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25 Minutes: The Time It Takes To Teach Children About Safety

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Did you know there are 525,000 minutes in a year? The National Center for Missing & Exploited  Children wants you to take 25 of them to talk to your child about safety the  same amount of time it takes to watch a favorite TV show.

It could save a  child’s life.

In the seven years since it began, NCMEC’s “Take 25”   campaign has spread to thousands of communities across the United States, 150 countries and  the Internet through social media. The campaign was created to coincide with  National Missing Children’s Day, which is May 25.

That was the day, in 1979, when 6-year-old Etan Patz was abducted from a New York street  on his way to school, the first time he was allowed to walk to the bus stop  alone. A suspect was recently charged with kidnapping and murdering him—more  than three decades later.

At the time Etan vanished, there was no coordinated national system for  addressing missing children cases. His case, and that of 6-year-old Adam  Walsh, who was abducted from a Florida  mall and murdered in 1981, helped launch a national movement that led to the  Missing Children’s Act in 1982 and the creation of NCMEC in 1984.

Today, up to 2,000 children go missing every day. Most are recovered  quickly, but there are many who never return home. As the nation’s  leading nonprofit working with law enforcement, families and the  professionals who serve them on issues of missing and exploited children,  NCMEC has learned a lot about how to keep children safer in the real world  and on the Internet.

Since 2005 to January 2013, for example, NCMEC employees have analyzed  8,000 confirmed attempted abductions, showing that many children escaped harm  by taking some kind of action. Most suspects were driving a vehicle. Nearly a  third targeted children going to and from school or school-related activities  between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nearly half of the children escaped by walking or  running away without any contact. One third were proactive: yelling, kicking,  screaming or pulling away.

This month, NCMEC is honoring a 10-year-old Philadelphia girl who fought  off a man who tried to abduct her last July as she walked down a street near  her home, holding her 2-year-old brother’s hand. A surveillance  videotape showed how fast it can happen: The man grabbed her from behind, put  his hand on her mouth and lifted her in the air. She struggled mightily and  her little brother screamed as loud as he could. The man dropped her and ran.  He was later arrested.

As part of the Take 25 campaign, NCMEC provides families and communities  with free tools and resources, in multiple languages, to host events and  initiate an ongoing dialogue with children, including conversation starters  and important safety tips. Because of its popularity, NCMEC has expanded the  May campaign from April 1 to June 15.

Events to raise awareness about the importance of talking to children  about safety are held in a variety of venues, including community centers,  military installations, sport complexes, retail locations, houses of worship,  schools and libraries. Last year alone, Masonichip International hosted 269 “Take  25” events. The U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops, 206. Miss Black USA, 36.

Every year, organizers find creative new ways to spread the message—on  highway billboard signs, at community safety fairs, even a flash mob.

NCMEC’s free resources, including the “Take 25 Organizer’s  Kit,” can be downloaded at www.take25.org  or ordered after your Take 25 event is registered and approved by NCMEC  staff.

You can also find important safety information at NCMEC’s websites, www.missingkids.com and www.netsmartz.org.