The Most Dangerous Kidnappers: Parents


January 28, 2013

Source: Abcnews

Despite what seems to have been a rash of children abducted by strangers last year, there aren’t any more than normal, and vastly greater numbers of children are kidnapped by their own parents and relatives — and those cases rarely generate headlines.

sad-child

Stranger abductions make up the smallest percentage of children reported missing every year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believes that stranger abductions are decreasing overall and projects that there will be approximately 100 of these kind of cases by the end of this year.

According to statistics cited by the NCMEC, most missing children are abducted by relatives or parents: a soon-to-be released report, the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, referred to as NISMART-2, finds that 203,900 kids were abducted in 1999 by family members or parents. Approximately, 58,200 were “non-family” abductions — only 115 were defined as the frightening kidnappings by strangers.

Parental kidnappings do not spark media attention — and the sense of urgency from law enforcement officials — that the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping and slaying of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion and this month’s abduction and rescue of two California teenagers attracted.

Experts say there is a perception among the public and law enforcement that children kidnapped by their parents are not endangered. After all, figures from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention show that only 4 percent of children abducted by their parents are physically harmed.

“I think there’s a perception with people that, ‘Oh, since they’re with a parent no harm will come to the child,'” said Nancy Hammer, director of the International Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And also since it involves two parents and family, it seems to be a messy situation. It doesn’t seem as black and white as if a child was abducted by a stranger. It’s taken a while, but progress has been made in making these abductions crimes, felonies. But they can lack the sense of urgency in the public and law enforcement reserved for other cases.”

A Very Lucky Recovery

Tracy and Robert Morse had to fight those perceptions when their children were abducted. In December 1996, three of Robert Morse’s children from a previous marriage were kidnapped by their biological, non-custodial mother when they got off the bus at school.

Abducted_Children_USA

“There’s this perception in the public and among law enforcement, that when children are abducted by their parents that they’re safe, and that just isn’t true,” said Tracy Morse, co-founder of American Parental Abductions Resource & Support Organization — APART for short. “These children are separated from everything they know and love, they are forced to live a life of a fugitive, constantly on the run, separated from their identity and their schooling interrupted and often told their left behind parents don’t care about them.

“When my husband’s children were kidnapped by his ex-wife, she pulled up at school and made a big scene at school and everything,” Morse continued. “People who saw her take the children, they just thought, ‘Oh, it’s a domestic thing. We shouldn’t interfere.'”

Tracy and Robert Morse spent more than more than two years trying to find their children and only got a break in their search when the children’s mother remarried and sparked the suspicion of her new in-laws and their relatives. One of her new husband’s relatives went on the Web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saw the faces of the three children and contacted NCMEC officials. The children were recovered and reunited with the Morses in March 1999.

“The kids were a mess, in really bad shape,” said Tracy Morse. “But we were very, very lucky.”

Following their children’s recovery, the Morses founded APART to give parents a resource to both prepare themselves and their children for family abductions and give them guidance as to what to do during those situations. “Left Behind” parents spent so much time trying to figure out what to do when their children are abducted by an ex-spouse or family member, valuable time is wasted. Abductor parents easily flee amid the confusion and shock.

A Mother’s Desperate 28-Year Quest

One woman who wishes she had the Morses’ good luck and perhaps could have benefited from APART when her son was abducted is Marianne Malky.

Malky, founder of Voice for the Children, a Florida-based organization that helps locate and recover missing children, has been searching for her son David for 28 years. Malky said David, then 7 years old, was taken by his non-custodial father, Stephan Shipenberg, during a court-ordered weekend visit in 1974. Shipenberg, she said, called her and told her that she would never see David again.

Malky, who lived in New Jersey at the time, went to Shipenberg’s job at American Airlines in New York City and was told he had quit. She found out he had moved from his Manhattan apartment and ultimately tracked him and David at a new address as they drove away in a station wagon. As she pounded on the car window, that was the last time she saw her son.

Recover_Abducted_Child

Since then, Malky has had little progress in finding David, and she said she has received little help from law enforcement. She was so anxious to get her son back and track him down that she did not file a missing person’s report in New Jersey when he was first abducted. When she tried to file one year later, she was told too much time had passed.

“There isn’t any finding your kids unless you do everything yourself. You basically have to do everything,” Malky said. “No one [from law enforcement] really wants to get involved. ‘It’s too complicated,’ they say. ‘It’s a domestic problem.’ You’re told you need custody papers or you need to go to an attorney to get custodial papers, but what you need are [private] investigators. Custody papers don’t find missing children; investigators do.”

At one time, she said, she received a tip that David was attending grammar school under another last name “Kaplan” and contacted officials. However, by the time she made it to the school, administrators had contacted Shipenberg and he had retrieved David. She has learned that her son attended middle school and high school in Oyster Bay, N.Y., but she says the schools refused to give her access to his records. She also learned that he was in the Navy, but officials would not release any records because of privacy laws.

