With the help of a charity, “404 Page Not Found” messages could come to mean more than missing Web pages — they could also identify and help find missing children.
The Child Welfare League Foundation yesterday urged support for a project that aims to make pages of information on missing children appear when Web surfers mistype an address or click on a broken link.
The foundation hopes to raise awareness of the problem of missing children in this way. Since 1992, the year the foundation started keeping records, 1,499 missing minors have been found in Taiwan, but less than 8 percent of the cases came after tip-offs. As of the end of August, 239 minors in Taiwan remained missing, with 73.6 percent missing for “a long time.”
With help from businesses, organizations and personal Web sites willing to change their 404 error pages, there may still be hope.
“The missing minors who show up on your screen could appear in real life,” said Lin Wu-hsiung (林武雄), director of the Missing Children Data Resource Center, which was jointly established by the foundation and the government.
Already, 146 Web sites had signed up as of August, and 500,000 Web visitors have seen the socially conscious error pages since the initiative was launched in July.