A bizarre new social media challenge has emerged that encourages kids as young as 14 to go missing for days at a time.
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The ’48 hour challenge’ invites children to hide from their family for as long as possible, with participants being given points every time they are mentioned on social media. So if their parents or loved ones sound the alarm on Facebook or Twitter, their score grows higher.
Facebook is now investigating the game in order to expose and hopefully put a stop to more kids taking part. One mum from Country Derry said that her child ran away and was found 55 hours later in a town in a different county to theirs:
I was terrified they were dead or would be raped, trafficked or killed.
But these kids just think it’s funny. There was not even a moment of remorse when my child was taken into police custody and when the police brought my child home, I could see posts of selfies from the police car.
More recently, 12-year-old Leah went missing from Hull last week and when she showed up, her grandmother Lynn Weatherill said she reckons she was taking part in the ’48 hour challenge’:
She is frightened now and I think she is starting to realise 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.
All these cases that are linked to the game are just speculation, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. After all, social media has a powerful influence on young people and if it’s able to convince teenagers to take part in games like ‘Blue Whale’, then it’s able to convince kids to take part in the ’48 hour challenge’ too.