“In the United States, it’s very difficult to find them [abducted children and abductor parents] because they change their name,” Malky said. “It’s very difficult if you don’t know what their name is.”

Frustration of ‘Left Behind’ Parents

Malky said she has received tips and help from people who believe they have spotted Shipenberg and David over the years. However, she said her quest has cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and frustrated — experiences commonly shared “left behind” parents.

“You end up broke and physically and emotionally drained,” Malky said. “But I was — am still — determined.”

And lack of resources is an obstacle for parents in family abduction cases. Not everyone has the money to hire private investigators and communication firms to print fliers for their missing children. Often, as time passes and money dwindles, parents are forced to accept that they may never see their children again.

“Unless you really keep the pressure on police, really harass them, you won’t get the updates that you want on your case, and it’ll fall on the bottom of the pile,” said Morse. “You have to turn to private investigators but not everyone has those kind of resources.”

Malky said she never saw David’s abduction coming. His father never made any previous threats, and they had civil discussions about the custody and visitation arrangements.

“I didn’t see this coming. Usually they tell you that they’re going to take your child. I was never told,” said Malky. “But I tell you, all these cases are premeditated. They know where they’re going to go, where they’re going to hide.”

• Family Abduction Safeguards and Warning Signs? Read Below

AMBER Needed for Parental Abductions

New wireless child safety tracking devices have been developed that enable parents to trace the whereabouts of their children. The lightweight devices integrate digital technology from the Department of Defense’s Global Positioning System satellites to pinpoint children’s locations, and many child advocates believe they could prevent child abductions or at least help recover kidnapped children.

Abducted_Children_Mexico

Still, more needs to be done. Experts say parental abduction victims need a program similar to the AMBER alert system, which was credited with helping law enforcement officials to rescue two California teenagers approximately 12 hours after they were abducted at gunpoint, and save an infant abducted from an Abilene, Texas, parking lot last week. Parental abductees have little, if any chance, of being considered for the AMBER alert system because the children’s lives are not considered endangered in most cases.

“The AMBER alert system is great, and they need to develop one for family abductions,” said Morse.

More may also need to be done in the courts when parents are trying to reach an agreement on visitation and custodial rights. Sometimes the early signs of a family abduction manifest during legal negotiations.

“The first instance or signs that people may abduct their children are likely seen in court,” said Hammer. “Maybe if more court officials are trained to pay more attention to certain risk factors, they can identify which child may be at risk and take action and fully inform parents what they face, what will happen if they do abduct their child.”

Child advocates also argue that there should be more severe punishment for parental child abductors — or at least they should be prosecuted to the law’s fullest extent. Stephen Fagan pleaded guilty in 1999 to kidnapping his two daughters, telling them their mother was dead and living under an assumed name for 20 years. He avoided jail time by agreeing to a deal that gave him five years’ probation, a $100,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

Barry and Judith Smiley kidnapped a baby after an attempted adoption of the infant was ruled invalid, and they lived for 22 years under an assumed name, raising the boy they called Matthew Propp as their own son. They avoided trial and possibly 25 years by agreeing to plead guilty to second-degree kidnapping in June. Barry Smiley received a two-to-six-year sentence while his wife Judith was sentenced to a six-month prison term and five years’ probation.

These plea deals, child advocates argue, make would-be parental abductors believe that they would not be risking anything if they kidnapped their children.

White House Weighing In

Many left-behind parents have complained that custody orders have not been readily enforceable when they locate a missing child. Often, they have had to hire two attorneys — one for each state — if the abducting parent has traveled to another state. As the filings go through the court system, the abducting parent may flee the state again without a trace, leaving the wronged parent back where they started, not knowing the whereabouts of a missing child.

According to the Department of Justice, California is the only state that requires district attorneys to take whatever civil remedies and criminal prosecutorial measures necessary to locate and recover children abducted by family members and to enforce child custody orders. In July 1997, the National Council of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws approved the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which contains a similar mandate. As of February 2001, 21 states had enacted UCCJEA, and it had been introduced to the legislatures in 10 other states.

Some change may begin with attention from the White House. President Bush has announced the White House would hold a first-ever conference on missing, exploited and runaway children in September. Held in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, the conference will focus on the prevention of child victimization, improving law enforcement policies for handling crimes against children, stranger abductions, and domestic and international parental kidnapping, among other topics.

‘Never an End’

Despite the time that has passed, and the fact that her son is now approaching his mid-30s, Marianne Malky is willing to do whatever it takes to find him. She said she plans to file lawsuits against the schools she suspects David has attended to force them to release his records.

