Actually, this Amber Alert screeched into the living room, literally making me jump the first time it came on.
Over the next hour (or so), this alert interrupted regular television programming a few times – updating the alert whenever new information was received.
I had seen/heard many Amber Alerts in the past, but I had never seen anything like this “enhanced” Amber Alert before. Changes to the Amber Alert system in 2015 mean that Amber Alerts will now interrupt television and radio programming, and automatically be broadcasted across social media channels.
The whole purpose of an Amber Alert is to alert the general public about the abduction of a child – and alert them as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to getting information out about a child abduction.
In my opinion, there is no greater use for social media than when a child has been abducted and an Amber Alert has been issued. If you’ve ever seen it in action, social media is an phenomenal way to spread an Amber Alert, reaching thousands of people in a matter of minutes.
It is truly amazing to sit back and watch the power of social media and how everyone works together to share, tweet, and retweet, an Amber Alert.
Last night as I tweeted and shared the Amber Alert, I began to feel all “warm and fuzzy”, not about the horrific reason for my tweets, but because it was so inspiring to see Canadians (and even some of my US friends!) working together to try to find this boy and bring him home safely.
I had a moment of great pride in my fellow Canadians.
Unfortunately, that moment did not last very long. That’s when Twitter took me to the dark side, in a similar way it did back in October 2015.
I couldn’t believe it but, I actually started to see tweets with Canadians COMPLAINING about the Amber Alert, and how it was interrupting their television shows. Some were even mad at the cable providers because their PVRs did not continue to tape their show during the alerts.
Come on Canada! Complaining about your television show while a young boy is missing?!
What if it was YOUR child?
Hey, I can understand a moment of frustration when your show is cut off but, once you realize the reason behind the interruption, should that not squash all that anger? After all, a child was missing!
Aren’t we better people than that, Canada?
I was so shocked by what I was seeing in my Twitter feed, I started taking snips of the tweets I was seeing. I could have kept “snipping” all night, but I stopped. You only need to read a few of the tweets to understand that not everyone was concerned for this boy’s safety.
I omitted any identifying information for those whose tweets were, what I would call, selfish (that’s being nice). I am not wanting to stir up more online negativity.
This was the first tweet I read under the hashtag #AmberAlert that really got my blood boiling. I have a response to this but, I would have to black out all the text if I included it here.
Then there was this one.
This one does have a good point, however, they are not considering a couple of things. First, someone watching tv at home could help by popping online and quickly sharing the Amber Alert on their social media channels. Second, why notify 20 times? That’s because YOU may have seen the alert but, the hundreds of other Canadians who tune into their tv or radio at different times may have missed the previous alerts.
This tweet has a valid point for some people. PTSD is a serious disorder and sudden, loud noises, can cause great distress for those suffering from PTSD. I still feel an Amber Alert is more important at that moment in time. For anyone upset by the noise, they could easily turn down, or turn off, their tv or radio.
True, the police did not seem to know the exact age of the child, but in the grand scheme of things, does that really matter? A child was missing and they had other identifying information, including the type of vehicle the child was in. Why was the Amber Alert getting so much attention? That’s a question no one should have to ask.
For the very first time ever, I actually had some sympathy for the cable companies. This was just one example of what I saw. An Amber Alert is NOT dictated by the cable companies. It’s a government/police initiative. Even if the message comes on our screens a half-dozen times, we can easily get rid of it. Pressing a button on our remote is not difficult.
Thankfully I also saw many great tweets that restored my faith in humanity!
This tweet was well said.
I loved this one…especially with the use of the hockey sticks!
This one from Eric Alper was terrific!
Apparently, police departments/911 received calls during the Amber Alert from people complaining about the alert interrupting their tv show. Wow. Not only should someone NOT be complaining about an Amber Alert, no one should be tying up police resources calling them to complain about this!
Then there was this. My favourite tweet that I saw last night. This one acknowledges that the alert was annoying BUT that’s exactly the way it should be! Alerts are supposed to catch your attention, and that is what this one did!
Thankfully, it turns out that this child, who was the subject of this Amber Alert, was located safe and sound. Great news! So often a situation like this does not turn out so well.
Please remember that, sometimes, the police have a tough job trying to decide if a situation like this warrants an Amber Alert.
Let’s not make that job tougher by being a nation of armchair critics.
If you wish to help do more during future Amber Alerts, you can sign up for the Missing Kids Alert which provides Amber Alerts direct to you via your social media feeds, email, fax, or text.
A huge thank you to all my readers/followers who took the time to tweet and share this Amber Alert. Your efforts were truly appreciated!