A parent’s worst nightmare – a missing child – is a new Facebook trend in Great Britain and as is the nature of the web, has the potential to reach more nations if not stopped soon.
“The 48-hour Challenge” dares teens to leave home and run away for 48-hours, going completely off the grid. Extra points get awarded when friends and family post about the child “missing” during the challenge.
Then when the teen re-emerges, they give little if any explanation to family or police. This dangerous and thoughtless game is criticized by parents and law enforcement alike. In an interview with Belfast Live, one participant’s mom was confused and angry.
“This is a competition, and it’s sick. The anxiety it left our family in is unspeakable,” she said. She explained how her teen son was not remorseful at all and posted selfies of himself in the back of the squad car after he was found.
This game is not the first “challenge” that’s stormed Facebook and put kids at risk. The ‘Game of 72’ challenged kids to go missing for 72 hours and the “Blue Whale Challenge” (though it started as a hoax) challenged teens to commit suicide.
The problem comes when media attempts to inform and adversely boosts the popularity of such stupid and dangerous games. With more exposure, more teens take up the dare.
Discuss with your children the dangers of social media dare-based games and monitor their social media usage to help prevent these kinds of pranks.