Sonya Ryan had to face every parent’s worst nightmare when her teenage daughter was murdered in 2007. After the tragic loss of her daughter, Sonya established the Carly Ryan Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation increasing awareness of cyber safety and educating children and parents about the dangers for kids using the Internet.
One of the organisation’s initiatives is THREAD, a new personal safety app. Available for iOS and Android, the app enables children and teenagers to ‘check-in’ to advise identified trusted adults that they’ve arrived somewhere safely.
Sonya’s work as a cyber safety campaigner has earned her the respect of law enforcement, as well as the honour of South Australian of the Year in 2013.
The Murder of Carly Ryan
Stay Connected Campaign
AFP’s Manager of Victim Based Crime, Commander Glen McEwen, emphasised the importance of staying connected with family and friends, and doing so safely.
“The internet, social media, gaming—it’s all part of our daily lives, and it’s absolutely essential that children in particular learn how to navigate the web safely,” Commander McEwen said.
“It’s equally important for parents to get educated on what their children are seeing, saying and doing online, so they can provide the best support possible to their families.”
More than 35,000 people go missing in Australia every year, with one-third being under the age of 18. To help Australian parents provide information to police to locate their missing child, the AFP created the Australian Police Child ID Safety App.
The app, adapted from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Child ID App in the United States, allows families to store photographs and vital information about their children on their mobile phone. Then, in the event that their child goes missing, this information can be immediately forwarded to law enforcement.
While the vast majority of children who go missing are quickly returned safely, usually within 24 hours, the app can be used to quickly provide crucial information to police, assisting them to expedite their search.
The free app includes safety advice and checklists for parents on keeping children safe, information about what to do in the hours immediately after a child goes missing. The app also provides quick and efficient access to emergency contact phone numbers.