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What Are the Advantages of Fingerprinting Kids?

Fingerprinting kids is a way to maintain reliable identification data that can be used if a child goes missing.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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While many people think of fingerprinting as an activity that takes place when booking individuals for specific crimes, the fact is that this approach to identification has several other important functions. Some of those processes have to do with protecting children. Here are some of the benefits associated with fingerprinting kids, both in terms of day to day activities and as a means of identification in emergency situations.

Many communities now support the idea of fingerprinting kids as a way to maintain reliable identification data that can be used in the event that the child is missing. Along with eye scans, the fingerprints can make it easier to determine the identity of a child that has been abducted and later escaped from the captor. As part of the fingerprint kit, cards that have the copy of the prints are provided to the parent or caregiver. Sets of these fingerprint ID cards can be kept at home, as well as in the child’s school records. Electronic copies can also be kept on file with law enforcement agencies via national databases, such as the one maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

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Fingerprinting kids can also be helpful in situations where caregivers and children are separated as a result of some type of natural disaster. For example, if a flood devastates a community and leaves a child traumatized to the point of being incommunicative, authorities can take a set of fingerprints and compare them to prints logged with the national database. This makes it easier to determine the identity of the child and begin the process of locating and contacting relatives who are probably frantic with worry about the missing child.

In like manner, fingerprinting kids can come in very handy when parents and children are separated on a trip, such as a vacation. Parents can provide the local authorities with a copy of the prints along with a physical description of the child, which can help with the search process. Once the lost child is identified, he or she can be returned to the parents quickly, thus ending what many parents consider their worst nightmare.

Not everyone agrees with the concept of fingerprinting kids. Detractors sometimes look upon the process as an invasion of privacy, with lifelong repercussions. At the same time, proponents point to the potential dangerous situations found in many cities and towns that make the idea of fingerprinting kids both practical and important to the process of keeping children safe. As the concept of child fingerprinting becomes common in more jurisdictions around the world, there is no doubt that both the merits and the drawbacks of this approach to child security will continue to be debated.

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Discuss this Article

KoiwiGal
Post 3

@bythewell - I don't really like it myself, but I don't think there is any way to avoid it really, and at least when they are kids it could help if they go missing. Particularly if they are very young when they go missing, because it is all too easy for children to forget where they come from after they have been abducted.

I was fingerprinted when I went overseas with a government agency and I was quite annoyed about it in principle. I know that there are a lot of arguments about privacy and so forth.

But, at the same time, I just can't see how that is ever going to apply to me. I'm not planning to commit a crime and if the government ever gets bad enough that they use fingerprinting illegally I think they would probably be bad enough to just make up evidence without caring too much about official fingerprints.

Besides, with the rise of electronic fingerprinting as a way of locking devices, I don't think this is a kind of privacy that anyone will keep for much longer.

bythewell
Post 2

@MrsPramm - Honestly, I'm not sure I would get this done to my kids. I mean, if you want, maybe do it privately and keep their fingerprints somewhere in your house or even scanned into your computer.

But providing them to an outside source just feels a bit creepy. And there's no telling what might happen in their lifetime. There might be a time when fingerprinting identification could work against them.

MrsPramm
Post 1

I remember this being done to me when I was a kid and they were offering it at a local mall. My mother and father were quite happy to pay $20 or so to fingerprint me in order to get me onto the database so that if I ever went missing, they would be able to provide my fingerprints to the police.

I'm sure fingerprint technology has come a long way since then, but I've often wondered whether my fingerprints are still in a database somewhere.

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