Police warn parents about new 48 hour social media challenge

Published: Feb. 13, 2019 at 4:58 PM CST
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Disappearing without a trace, on purpose.

A new social media trend that is terrifying parents and wasting police officer's time. It is called the 48-hour challenge, and the premise is simple. Disappear for up to 48 hours to see how much reaction you can get on social media.

Those who disappear get points for every like, share, and other post views about their disappearance.

The challenge has parents like Cheroy Murphy worried.

"If you pretend to be missing and then something actually does happen, then how is anybody going to know about it." said Murphy.

He has six kids, one of whom is a teenager. He hadn't heard about the challenge, but realizes how dangerous it could be.

"It is a scary thing to know that your kid is missing, and it is harder to know that they could just be joking. And then as a parent when do you decide the line of if they are really joking or really missing is?" Murphy said.

The challenge isn't only terrifying for parents, but it is also wasting valuable law enforcement resources.

"A report of a missing child or a missing teenager is a priority one call," said Lt. Roger Barron, with the Bolivar Police Department. "So it ranks right up there with assaults and domestic violence. So everybody that can go, we send."

He says that depending on the case, a fake disappearance could lead to charges.

"It takes the entire law enforcement community in general, the prosecutors to the police to the judges to find out each thing and figure out what is appropriate." said Lt. Barron.

Murphy says he and his fiance try to keep up with the social media challenges.

And they keep a close eye on what their children are doing on their phones to make sure they don't end up doing the challenges themselves.

"A couple times a week I will ask them for their phones and go through their social media and text messages and stuff and make sure that they are not being inappropriate or disrespectful to anybody," said Murphy.

Especially dangerous challenges like this one, or the tide pod challenge from last year.

"The tide pod challenge, that was silly. We explained to our kids how dangerous that was real quick," Murphy said.

"Just be involved in your kids life," said Lt. Barron. "Know what they are doing, know who their friends are and just stay active with them."

Local police departments say they haven't had any reports of the challenge just yet. But they are wanting to get ahead of it and warn parents.