FBI urges parents to download Child ID app and says updates make it easier to use

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When a child is kidnapped, every second counts, which why the FBI is urging parents to download their newly updated Child ID App.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that hundreds of thousands of children go missing every year. Not all of them are kidnapped, many are runaways, but if your child vanishes, you’ll want to get an updated photo and information on your child to police right away. That’s where the Child ID App comes in.

The FBI released the app five-years ago and thousands of people have already downloaded it, but recent updates now make it easier to use.

The app will now remind you periodically to take new pictures of your kids since children grow and change so quickly. It also provides tips on what to do if your child disappears.

"With today's technology, you can go to a ballgame, snap a picture of your child as you walk into that ballgame and update it on that mobile app," Bridget Patton with the FBI said.  "You have a real-time updated picture of your child that you can provide law enforcement on scene should the need arise."

The FBI says the app is all secure, and they cannot access your children’s private information from your phone.

"The FBI does not retain any of those photos or any of that information," Patton said. "You as the mobile device owner. That information stays on that mobile phone. You are the sole person who has access to that information and it is up to you to email that information to law enforcement should the need arise."

You can download this app on both Apple and Android, and it’s free. Just search Child ID in your app store.

"This is a public safety tool," Patton said. "It is a free resource for parents to have at their fingertips, so we want to continually get that information out there."