I think that we still have a very old-fashioned attitude that runaways are bad kids, or runaways run from bad places. But, the way our system operates, we categorize any missing person as a runaway until we know otherwise.
"Answer me this -- do you know who your child made friends with on Facebook yesterday?" Tim Woda, co-founder of UknowKids.com, poses this question whenever he discusses Internet safety with concerned parents.
When people think about missing children, images of scary white vans and bus stop grabs rush through their heads. But for many children, it is a parent's car, not a scary van that rips them from everything they have ever known.
Studies show that parental involvement is the number one factor in keeping kids safe online. As with any other activity, understanding what our kids do online means being involved and asking questions.
The whole point of global connectivity is that information is everywhere. If your children don't want you -- or grandma, their soccer coach or their secret crush -- to read something or see a picture of it, it most certainly doesn't belong on the Internet.
When my daughter went missing, I needed to act -- I couldn't just sit by the phone and wait. So I turned to Facebook. And Twitter. And LinkedIn. And email. And anything else I could think of. Before my daughter was returned home safely, more than 4,000 people shared my story.