Screensaver replaces milk carton in missing kid search

Download a photo screensaver, and potentially save a missing child. That's the message from the child-safety group behind the Amber Alert system.

Download a photo screensaver, and potentially save a missing child. That's the message from the child-safety group behind the Amber Alert system.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) released in the last week a "Missing Kid Saver," downloadable software for people running most Windows operating systems. The application will draw on idle computer power to display updated news, information and photos on missing or abducted children from the NCMEC.

The software is opt-in, and it takes a page from the nonprofit's wireless initiative, in which people sign up to get Amber Alerts via cell phone. In contrast to the Amber program, which typically reports on new missing children cases, the screensaver delivers a continuous news feed on cases that are both new and older. (The application was developed by Pennsylvania-based Global Software Applications.)

The nonprofit hopes that the screensaver will buoy efforts to find more of the nearly 800,000 kids who are reported missing each year in the United States, according to Bob O'Brien, executive director at NCMEC. "We're offering this new tool because we know that photos work. In fact, one in six of the children featured in our photo distribution effort is recovered as a direct result of the photo."

 

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