be matched to images from online ads.  This helps detectives in tracking down and identifying children.

There is also a new texting application called Befreetexting designed to reach trafficked children who have sporadic access to cellphones.  “These kids are held kind of captive, so they can’t pick up a phone, but they can text, and so we can create a text hotline,” Cordua says.

By sorting through the images to identify which are children, law enforcement can hone in on victims.  The goal is to get to children as quickly as possible.  That’s just one side of the problem.  Creating technology to go after the predators, either the customer or the pimp, has proven more difficult.

Tips For Parents From Kid Smartz

.jpg photo of NCMEC Logo and Kid Smartz Logo
NCMEC Logo and Kid Smartz Logo

GOING OUT CHECKLIST

Heading out for some family fun at an amusement park, movie theater, mall or any other public place?  Use this checklist to make your outing safer.

REVIEW THE KIDSMARTZ RULES

Make sure your children understand the basic rules of safety:

  • Check first before going anywhere.
  • Take a friend everywhere you go.
  • Tell people “NO” if they try to touch or hurt you.
  • Tell a trusted adult if anyone makes you feel sad, scared or confused.

PLAN FOR EMERGENCIES

Look at a map of the facilities and locate information booths or customer service centers.

Carry recent pictures of your children in case they get lost.

You can even take a picture of them on your cellphone just before leaving.

CHARGE YOUR CELLPHONE

Check that your cellphone is charged and your children have the number memorized.  Consider giving older children a cellphone of their own so you can reach them more easily.

PAY ATTENTION TO CLOTHING

Remember what your children are wearing so you can describe their clothing to staff members in case they are lost.

Tip: If your children are wearing bright colors, they will be easier to spot in crowds.

IDENTIFY ADULTS WHO CAN HELP

Teach younger children to look for people like security officers, store employees or park staff members who can help them look for you in case you are separated.

CHOOSE A MEETING SPOT

Instruct older children to go directly to a designated spot, like a store or an information booth, to meet you.  They should never leave or go to the parking lot to try and find you.

PLAN FOR BATHROOM BREAKS

You should always go with younger children to the restroom.  Make sure older children take a friend;  it’s safer than going alone.

When it comes to keeping your child safe, YOU are your child’s best resource!

Kid Smartz
The Next Generation of Got2BSAFE
http://www.kidsmartz.org

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
http://www.missingkids.com
1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678)

NOTE: This is not the property of NOT IN MY WORLD!!!!, we are a self-supporting information center for parents, families, and the public, to help all children, who are the future of our world; by raising awareness to Child Abuse, and it’s lifelong detrimental effects.

We want to say THANK YOU to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of Justice for allowing us the use of so many resources to properly educate our staff, and also to pass along this valuable information and resources.

CHILD ABDUCTION

.jpg photo of NCMEC Logo and Kid Smartz Logo
NCMEC Logo and Kid Smartz Logo

How Can I Stop This From Happening
To My Child

Kid Smartz
The Next Generation of Got2BSAFE
http://www.kidsmartz.org/

Of all the questions that cross parents’ minds when they hear about child abductions, the most common question may be how can I stop this from happening to my child?

Some parents try to protect their kids by teaching them about “stranger danger”– but most child abductions involve a relative or someone the child knows.

Teaching our children to avoid strangers is not enough!

Parents should learn when and where children may be at risk of abduction.  They should also teach kids about these situations and what to do if they occur.  This helps prepare children to act even if the risk of abduction is from someone they know.

When family members abduct

Family abductions occur when relatives break legal custody agreements by keeping kids from their legal guardians.  Family abductions usually involve parents taking their children.  An abduction may be more likely to occur if a parent has:

  • Threatened to abduct or previously abducted the child
  • No strong ties to the child’s home state, but ties to friends and family living in another state/country
  • Engaged in planning activities (e.g., selling a home, securing records)
  • A history of marital issues
  • A history of domestic violence or child abuse

Learn more about the warning signs of family abductions and what you can do to protect your kids. Remember, these warning signs don’t mean an abduction will happen. Also, abductions can occur without any of these warning signs appearing.

What you should know about attempted abductions

Parents should learn when and where kids are most vulnerable in order to better protect them.  In an analysis of attempted abductions, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® found that many:

  • Involved a suspect driving a vehicle
  • Occurred between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Occurred when the child was traveling to or away from school
  • Involved girls and children between the ages of 10 and 14

Teach children to take action

NCMEC’s review revealed one extremely important fact: 83% of children who escaped their would-be abductors did something proactive.  They walked/ran away, yelled, kicked, or pulled away.

This means the best thing a child can do if someone tries to abduct them is take action instead of being passive or polite.

Use this information to set up a safety plan for your kids – and don’t forget to include teens in these conversations!  You can:

  • Point out places they can go for help when walking places like school and the park.
  • Remind them to travel and stay with a group.
  • Warn them about accepting rides or changing plans without your permission.
  • Teach them the tricks would-be abductors use, such as offering money or asking for help.
  • Encourage them to tell a trusted adult whenever anything or anyone makes them uncomfortable.

When it comes to keeping your child safe, YOU are your child’s best resource!

Kid Smartz
http://www.kidsmartz.org/

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
For more information about child-safety topics, visit our website at http://www.missingkids.com or contact us at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

NOTE: This is not the property of NOT IN MY WORLD!!!!, we are a self-supporting information center for parents, families, and the public, to help all children, who are the future of our world; by raising awareness to Child Abuse, and it’s lifelong detrimental effects.

