An Amber Alert for a 7-month old boy woke up thousands of New Yorkers at 3:51 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Authorities say the boy was taken from a Manhattan child welfare facility without permission. Police say 7-month-old Mario Danner Jr. was taken around 3 p.m. on Tuesday. He’d been at a Children’s Services facility for a supervised visit.
Authorities say 25-year-old Marina Lopez of Queens is not the custodial parent. They say she’s had recent “outbreaks of violence.”
Amber alerts automatically sound on phones purchased after 2011. The system is a partnership between the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Notifications are delivered through the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program — much like extreme weather alerts.
While an Amber Alert is a big deal, being woke up at 4 in the morning over a domestic matter involving the child’s parents custody issue, that’s where residents are mad.
“While I am sensitive to the importance of Amber alerts, a 4 a.m. emergency alarm, causing momentary panic and ruining a night’s sleep over a domestic matter involving a child and his biological mother seems way over the top,” Brooklyn resident Sam Erickson, 46, told the Daily News. “I know that the federal government added amber alerts to the list of things that would be blasted out on the system but either that is a bad idea or they need to be more selective about which ones and when.”
Numerous people who woke up to the Amber Alert on their phones at around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday complained on Twitter that it jolted them awake and scared them.
@BiancaBattagli tweeted, “That sounded louder than an alarm clock. Thank you Amber Alert for waking me up at 4 in the morning.”
@yesterdaysfool said, “Grrr… Is it really necessary to get an AMBER Alert in NYC at 3am – Thanks alot Android… call me back during normal business hrs!”
@supreetkay tweeted, “That amber alert just scared the life outta me.”
@NintendoFanFTW worries about people and tweeted, “It concerns me that the first thing some people do when they get an amber alert on their phone is make a rude tweet about how it annoys them”
@WillGunners says, “Wtf, my phone just sent me an automatic amber alert. Didn’t know iPhones did that. Didn’t really describe much, so kind of pointless.”
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the notification is sent out when a child has been kidnapped and is “facing grave danger.” Anyone with information can call 1(866)-NYS-AMBER.
It turns out, you can disable the Amber Alert coming into your phone. “Cell phone users can opt out of receiving WEA messages,” the New York State Police told the News. “ Most cell phones are now automatically enabled depending on your cell phone provider. For instructions on how to opt out of the program, customers should contact their cell phone provider.”
Those who want to manage subscriptions and either opt in or out, mobile phone owners can send the keyword “help” to the short code 26237 (AMBER). To enroll or modify, send the keyword “Amber + 5-digit zip code.” To cancel send the keyword “stop.”
Smartphone users can also turn off the notification in their settings.
Apple’s iPhone has a setting under Notifications for Government Alerts. Amber and Emergency alerts are both listed, and can be turned off.
Android users can go to Wireless & Network under Settings, select More and then Cell Broadcasts.
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