The internet is definitely one of the biggest threats to children and teens in the modern day world. It puts their mental health, safety, and innocence at risk – and this new Facebook trend has parents stressed out of their minds all around the US!

A new online trend has parents scrambling to make sure their kids are safe. What is it? Well, it’s a new online game called the forty-eight-hour challenge. The game requires the player to pretend to go missing for forty-eight hours and follow a point currency to gain the most amount of points possible. As if the internet wasn’t already a terrible threat to kids, you see something like this occur.

Lee Tuttle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s missing person’s investigator, told WSOC-TV:

“It’s just a terrible strain, emotionally, physically on these families. We were talking about it amongst our unit and we all cringed as soon as we heard something like that. It’s disturbing because it’s something we take so seriously, and for someone to take it as a prank or a joke is very alarming.”

The game rules require the player to pretend to go missing for forty-eight hours and reappear in two days. The player must not be active on Facebook Instagram, snap chat, or any other social media platform. The player is also not allowed to notify parents, loved ones, or friends. Whenever someone shares a missing persons facebook post, share an update, or reports the person missing the are rewarded points. The point of the game? Essentially to worry the pants off the parents.

The prank originated as a game called ‘Game of 72’ that was popular across northern Europe om 2015 where kids would fake their disappearances for 12-72 hours. The Daily Mail reports that there were children as young a fourteen playing this game! I can’t imagine being a parent and finding out my kid was playing this kind of trick on me. Children often do it in groups or pairs as a dare. Many people, especially children, go missing every single day. At any given moment there are over 100,000 open missing person reports in the United States. This game is cruel not only for the parents of the players but for the parents of kids who’ve actually disappeared.

A 12-year-old girl from Hull was reported missing by her grandmother only to return 2 days later. Her grandmother now believes that her granddaughter took part in this horrible challenge:

“She is frightened now and I think she is starting to realize what she has done wrong. She didn’t know about this challenge. We told her about it and I do believe her but there are other girls in her school who are on Facebook.”

Playing this game only makes it harder for parents, teachers, police officers, and search teams to find kids who are actually missing. If you suspect that your kid might play this game, be sure to make it clear that it is not okay, nor is it a game. It’s a serious obstruction of justice and could very well end badly. Perhaps the policeman that investigated it lost the chance of finding a real missing person.

Facebook claims to be looking into the issue…

The safety of young people on Facebook is a responsibility we take extremely seriously and we are awaiting the links to investigate these reports to ensure we are able to take swift action if it is needed.

“We work closely with safety experts including the NSPCC, the UK Safer Internet Centre, Missing People, Child net and much more to help young people have a positive experience on Facebook, and collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies on issues regarding child safety.”

Please share this with everyone you know. It is high time that we put an end to these horrible online challenges…

Featured Image Via Anon-HQ.

Outside sources for this article include: Anon-HQ, and Daily Mail.

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