- Posted January 18, 2011 by
Watertown, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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Kidnapping- Would You Implant a Microchip in Your Child to Protect Them?
With so many kidnappings lately, some parents are wondering whether it's worth taking the idea of implanted tracking devices for kids more seriously.
The question of whether or not to implant microchips in our children isn't new. In 2002, CNN reported that parents in the United Kingdom were asking for microchip tracking devices for their kids after two 10-year-old girls were abducted and murdered.
And Wired magazine wrote about it back in 2003, when Solusat, the Mexican distributor of VeriChip, launched its VeriKid program in Mexico.
What is new is that, in spite of the whole "Big Brother" aspect, and in spite of the obvious privacy issues (not to mention health risks), the microchip may be making a comeback.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about 800,000 children are reported missing, but more than half of them are runaways or only missing temporarily.
Theoretically, a GPS-enabled chip could one day make it possible for individuals to be physically located by latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and direction of movement.
Such implantable GPS devices are not commercially available at this time. However, if widely deployed at some future point, implantable GPS devices could conceivably allow authorities to locate missing persons and/or fugitives and those who fled from a crime scene.
A report by a sheriff on the topic of implanting children
About 204,000 were kidnapped by members of their own family, 58,000 were kidnapped by non-family members whom they know, and just 115 of them were the stereotypical, headline-making "snatched off the street" abductions involving "someone the child does not know or a slight acquaintance who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently."
Even though stereotypical kidnappings are rare, the fact that they happen at all is enough to make parents worry about it could happen to their children. As Kyron's case may show, security measures in schools may not be enough, so why not outfit the child with a permanent tracking system, you know, just in case?
Microchips and other radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) have been imbedded in pets and attached to items in order to track them for years.
VeriChip is one; it's been sold in the US since 2002 and was approved for implantation in humans by the FDA in 2004, in spite of the fact that tests from the mid-1990s showed that the implanted microchips had "induced" cancer in laboratory animals, with most of the tumors encasing the implants.
By 2007, about 2,000 of the devices had been implanted in humans around the world, The Washington Post reported.
While the current technology available for human implantation doesn't store much data -- just a 16-digit ID number -- the possibilities are there.
And though it could provide peace of mind for parents -- police and FBI could track the child with the chip much in the same way security companies can track stolen cars that have RFID devices built-in -- they're easy enough to remove with just a knife (as anyone who has watched The Bourne Identity knows).
So, parents, weigh in: Would you implant a microchip in your child? Do you think it's a "better safe than sorry" move or a sign of helicopter parenting going too far?
Lylah M. Alphonse
About one child is murdered per 10,000 missing child reports.
In 80% of abductions by strangers, the first contact occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home. In many cases, the abduction does, too.
Most strangers grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.
About 74% of the victims of non-family child abductions are girls.
U.S. Justice Dept.
Each year, 3,600 to 4,200 children are abducted by someone outside the family; 1/2 of them are age 12 or older; 2/3 are female; at least 19% of these abductors are not strangers to their victims. The chance of a minor being kidnapped by a stranger is 1 in 560; by a family member, 1 in 180.
- Discover Magazine as reported by Gannett News Service 5/28/96.
85% to 90% of the 876,213 persons reported missing to America’s law enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles (persons under 18 years of age).
That means 2,100 times per day, parents or primary care givers felt the disappearance was serious enough to call law enforcement.
The number of missing persons reported to law enforcement has increased 468%, 341 in 1982 to 876,213 in 2000.
FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping:
kidnapping by a relative of the victim or "family kidnapping" (49 percent),
kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or "acquaintance kidnapping" (27 percent),
and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or "stranger kidnapping" (24 percent).
Family kidnapping is committed primarily by parents, a large percentage of perpetrators being female (43 percent).
Other types of kidnapping offenses occur more frequently to children under 6, juveniles of both sexes occur equally, and offenses most often originate in the home.
Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims.
Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims and robberies in the case of boy victims (although not exclusively so), and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm.
United States Department of Justice,
Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2000
Here are some of the realities of child abduction:
• Children of every age, gender, and race are vulnerable to child abduction.
• Over 50% of the children kidnapped in non-family abductions were taken from the street, in a vehicle, or
from a park or wooded area. Almost 75% of those children kidnapped in family abductions were taken
from their own or another's home or yard.
• The majority of children who are reported missing have run away, or there has been a misunderstanding
with their parents about where they were supposed to be.
• Of the kids and teens that are truly abducted, the majority of them are taken by a family member or an
acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers.
• Almost all children kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children.
I believe I would. Once they were older, then have it taken out. The deterrence factor and peace of mind would be worth it. What do you think?