Social networks may help find missing Ben

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THE mum of missing Sheffield boy Ben Needham, who disappeared on holiday 20 years ago, is backing a campaign to publish the details of missing youngsters on a social networking website.

Kerry Grist, from Ecclesfield, said the internet and mobile phones were a vital tool in the search for missing youngsters as they could reach a worldwide audience.

Kerry said the international appeals were a significant development and called the idea, by Twitter, “absolutely amazing, a really good idea”.

In July her son Ben will have been missing for 20 years. He disappeared during a family holiday on the Greek island of Kos in 1991 when he was 21 months old.

The new campaign will post information about missing children on Twitter.

Kerry said: “It involves not only Ben’s information, but it will feature a missing person every 30 minutes on Twitter

“It would probably be their contact details, maybe some information on where they disappeared from, who to get in contact with if you have any information.”

She said the advent of social networking was something she could not have imagined when her son went missing.

She said: “It is sent from just one person and then is re-tweeted and re-tweeted and in 30 minutes that information could hit thousands of people.

“Ben’s Twitter campaign has had a marvellous response - I believe the other day it had 4,200 followers.

“Ben has been missing for 20 years and it’s getting more and more difficult to keep up the publicity. The internet and social networking sites give the campaigns looking for missing children extra eyes and ears.

“If this had been around when Ben disappeared I don’t think I’d be in this situation, doing interviews.

“I believe Ben would have been found.

“But we need to move forward, move with the times and get Ben’s information out there at the click of a button.

“The more the information is put out there, the more chance we have of finding him, or him finding us.”