(UNDATED) – Local law enforcement is warning families about a new risky media challenge in hopes of discouraging teenagers from creating fake missing tales in an effort to gain traction on social media.
The hashtag ’48-Hour Challenge’ encourages teens to disappear for up to two days and is then awarded “points” to every social media mention they receive during that time.
Officers are not trying to create a panic among community members, but they would not be doing their job if they didn’t make parents aware of the challenge.
Officers say children don’t realize this could put them in serious jeopardy and a situation could escalate faster then they are ready for.
Police are concerned this could distract officers who are helping people actually in need of police assistance.
“This kind of missing person reports are taken extremely seriously,” says Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore. “This could potentially take away from incidents that are not false and cause serious concerns for our citizens who are truly in need.”
Other law enforcement agencies across the country have issued similar warnings, but none have cited receiving any calls or reports of missing teens.
Police and sheriff’s departments are asking parents to explain to their children why reporting fake disappearances is a dangerous thing to do.