If Malky finds her son, there is a possibility that he will not accept her. It happened to Barbara Kurth, the ex-wife of Stephen Fagan, when authorities tracked him down and prosecuted him for kidnapping. Even after learning that that their mother was not dead and that their father had lied to them for 20 years, Kurth’s daughters stayed by Fagan’s side. Afterwards, Fagan said he abducted the daughters because Kurth was neglecting them and abused alcohol, a claim she denied.

Still, knowing this, Malky remains determined.

“I know he has been told that I don’t care about him, that I don’t love him, but I’m not giving up,” Malky said. “Hopefully, I will win. … The feeling that I and many parents of children who have been abducted is not unlike those whose children have been killed, except that we never have an end. There’s never an end until you find your child.”

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Prevention of Parental Abduction – Recognizing the Warning Signs


Source: Jeanne M. Hannah

Prevention of Parental Abduction | Recognizing the Red Flags

Families are under so much stress in today’s society–financial and relationship stress–that parentalabduction of the children may become an issue in any given family. I have often been contacted in the past year by a parent who says his/her spouse has taken the children and moved to another state. I advise them of their rights under the UCCJEA, and of the importance of protecting home state jurisdiction by seeking return of the children to their home state before six months have elapsed, after which the new state may become the “home state” of the children where a custody battle would have to be waged. [A later post will discuss the concept of “extended home state jurisdiction.”]

Abduction prevention and recovery of abducted children has become a major part of my practice. Because the effects of abduction on children can be very serious [See Part I of this series], it is important for parents to put preventative measures in place. The purpose of today’s post is to provide parents with information to help them assess whether they should be concerned about parental abduction.

Red flags” identified by the Department of State.The Department of State identifies the following “red flags” or warning signs of risk. [See “A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping” [From the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention] at pages 4-5.] The Resource Guide also discusses profiles common to abducting or “taking parents.” While most parents don’t have to worry about a parent taking the child or children to a foreign country, the warning signs for interstate kidnapping are generally about the same as those for international kidnapping.According to the OJJDP, although there are no foolproof warning signs or psychological profiles for abduction risk, there are some indicators that should not be ignored. Parents are urged to be alert to the warning signs that an international kidnapping may be in the offing.

It may be a “red flag” if a parent has:

•    Previously abducted or threatened to abduct the child. Some threats are unmistakable,
such as when an angry or vindictive parent verbally threatens to kidnap the child so
that “you will never see the child again.” Others are less direct. For instance, you
may learn about the other parent’s plans through casual conversation with your child.
•    Citizenship in another country and strong emotional or cultural ties to the country of origin. [For interestate kidnapping, the obvious red flag is–family ties and friends in other states, with none in the state where the children are living with both parents.
•    Friends or family living in another country (or, in some cases another state).
•    No strong ties to the child’s home state.
•    A strong support network.
•    No financial reason to stay in the area (e.g., the parent is unemployed, able to work
anywhere, or is financially independent).
• Engaged in planning activities, such as quitting a job; selling a home; terminating a lease; closing a bank account or liquidating other assets; hiding or destroying documents; or securing a passport, a birth certificate, or school or medical records.
•    A history of marital instability, lack of cooperation with the other parent, domestic violence, or child abuse.
•    Reacted jealously to or felt threatened by the other parent’s remarriage or new romantic involvement.
•    A criminal record.

Are there personality profiles of parents who may pose an abduction risk?

OJJDP has identified six personality profiles that may be helpful in predicting which parents may pose a risk of abduction, using the identifications presented by Girdner and Johnston in their research report Prevention of Family Abduction Through Early Identification of Risk Factors. That report is listed in the “Recommended Reading” section at the end of the OJJDP guide. OJJDP cautions that while these profiles may be helpful in predicting which parents may pose a risk of abduction, they do not guarantee that parents who fit a particular profile will abduct or that parents who do not fit a profile will not.

The six profiles are:

•    Profile l: Parents who have threatened to abduct or have abducted previously.
•    Profile 2: Parents who are suspicious or distrustful because of their belief that abuse has occurred and who have social support for their belief.
•    Profile 3: Parents who are paranoid.
•    Profile 4: Parents who are sociopathic.
•    Profile 5: Parents who have strong ties to another country and are ending a mixed-culture marriage. [For interstate abductions, this may be strong ties to another state and/or strong family ties to a dysfunctional family.]
•    Profile 6: Parents who feel disenfranchised from the legal system (e.g., those who are poor, a minority, or victims of abuse) and have family and social support.

According to the OJJDP Guide, taking parents across the six personality profiles share many common characteristics.

