Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can you help this child?

This little boy isn't. My sister once ran away from home one evening causing a bit of panic in the house, but was found not long after. Of course that was before the days of computers in the house, let alone the internet. In fact we didn't even have a telephone, but I digress.
I wonder if we had had the internet whether her picture would have been displayed like this to mobilise as many people as it could reach to try and find her? The Internet is a powerful tool and really can help to quickly reach the resources of the public at large to avert tragedy and at times we should be grateful for it.
But listen, just for a moment before you share this picture to help find a boy that isn't missing. 95% (made up statistic by the way) of missing person pictures are either a scam, 5 years out of date, or refer to someone who has already been found; hopefully returned to their family or in more tragic cases, their bodies recovered.
What am I trying to say here? Well, it's this: please check the details before you share the missing son or daughter photo on Facebook and twitter. It takes a few moments to do a google search on the name (e.g. "Dave Green missing Facebook" - search) and find out if it's real and still current. Because if it's a scam or the situation is resolved then continuing to post that picture means that some poor child runs the risk of their photo being circulated on Facebook for years to come and this in itself can be psychologically damaging for people - imagine being stared at by strangers because they have "recognised" you as a missing child, being taunted by school "friends" etc.
Yes, the need to find a missing child outweighs this, but if a quick check on a search engine is all it takes, then if you really want to help the child, please do that check first.
I wonder if this will go viral by the 95% of very well meaning people that will just read the headline and share in the hope of helping to find the boy in the picture?
NB - it's me in the picture and the only thing I'm missing is my marbles :)
PS - I am sorry if I offend anyone of my friends that do forward shared missing person photos - this is not my intention, as in doing so you show hearts of gold that care and this is to be encouraged in a world too full of apathy.