Losing a precious family member is always a terrifying experience. Nothing can be more worrying than not knowing where a loved one is and you have no idea whether they are hurt or are in need of help. While it can be especially troubling if your loved one is a young child or an elderly relative, it doesn’t mean it’s any less worrying if your missing family member is in his teens. In fact, it can be just as agonizing as your teenager is at a stage in his life when he is particularly impressionable and can give in to peer pressure. Heaven forbid that it ever happens, but if you ever find yourself in the situation of having a missing family member, particular a teenager, here are some bits of helpful advice on what you can do:
What to Do if Your Teen Ran Away or Got Lost
1. Get in touch with the police to find your teenager.
Provided that the person in question has been missing for some number of hours and you really can’t account for where he has gone, you shouldn’t waste any time in going to local police enforcement agency in your area and informing them about the loss or disappearance of your teen. Make sure you provide the police with all relevant information, such as the name of your child, his physical description, and photos of him. If he has been missing for more than three days, the police can place your kid on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, which is a governmental network that spreads information nationwide.
2. Reach out to your teenager’s friends and acquaintances.
As we are not around our family members all the time, you may not have even been the last one to see your teenager. You can reach out to your teen’s classmates, teachers, friends, and acquaintances to ask if they had any recent contact or sighting of your kid. Any information they can provide might prove helpful in locating your loved one.
3. Register your missing teenager in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).
NamUs is an online resource center for missing person cases in the United States. As it is funded by the National Institute of Justice, you can be guaranteed that all its powerful resources will be used to help you find your loved one who has gone missing. All you need to do is to register to the site and make an entry about the missing person, complete with all essential and relevant details like their physical traits, where they were last seen, and what they were wearing.
4. Create and print missing person flyers that you can post around your neighborhood.
If your teen has just run away and is just with a friend, there’s a good chance that he might still be living in your community or town. Flyers help to inform your neighbors and the people of your community as to the disappearance of your teen, and they might be able to help you in the search for your loved one.
5. Harness the power of social media.
In this digital age, nothing is as fast or more powerful a platform as social media when it comes to spreading news or getting the word out. All it takes is a single tweet or Facebook post and the reach of that tweet or post can be unimaginable. Your simple post can be read by millions of people, and when you’re desperate to find a missing loved one, having that much audience reach can be especially helpful.
6. Invest in a GPS tracker to track your teenager.
Like how the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. One of the ways you can prevent a missing person case is by setting up a GPS tracker on your loved ones’ possessions such as their bags or favorite pieces of clothing. However, note that you should always ask for their permission to use a tracker on them. Make them understand that such things are for their own safety and that in case they get lost or even abducted, a tracker can help them to send out a call for help so you can immediately trace their exact whereabouts and go to them.