  • They are likely to deny or dismiss the value of the other parent to the child.
  • They believe they know what is best for the child, and they cannot see how or why they should share parenting with the other parent.
  • They are likely to have very young children who are easy to transport and conceal and who are unlikely to protest verbally or tell others of their plight.
  • With the exception of the paranoid profile, abducting parents are apt to have the financial and moral support of a network of family, friends, and/or cultural, community, or underground groups.
  • Many abductors do not consider their actions illegal or morally wrong.
  • Finally, according to the Guide, mothers and fathers are equally likely to abduct, although at different times—fathers before a court order, mothers after an order has been made.

Parents who fit profile 5—those who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the United States) and who also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin—have long been recognized as those who might engage in international parental abduction. The risk is especially acute at the time of parental separation and divorce, when the parent feels cast adrift from a mixed-culture marriage and a need to return to ethnic or religious roots for emotional support and to reconstitute a shaken self-identity. Often, in reaction to being rendered helpless or to the insult of feeling rejected and discarded by the ex-spouse, a parent may try to take unilateral action by returning with the child to his or her family of origin. This is a way of insisting that one cultural identity be given preeminent status over the other in the child’s upbringing. Often the parent will have idealized his or her own culture, childhood, and family of origin.

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World Renowned Child Abduction Recovery Experts ABP World Group: Christmas is the Season for International Child Abduction – Parents Must Take Extra Precautions


Source: Yahoo.com

As international parental child abduction surges throughout the world, ABP World Group, one of the world’s leading child and adult abduction and kidnapping recovery security agencies is warning parents of the possibility of international abduction and urging them to take precautionary steps, including using newly developed, inexpensive GPS tracking systems for their children. Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP World Group offers sound advice for targeted children and parents at risk of abduction.

New York, Los Angeles, Oslo (PRWEB) December 14, 2011

Martin Waage, the Managing Director of the internationally recognized security firm ABP World Group, and head of the firm’s international child abduction recovery division is warning parents all over the world that the Christmas Holiday Season is considered one of the highest periods for international parental child abduction, and that parents, particularly those who are in volatile multi-cultural relationships and who feel the other parent may have intent to illegally leave the country with the children of their relationship must take extra precautions in order to protect their children’s safety.

ABP World Group is one of the world’s leading child and adult abduction recovery experts, and have participated remarkably in over 200 child-parent reunifications alone.

 

Mr. Waage commented, “International parental child abductions happens during the Christmas holidays as well as during the summer vacations. With international child abductions happening at a record pace, ABP World Group urges parents to take every precaution to protect their children from this horrible fate.

“Tragically, the number of global parental abductions occurring is an unknown due to failures by governments to keep accurate data; however, if we view the United States as a microcosm of the rest of the world, it is estimated that there will be between 100,000 and 125,000 children criminally abducted from now to 2020 alone. And Canada is no better as this nation’s numbers could reach over 12,000 to 15,000 abductions when we consider the current reported cases of abduction, combine that with the forecasted unreported cases of abduction, and factor in a 20% growth factor, which is a modest factor in comparison to various government reports recently issued by various nations concerning abduction.

“Undeniably, Christmas presents a serious problem. As many targeted parents who have had their children abducted have said over and over, they were taken off guard and never knew or anticipated that their child would be criminally removed to another country by their other parent.”

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and many ‘Western’ countries are members of the Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction, which is the international treaty that many nations have signed to address the issue of cross-border parental child kidnapping. However, many countries in the Middle East and Asia are not signatories to the international treaty, and around the world, many nation’s who have signed the convention do not necessarily follow the spirit and intent of the treaty.

Martin Waage added, “The reality of international parental child abduction is that when we considered the reported and unreported cases, and also consider how our world governments consider whether a case has actually been closed or not, the truth is, what various non-government organization stakeholders are citing, such as ABP World Group, is that the actual percentage of children actually returned back to the country they were taken to is somewhere around 5%. This is a tragic number – but then all we have to do is look at countries such as Japan that have never returned a Western born child back to that child’s country of original jurisdiction.”

ABP World Group suggest that all parents be mindful that international parental child abduction is a growing epidemic. Accordingly, If a parents says they’re going to take the child out of the country, the targeted parent should immediately contact their local police and a lawyer that is specialized in family matters.

Still, clever thinking is a must. Mr. Waage commented, “It might be a good idea to consider equipping your child with a small GPS locator that can be hidden almost anywhere. The locator can warn you by SMS and e-mail if the child is taken outside a pre set area.

“By using a GPS unit, you will know where your child is at all times. And these GPS units can really be placed almost anywhere. Instead of receiving the information about the abduction after days when they have already left the country, you can by using a GPS tracker receive a warning immediately. This can buy you enough time, so you can warn the police and make them prevent your child from being removed out of the country.

