Police are telling parents to keep a watchful eye over their teens after stories of a “48-hour challenge” are popping up around the internet.
“It encourages teens to go missing for up to two days at a time and awards points for every social media mention while they’re missing,” KMOV reports.
Police say that in addition to being potentially dangerous for kids to participate in the challenge, it could also tie up authorities while there are real emergencies that need to be tended to. Anyone caught participating in the challenge could face charges, police warn.
This isn’t the first time stories of challenges like these have gone viral. After a similar alert went out to Michigan parents back in 2017, Snopes.com determined the trend was actually a hoax.
“In April 2015, the Daily Mail published a thinly sourced article titled ‘Parents left terrified by cruel new game on Facebook that sees children dare each other to vanish for 72 hours without telling relatives,’” Snopes wrote in 2017. “As with other panics of similar nature, the article breathlessly described as a ‘game’ that sounded of no real interest to teens whatsoever and included scant evidence that participants were actually undertaking the purported challenge.”
While it’s not clear where the 48-hour challenge originated, police say they are taking it seriously given the fact other challenges — like those around Tide Pods and the Netflix film Bird Box — became viral sensations.