We want to say THANK YOU to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of Justice for allowing us the use of so many resources to properly educate our staff, and also to pass along this valuable information and resources.

RESOURCES:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
U.S. Department of Justice
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®

CHILD SAFETY IS MORE THAN A SLOGAN

.jpf photo of NCMEC Logo
National Center For Missing & Exploited Children

“Stranger-Danger” Warnings Not Effective at Keeping Kids Safer

By Nancy A. McBride, National Safety Director
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
www.missingkids.com

Stranger danger” — the phrase is so pervasive in our culture it has become part of the lexicon.  The media and other professionals often use this phrase as a slogan to try to educate children about how to avoid dangerous situations and individuals.  When well-intentioned professionals and parents/guardians use the phrase “stranger danger” it may mistakenly convey only strangers harm children.  The message of “never talk to strangers” does not fully educate children about how to stay safer.

What does “stranger danger” really mean, and do children benefit from an outdated and misleading message?

Here’s what we have learned about the “stranger-danger” concept.

  • Children don’t get it
  • Adults don’t practice it
  • Children need to know how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations
  • Adults need to know risks to children are greater from someone they know

This is why the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) does not support the “strangerdanger” message.  The majority of cases have shown most children are not taken by a stranger, but rather are abducted by someone they know.

When questioned, children will often describe a “stranger” as someone who is “ugly or mean.”  They do not perceive attractive or friendly people as “strangers.”  If someone talks to a child or is even around a child more than once, that person may lose his or her “stranger” status to the child.  The child may then think he or she
“knows” that person.  Children also want to be helpful, thrive on adult approval, and respond to adult authority.

So if someone with ill intent asks a child to perform a task or tells a child something has happened to a loved one, there is a good chance the child may be tricked into going with that person.

The “stranger-danger” message becomes even more confusing for children because they may not be able to tell by looking at someone whether that individual is “good” or “bad.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply recognize and point out the “bad” people to our children?  Adults often break the rule of “don’t talk to strangers”
in a number of different situations.  Adults, however, have the benefit of experience, judgment, and decision-making skills.  Children do not.  And even adults, at times, may misperceive potential dangers.  So if we are not always able to identify “bad” people, we certainly cannot expect our children to be able to do so.

Children need to be empowered with positive messages and safety skills that will not only build their self-esteem and self-confidence but also help keep them safer.  Children need to learn how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations.  If they become involved in a dangerous situation, children need to learn
effective steps they can take to remove themselves from the situation.  Children do not need to be told the world is a scary place. They see it through a variety of media, hear it from adults, or may even personally experience violence.  Children need to know their parents, guardians, or other trusted adults — people whom the parents/guardians have come to rely on and with whom they and their children feel comfortable — are there for them if they are in trouble.  Children also need to know the majority of adults in their lives are good people.

When we tell children to “never talk to strangers,” we have effectively eliminated a key source of help for them.  If they are lost they may be surrounded by many rescuers who could help them.  If children perceive these people as “strangers,” they may not speak or reach out to them.  There have been cases in which a child’s rescue was delayed because the lost child was afraid to call out to the “strangers” when rescuers were nearby.  Parents and guardians cannot be with their children every second of the day.  We need to give our children “safety nets,” the plans and people you’ve put in place to contact so your children know there is always someone available to help them.  These individuals may include uniformed law-enforcement or security officers and store/business personnel wearing nametags.

The safety messages need to be tailored to specific circumstances, such as being lost outside.  Parents and guardians should teach children to:

  • Stay put and not wander away from where they first became lost. Staying where they are increases children’s chances of being found unless that place becomes too dangerous because of severe weather or another potentially threatening situation.  In that case children need to go to the nearest safe spot and wait for rescuers.
  • Make noise either by yelling, blowing a whistle, or attracting attention in some other way. This may help bring someone to their rescue.

Parents and guardians should make child safety part of a child’s everyday life in a reassuring way by practicing these skills.  Whether it is checking first with a trusted adult, taking a friend, or avoiding and getting out of potentially dangerous situations, there are easy “what-if” scenarios you may practice with your children to make sure they understand and “get it.”  Make outings to a mall or the park a “teachable moment” to make sure your children understand the safety messages and are able to use them in real-life situations.

Children will begin to learn what to do if they become lost or are in danger by practicing these “what-if” scenarios with you on a regular basis.  You can also use these opportunities to reassure your children you are there for them, and remind them there are other people who also are able to help them.

NCMEC believes it is time for everyone to retire use of the “stranger-danger” message.  By realizing child safety is much more than a slogan, we can then arm our children with relevant, age-appropriate messages to help empower and protect them from potentially dangerous situations.  Having strong parental, guardian, and caregiver supervision and attention is vital to keeping our children safer.

For more information about child-safety topics, visit our website at www.missingkids.com or contact us at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

Copyright © 2005, 2010, and 2011 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-MC-CX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.  National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and 1-800-THE-LOST® are registered trademarks of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. NCMEC Order PDF-10A.

NOTE:  This is not the property of NOT IN MY WORLD!!!!, we are a self-supporting information center for parents, families, and the public, to help all children, who are the future of our world; by raising awareness to Child Abuse, and it’s lifelong detrimental effects.

We want to say THANK  YOU to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of Justice for allowing us the use of so many resources to properly educate our staff, and also to pass along this valuable information and resources.