The FBI is encouraging parents to download a free app to help keep your children safe.
It was developed to minimize the amount of time it takes to find a missing child.
“We don’t ever want to scare parents, but we just want them to be aware that during this time of year when you’re out and about shopping, when you’re visiting family and friends, when your children are going to visit their family and friends, perhaps, there’s always a likelihood that children can go missing,” explained FBI New Orleans Special Agent In Charge Eric Rommal.
The Child ID App allows parents to enter all of the identification information about their children, such as height, weight, age and also a current photo.
“When your child goes missing, you’re in a panic. It’s a crisis situation. You might not be thinking clearly. This will do the thinking for you. You’ve already preloaded that information,” said Rommal.
If you’re shopping with your children in a busy environment, like the mall, and one of them disappears, it only takes a few clicks on the FBI’s Child Id App to send vital information about your child to law enforcement.
The information that the parent has already logged into the app is emailed to local law enforcement, or it can be sent directly to 911.
Once local law enforcement gets the information, they can then instantly send it out to law enforcement agencies everywhere.
KATC spoke with parents at Acadiana Mall about the app and showed them how to use it.
“Of course, I have some concerns about the personal information I would share with law enforcement and maybe whoever could breach that security,” said John Giordana.
“Anything can be hacked, honestly,” said Ruby Buchanan, who is a mother and grandmother.
However, the FBI wants people to know that the information is only stored on the parent’s phone.
“It is not cataloged by the FBI. We have no access to this app. It does not go on the internet,” explained Rommal.
The majority of the parents KATC talked to were comfortable with sharing their children’s information with the authorities if in the case their children went missing.
“It does give a sense of relief to parents that the information could just get sent out almost immediately without having to go through old pictures; you have the app right here,” said Shatona Berard.
“If you’re in a busy area, like the mall today, and your child wanders off, I guess, if you have the app on your phone, you could just press a few buttons and have help on the way, said Lauren Bajat.
People have also used the app to successfully locate missing elderly and disabled loved ones.