A European organization known as NotFound is encouraging website owners to install an application that displays the profile of a missing child on each 404 error page that visitors encounter. The group, recently formed in collaboration with Child Focus, Famous and Missing Children Europe, sees these error pages as an untapped resource that could be put to use for a meaningful purpose.
It’s not uncommon for site owners to create custom error pages to limit the frustration level web surfers encounter when they land on a bad page. The Verge notes there have been similar initiatives in the past to put a broken link to good use although none really gained much media attention or traction.
Maryse Roland from Child Focus said the aim of this project is to encourage as many people and businesses as possible to join the initiative. As Roland describes it, profiles will be shown at random on participating websites’ 404 pages: it could be a recently reported disappearance or perhaps visitors would see the profile of a child that hadn’t been heard from for many years.
The organization points out that there’s no cost involved to participate, just good will. Installation reportedly only takes a few minutes at which point all of your 404 pages will automatically be filled with missing child content.
The initiative just went live a couple of days ago and there’s already 480 participating sites according to NotFound’s website. The road ahead is long and windy but it’s a step in the right direction and it’s certainly not impossible. After all, it was only 30 years or so ago that something as unlikely as the milk carton was synonymous with missing children. What's stopping modern technology from accomplishing the same thing?