“ABP World Group Ltd. has been assisting left behind parents, and recovering abducted children for more than 12 years. We have tested hundreds of different GPS tracking systems, but found that the majority of them do not work well. Either they have to short stand by time, or they have poor signal strength or user friendliness. Until now.

 

“ABP World Group strongly recommend the [Garmin GTU 10 Tracker. It`s small, light and have some incredible testing result. We have been successfully using this unit for some time now, and we recommend that every parent concerned with their child’s safety use it. And in fact, the price is also reasonable (around 177 USD at Amazon.com)

 

“The GTU 10 is small, lightweight and waterproof. It easily attaches to a backpack, inside a teddy bear, inside a jackets pocket etc. When you purchase a new GTU 10, it comes with 1 year of Standard Tracking, so you’ll be ready to go once you register and activate it in your Garmin account. Then, you can view the location of your GTU 10 on a map from the friendly confines of your computer. For an added level of convenience, you can download the free Garmin Tracker app for your mobile device. Using your computer or mobile device, you can also create up to 10 geo-fences (virtual boundaries) for your device. When your GTU 10 enters or exits a geo-fence, an email or text message can be sent warning you that the GTU 10 is in a certain location.”

 

For more information about how to prevent international parental child abduction please visit the official Website of ABP World Group. ABP World Group has operatives and agents operating in the many nations throughout the world, or visit ABP World Group’s Contact Page.

 

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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GPS Tracking for Kids / Children – Garmin GTU 10 Tracker


Can GPS Prevent Child Abductions?

Want to know where your child is right now? You can… it’s easy! You can watch the movement of your child anytime, anywhere from your web-enabled Smart-Phone or computer.

(CBS)  The recent recovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was located 18 years after being abducted by a stranger, once again has parents thinking about how to protect their own kids. That’s one of the reasons behind a growing number of child locator products that typically use GPS and a cellular device to help a parents and authorities pinpoint a missing child to within a few yards.

Before getting into the technology, here are some important statistics to put this problem into context.

Stranger abduction is rare

A 2002 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice found that, in one year, 797,500 children were reported missing. That’s a lot, but most of them weren’t abducted. Of those, 203,900 were family abductions, which means the abductor was related to the child, often a noncustodial parent. Some 58,200 were “nonfamily abductions,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean strangers were responsible. And 115 children, a tiny fraction of those reported missing, were victims of what the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) calls “stereotypical kidnapping,” which involves “someone child does not know or someone of 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.”

Garmin GTU 10

The potential loss of 115 children a year is a national tragedy, but to put it into perspective, there are 74 million children and teens in America; the odds of it happening are about 1 in 644,000, or about the same risk as being struck by lightning.

Still, it does happen and just because most abductions are carried out by family members or acquaintances doesn’t mean that they’re not potentially tragic. But it does mean that “stranger danger” is not the biggest threat to our children. In fact, because so many children are exploited by acquaintances and family members, NCMEC has stopped using that term and now refers to it as a “misguided message,” because “children don’t get it, adults don’t practice it (and) it doesn’t go far enough in protecting children from potential danger.” Plus, when a child is in trouble, sometimes their protector can be a stranger such as a police officer, a mall security guard, or a passerby.

Reasons for concern

Having said this, there is still a logical reason for parents and guardians to consider equipping their children with a device that can help locate them in an emergency. For one thing, these devices can bring peace of mind. Parents worry about their kids for a lot of reasons beyond being taken by a stranger. Have they wandered off? Did they get into an accident? Could they be lost? And it’s not just little kids we worry about. Parents of teenagers are rightfully concerned when they’re kids are away from home, especially if they’re riding or driving in cars. To be honest, my kids are now in their 20s and I still worry about them.


Technologies

There are various technologies that can help protect children, ranging from devices that send out a local alarm that can be heard from a couple hundred feet away, to very sophisticated dedicated GPS tracking devices.

ABP World Group Recommends the Garmin GTU 10 Tracker.

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Parental dilemma: Whether to spy on their Kids – parenthood and paranoia often walk hand in hand.


Source: David Crary

– In the 21st century, parenthood and paranoia often walk hand in hand.

For some, the blessed event is followed by high-tech surveillance – a monitoring system tracks the baby’s breathing rhythms and relays infrared images from the nursery. The next investment might be a nanny cam, to keep watch on the child’s hired caregivers. Toddlers and grade schoolers can be equipped with GPS devices enabling a parent to know their location should something go awry.

To cope with the uncertainties of the teen years, some parents acquire spyware to monitor their children’s online and cell phone activity. Others resort to home drug-testing kits.

Added together, there’s a diverse, multi-billion-dollar industry seeking to capitalize on parents’ worst fears about their children – fears aggravated by occasional high-profile abductions and the dangers lurking in cyberspace. One mistake can put a child at risk or go viral online, quickly ruining a reputation.

