PERRY, Ohio -- The creator of a new smartphone application aims to help concerned parents find their children in the event they're lost.
Stephen Fern is the developer of Lost Kidz, which was recently made available to iPhone users. After losing a child briefly while on a family vacation, Fern told FOX 8 News that he started thinking of ways to track lost children.
The app doesn't track kids using GPS technology. Instead, it relies on the user of the app to activate an alert on the phone. As a result, people nearby who also have the app installed on their phone will receive a notification that a child is missing.
"We outnumber the bad people 10,000 to one, we just focus on the one," said Fern. "Actually, you instantly create a safe zone when you create an alert."
According to Fern, the app creates a "web" over an area by notifying other users so they can actively look for a missing child.
"People would tend to use it in a different way, some people would use it instantly, some people would want to wait until they knew their child was probably missing. But either way, for $.99, just have it there," said Fern.
The $.99 cost is what users have to pay to register a child with important information, including a photo, so that information can be widely distributed in the event of an actual emergency.
"They're my entire life," said Barbara Fieth, from Perry, when talking about her children. Several years ago, Barbara's daughter disappeared briefly in a bowling alley. "[I] lost sight of her for, like a minute or two, and she seemed to have disappeared and I was just frantic!"
Because of her personal scare, Fieth said she fully supports any technology that could help find a lost child. "I would definitely love to help out with something like that because I know how it felt," said Fieth.
The Lost Kidz app is free to anyone who only wants to receive alerts. Fern hopes that will encourage others to install the program so they can help find a missing child.
"The only drawback I do see is if you have to have a certain number of people with the app on their phones, to be able to have it work," said Brad Morgan. He's a father of four from Perry, who said anything that can help is a good idea.
While Lost Kidz is already available in the iTunes store, an Android version should be available soon.