According to media reports, the “48-Hour(s) Missing Challenge” is an emerging online social media challenge that encourages young people to go missing and remain hidden for 48-hours to increase their “likes” and “shares” on Facebook photos. Currently there are no proven examples of teenagers participating in this challenge, leaving some speculation that it is a hoax.
In late January, a 13-year-old in Rock Hill, South Carolina, went “missing” resulting in an intensive first responder effort, including detectives and search teams. The teenager was found 24-hours later hiding under her bed. She denied participating in the online challenge.
No cases of this challenge have been confirmed in the United States. However, the attention this online challenge is receiving could ultimately result in the hoax becoming credible. First responders are warning the public of the consequences and dangers of this online challenge, including negatively impacting first responder resources for real emergencies.
Authorities encourage parents to speak to their children regarding these trending online challenges and be knowledgeable of their activity on social media platforms. Location finder applications on smartphones can assist law enforcement in the event a child goes missing.
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