“There’s a new set of challenges for parents, and all sorts of new tools that can help them do their job,” said David Walsh, a child psychologist in Minneapolis. “On the other hand, we have very powerful industries that create these products and want to sell as many as possible, so they try to convince parents they need them.”

Some parents need little convincing.

In New York City, a policeman-turned-politician recorded a video earlier this year offering tips to parents on how to search their children’s bedrooms and possessions for drugs and weapons. In the video, State Sen. Eric Adams – who has a teenage son – insists that children have no constitutional right to privacy at home and shows how contraband could be hidden in backpacks, jewelry boxes, even under a doll’s dress.

“You have a duty and obligation to protect the members of your household,” he says.

Another parent who preaches proactive vigilance is Mary Kozakiewicz of Pittsburgh, whose daughter, Alicia, was abducted as a 13-year-old in 2002 by a man she met online. He chained, beat and raped her before she was rescued four days later.

In recent years, mother and daughter have both campaigned to raise awareness of Internet-related dangers.

Mary Kozakiewicz urges parents to monitor children’s computer and cell phone use, and says those who balk out of respect for privacy are being naive.

“It’s not about privacy – it’s about keeping them safe,” she said,

On a different part of the spectrum are parents such as Lenore Skenazy, a mother of two teens in New York City who wrote a book called “Free Range Kids: How To Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).”

Skenazy, who let one of her sons ride the New York subway alone when he was 9, contends that many marketers exploit parents’ ingrained worries about their children’s safety.

“The idea is that the only good parent is a parent who’s somehow watching over their child 24/7,” she said. “You feel nothing should take precedence over monitoring your child’s well-being every second of the day … from time they’re born to when they go off to college.”

Joe Kelly of St. Paul, Minn., helped his wife raise twin girls (they’re now adults) and founded a national advocacy group called Dads and Daughters. Like Skenazy, he bemoans commercial exploitation of parental anxiety.

“Markets play on this fear that something horrific is going to happen to your child, when the odds of that are minuscule,” he said. “It might happen, but to have their whole childhood predicated on this remote possibility is, in the aggregate, even more damaging.”

Psychologists who work with troubled adolescents and teens say parents often ask if they should be doing more surveillance.

“Ideally, parents establish good open communication and trust with their children, and they don’t need to do all these things,” said Neil Bernstein, a psychologist in Washington, D.C. “But if the child is doing something to create suspicion, you can’t expect parents to turn their back and not monitor.”

Bernstein, author of “How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to do if You Can’t,” says the best approach is a balanced one – neither overly zealous and paranoid nor uninvolved and neglectful.

A look at some of the monitoring tactics and products available to parents:

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Baby monitors:

These devices – some limited to audio monitoring, others also with video capability – have developed a reputation as a mixed blessing. They can provide parents with peace of mind, freeing them to be elsewhere in the house while the baby naps, but sometimes they accentuate anxiety.

“Some parents are reassured by hearing and seeing every whimper and movement. Others find such close surveillance to be nerve-racking,” says Consumer Reports, which has tested many of the monitors.

Skenazy likened night-vision baby monitors to the surveillance cameras used by convenience stores and prisons.

“It’s treating your child’s bedroom as if it’s the streets of Kandahar,” the battle-scarred Afghan city, she said.

The monitors operate within a selected radio frequency band to send sound from a baby’s room to a receiver in another room, a technology which can be vulnerable to interference from other electronic devices. Prices of models tested by Consumer Reports ranged from $30 for audio monitors to more than $200 for some with video.

“Overall, baby monitors can be as temperamental as a 2-year-old,” says Consumer Reports. “Interference is probably the biggest complaint, but parents also report such problems as low visibility, a shorter-than-expected reception range, and short battery life.”

Models at the high end of the price scale include the Dropcam Echo audio-video system, for $279. Its manufacturer says the system automatically detects motion and sound, and sends alerts to a parent’s smart phone or iPad.

Experts say baby monitors can provide a useful early warning if something is amiss, but caution that they should never substitute for adult supervision.

Parents are warned not to rely on monitors to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and they should be sure that the monitors’ electrical cords are kept away from cribs. Earlier this year, about 1.7 million Summer Infant video monitors were recalled after being linked to the strangulation deaths of two infants.

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Tracking devices:

Of the roughly 800,000 children reported missing in the U.S. each year, the vast majority are runaways or were abducted by a parent. But there are enough kidnappings by strangers – including a few each year that make national news – to fuel a large, evolving market for products catering to apprehensive parents.

The devices range from clip-on alarms to GPS locators that can be put in a backpack or stuffed in a doll, but they have limited range and can raise safety concerns of their own.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the devices can be helpful in some circumstances but worries about overreliance on them.

