WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has launched a 21st century take on milk carton advertising: a downloadable computer screensaver that flips through photographs of missing kids.
A picture of missing 3-year-old Shahid Lowther-Ray who went missing in 2002 in California.
Developed in partnership with a private software company, Global Software Applications, the rotating screens display a missing child's picture and profile, tailored according to the region of the United States where the computer user is located.
Ron Koning, Global Software's vice president, hopes the screensaver will be used everywhere from police stations to office buildings and "any area with high traffic," he said. "Where it will catch the most eyes."
The company provides public access Internet kiosks, and has been working with NCMEC to display photos on its own machines in hotels, resorts, and Internet cafes since 2005.
More than 4,000 children are missing, said the Center's executive director, Bob O'Brien. The screensaver is a great way "to get more and more people engaged" in finding kids.
Since the milk carton advertising of the 1980s, the organization has tried working with private companies who fax and regular mail the pictures. Any method to get the pictures to the public works. One in six children featured has been found as a result of someone seeing their picture.
Both O'Brien and Koning acknowledge the success of the screensaver initiative will depend on the number of people who download the application. So far, Koning says, close to a thousand people have done so, including a few police stations.
The company said it can cope with hundreds of thousands of software downloads.
The screensaver is available free at www.missingkidsaver.com. E-mail to a friend