It just takes 20 seconds of distraction
Most parents have experienced this at some point: just a moment of distraction is enough for a child to go missing. Missing Children Europe is bringing practical and creative solutions to help children memorise their parents’ phone numbers so that they can contact them in case of emergency. The idea is for children to learn the phone number in parts by using it as the unlock code of the smartphone or tablet that the child uses. Delphine Moralis, Secretary General of Missing Children Europe says,
“With the Remumber app, we are looking to draw parents’ attention to safety during the school holidays and to prevent situation of panic by helping children directly. Knowing a phone number by heart can help keep children safe when parents are not around. It empowers the child to get out of an uncomfortable situation by calling their parents and giving them their location. With the summer holidays round the corner, families need to be made aware of simple precautions: holidays abroad and trips to places packed with tourists increase the chances of children going missing. It is therefore crucial that children are given all the necessary tools to react in the best way possible to this kind of situation. Installing the app can equally provide a good opportunity to address the subject of trust and safety with them and to set some agreed upon guidelines, particularly just before the holidays.”
Remumber: using technology to keep children safe
Today technology is an integral part of children’s lives. From a very early age, they are able to unlock a mobile phone or tablet in the blink of an eye. Laurent Dochy, Creative Director of FAMOUS Brussels says,
“The new generation is connected and mobile, there are no two ways about it. The large majority regularly use mobile devices protected with a lock code they know by heart, but has no significance to them. The app Remumber turns this daily action into something useful that can protect children in danger.”
How does it work?
The idea is simple: the app plays the role of the smartphone or tablet’s lock code. Once the app is installed, you just enter the phone number to memorise and the device will then be locked through Remumber. Children memorise the number gradually: the first four digits have to be learned by heart and then the next numbers to enter are illuminated if the child is stuck and needs a clue.
Once the child has successfully memorising the whole code, parents are informed by email and they can then enter a new number to memorise, leave the original number or uninstall the app.
The application is currently only available for Android users. To install, simply download the app and follow the indicated steps.
When we were young, we learnt everyone’s phone numbers by heart by dialling them repeatedly. Today there is a greater tendency to rely on our mobile phone contact list. It’s the same for young people who have never had the chance to learn numbers by heart. But it is through this repetition that we develop long-term memory. Boris Nikolai Konrad, neuroscientist and world record holder for memory, explains: “
Boris Nikolai Konrad, Neuroscientist and Memory World Record Holder, explains: “Because the children are manually typing the same number multiple times a day, it becomes a physical routine for the children, also known as ‘muscle memory'. The retrieval practise is essential for committing information to long-term memory. It’s not just about being able to recite a number, but also about remembering it physically.”
The problem of children not knowing phone numbers anymore is a universal one. Remumber is a solution for all families. It is an EU-wide initiative. Many families cross the borders of European countries in July and August. Therefore, collaboration between the grassroots member organisations of Missing Children Europe is essential. Their work on the ground locally often makes all the difference. In Belgium, Missing Children Europe works closely with Child Focus, its Belgian member.
Today, no fewer than 15 countries are united with Belgium under this initiative: Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Estonia, France, Austria, Spain, Greece, Albania, Ireland, Hungary and Romania.
Remumber has been launched in Europe but is also available around the world. Parents can easily download the app on their personal or shared family devices.
Some practical tips as you get ready for the holidays:
- Download the Remumber app on your child’s phone, family tablet and/or your mobile device.
- Take time to talk to your child about the ‘safety rules for the holidays’ and to respond to their questions.
- Dress your child in bright colours so that you can easily spot them.
- Agree on a meeting place with your child if they get lost.
- If the child doesn’t remember the meeting place, it is best that they remain where they are while you search for them.
- Remind your child that they can always speak to officials in uniform.
- Take a photo of your child on your mobile phone before you leave.
- If you cannot find your child quickly, contact the local police or 116 000 from wherever you are in Europe.
For more information on Remumber: www.remumber.com
Spread the message about Remumber on social media using the hashtag #Remumber