“Some of them encourage parents, perhaps unwittingly, to forget their basic responsibilities,” he said. “There are parents who think they can depend on the technology, not on themselves.”

He recounted the case of one little girl who activated her wristband alarm when she was abducted. The abductor cut off the device, left it behind and later killed the girl.

Allen said the child might have been better off yelling for help, rather than focusing on the alarm.

“Some of the new technology is extraordinary,” Allen said. “But these shouldn’t be used as substitutes for good old-fashioned parenting.”

Generally, the gadgets are in two parts – a main device carried by the parent and a small alarm attached to the child. If a child vanishes, the parent can activate the alarm.

Other gadgets use GPS technology, relying on satellite signals, that allows parents using a Web browser to track the location of an enabled device such as a cell phone.

One company, BrickHouse Security, offers a GPS child locater for $200 that functions as a digital watch and can be locked into the child’s wrist. If forcibly removed, an alert is sent to the parent’s cell phone and email.

Some anxious parents wonder if a satellite-enabled tracking device could be implanted in their child – a technology now expanding in Mexico among people rattled by a kidnapping epidemic there. But Allen says such implantation, for children, could have grim consequences – a child who ran away from home or a noncustodial parent who abducted a child might make a grisly attempt to extract the device.

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Spyware:

For many parents, one of the toughest decisions is whether to spy on a child’s computer and cell phone activity. It’s common for some children to send more than 100 text messages a day, and a recent Associated Press-MTV poll found that about one-quarter of teens had shared sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online.

Walsh, the Minneapolis psychologist, says the best initial step for parents concerned about online risks is a heart-to-heart talk with the child, with monitoring used as a contingency measure only if there’s clear justification.

“If it does make sense to use some spyware, I would never do that in secret way,” said Walsh, whose own three children are now adults. “Tell your children you’ll check on them from time to time. Just that knowledge can be effective.”

Mary Kozakiewicz disagrees, saying deployment of spyware must be kept secret.

“You can’t let them know it’s there, or they’ll do it at a friend’s house,” she said.

Indeed, one of the challenges for some parents is a technology gap – their children may have more savvy about cyberspace and an ability to thwart various spyware tactics.

“Parents are trying to play catch up – and it’s a highly fragmented, confusing sector,” said Keith Jarrett of the AmberWatch Foundation, a nonprofit based in Seal Beach, Calif., dedicated to protecting children against abduction and “the dangers of the digital world.”

AmberWatch promotes various safety devices and technologies, including SafeText – a system enabling parents, for $5 a month, to monitor their children’s text-messaging. The system sends alerts when it detects potentially dangerous or inappropriate text messages, so the parents don’t have to review vast numbers of messages themselves.

Another enterprise, Software4Parents, reviews and sells a range of spyware products. Its Web site features a comment by Mary Kozakiewicz after her abducted daughter was rescued.

“No matter how you feel about your child or how trusting you are that what’s going on is innocent, check it, check it and double check it – or don’t have (the Internet) at all,” Kozakiewicz warns.

Among the site’s featured products are Spector PRO and eBlaster, for sale at $99, and touted as ways way to monitor online chats, instant messages and emails.

“Receive complete transcripts of the web sites they visit, keystrokes they type and more – all delivered right to your email inbox,” the site says.

Several spyware brands, including Mobile Spy and MobiStealth, now offer systems that work with Android, Google’s operating system for mobile phones, ranging in price from $100 to $150 per year.

The software “gives you complete control over your child’s cell phone,” says MobiStealth.

Dr. Henry Gault, who practices child and adolescent psychiatry in Deerfield, Ill., says parents who spy on their children “are walking down a slippery slope” and may end up causing worse problems than the ones that prompted the surveillance.

“That should be the course of last resort,” he said. “Essentially you’re throwing in the towel and saying there’s no trust anymore.”

He suggested it’s normal for children try to keep some secrets from their family.

“Parents shouldn’t feel guilty not knowing 100 percent of what’s going on,” he said. “It’s our job as parents to reduce risk, but you can never reduce the risk to zero.”

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Home drug tests:

Compared to tracking and spyware gadgets, home drug testing kits are relatively low-tech and inexpensive. But they raise tricky issues for parents, who may be torn between alienating their child on the one hand and living with unresolved doubts about possible drug abuse on the other.

David Walsh directed an adolescent treatment program earlier in his career and says the at-home tests can be appropriate when parents have solid reason for suspicion.

“When a son or daughter is getting seriously into drugs, one dynamic of that is denial,” he said. “The stakes are so high. Parents can say, ‘We need to make sure you’re not doing serious damage to yourself. We might occasionally test you.'”

In Colorado Springs, Colo., single mother Amanda Beihl was among the first to carve out a business from Internet sales of test kits, starting in 1999.

Beihl created homedrugtestingkit.com, selling kits to test for illicit drugs and alcohol use. Individual kits testing for a single drug cost as little as $3; a 10-substance kit sells for $19.95.

It’s an ever-evolving field, Beihl says, as teens experiment with new hallucinogens or abuse a range of prescription drugs.

“A lot of parents say they’re afraid of ruining their relationship with their kid – they don’t want to be seen as the bad guy,” Beihl said. “I tell them, if you’re already worried about it, the relationship is probably not that great.”

Kim Hildreth, 52, of Dallas, tested both her daughters during their teens. They’re now in their 20s, and provide occasional assistance as she runs a company, drugtestyourteen.com, that sells testing kits online.

Hildreth has been in the business since 2003 and says she has many repeat customers – parents who used the tests on an older child and now worry about a younger sibling.

In Hildreth’s case, she opted for testing after concluding that her oldest daughter’s best friend was using methamphetamine.

“None of us wants to believe our kids are capable of that,” Hildreth said. “Denial is a much more comfortable place.”

She also later tested her younger daughter, to the point where resentment surfaced, but said both daughters are now staunch proponents of testing.

“We all think we know our kids, but they can change on a dime, and bad things can happen before you even figure it out,” Hildreth said. “They’re good at deceiving parents when they want to – that’s kind of their job.”

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GPS Tracking / Locator for Children – Track your children


Kidnapping and Parental Abduction

ABP World Group™ will return with updated information about recommended GPS trackers during July 2015. Stay tuned. For more information about GPS trackers, send us an email: contact@abpworld.com

Parental child abduction – We offer needed support
Contact us via Skype: abpworld, or email contact@abpworld.com
For US clients call 805 CHILD 11 or email contact@abpworldusa.com

GPS Locator For Children Trackers

These days all of us are extremely busy and your teens are no different. It can make you crazy trying to keep track of them and their schedules, so what’s a frazzled parent to do?

You definitely want to know where they are at all times, but how can you keep track of them without constantly calling their cell phone (a recipe sure to put you on bad terms). How will you know if something happens to your teen or if they are in trouble of some sort?

GPS Trackers for Children – Top 10 GPS Tracker for Kids Reviews 2015

For years, parents have been limited to traditional methods of keeping track of their children‘s movements: standing in the playground, watching from the window, or asking them to phone home when they visit a friend’s house. But now anxious mothers and fathers are being offered a distinctly hi-tech method of monitoring their child’s every movement – tracking them by satellite. Relatives can receive text messages about the watch’s location direct from the device, pinpointing the street address of their youngster at the touch of a button.

It’s true that a cell phone is great to improve the safety of your teen, but what if they aren’t near the cell phone or possibly don’t want you to know where they are going. There is a solution and that is a GPS tracker for your teen and their car.

Read: Can a GPS prevent Parental Child Abductions?

There are two very good reasons to install a GPS tracking device in your teens car. The first is to track the vehicle in case of theft and the second is to ensure the safety of your teen.

Teens are notorious for underestimating the danger in many situations and they can often get themselves into trouble without even knowing how. You know about the likely dangers your teen might encounter, but getting them to listen to you (and believe you) is often an exercise in futility. So, you sit at home nights praying that your teen gets home safely. With a GPS tracking device installed in your teens car the need for you to worry is dramatically decreased.

You can keep track of where they are, where they are going and when you can expect them to arrive back home. Best of all, if they do not come home on time you can contact the police and have them easily track down the car, perhaps saving your teen from danger and harm.

There are various technologies that can help protect children, ranging from devices that send out a local alarm that can be heard from a couple hundred feet away, to very sophisticated dedicated GPS tracking devices.

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Online Mom – Keep The Kids Safe


By: Online Mom

Hi, I’m Jenny,

It is every parents nightmare but unfortunately child abduction is a reality. The statistics are quite terrifying:

Somewhere in the United States a child goes missing every 40 seconds.

A lot of these have innocent explanations. Kids visit friends without telling you. They wander off at the mall while you are paying for something with your credit card.

Even thought there are lots of reasons kids go missing, when it happens, the panic and fear of the worst scenario is all you can think about.

amberadAbduction isn’t what parents want to even think about but it does happen. One of the most common cases is abduction of a child by one of the family members. The latest statistics are that 203,900 kids were abducted by family members every year. Arguments over child custody during and after divorce are commonplace.

I for one put my faith in modern GPS technology provided by Amber Alert. These small devices can be placed in children’s clothing or hidden in their backpacks.

With just the press of a few buttons you can receive instant information on where your child is, displayed on your cell phone or computer.

Click Here to have a look at their website and find out about this wonderful device that helps keeps our kids safe.

-Jenny

Visit the blog: http://childtrackingdevice.org/blog/