Some articles claim there is a new teen trend where kids purposefully go missing for 48 hours to “prank” their parents. It’s not real!
Some articles and media outlets write about a new teen “challenge”. They claim the goal is to purposefully go missing for 48 hours to “prank” their parents who should think their child has been abducted. After 48 hours the teens would come back from hiding.
That’s the story they tell at least. Several articles warn about this prank or lament teen stupidity. Most do not question whether or not this story is real!
It’s not – It’s an urban legend!
Why don’t they fact check? I guess because such an urban legends makes for better news. But then we talk about problems we don’t have, which is entirely unnecessary.
The “48 hours challenge” is a variant of you -guessed it- the “72 hours challenge” or the so-called “72 hours game” which was news back in 2015.
Which, too, there was never any proof for it being real. The problem: News outlets spread these rumors to concerned parents which in turn bother the police which have better things to do then to look for imagined “challenges”.
It all started according to Snopes with a BelfastLive article. BelfastLive quoted an unnamed parent about a single purported instance of the game being played by teenagers in Northern Ireland, without adding further information. Different sites like The Sun also covered the purported fad, as well as others. (Here and here)
This is sick.
"48 Hour Challenge" Game circulating on Facebook — encouraging kids to go missing! pic.twitter.com/2AAXN5y2QR
— Araksya Karapetyan (@Araksya) October 18, 2017
Police say it’s a hoax
“ So far, police say, the only evidence is dozens of panicked Facebook posts being shared by parents, warning each other about the game, and Emma’s testimony, to suggest the challenge exists.“
And another police spokesman from Vancouver claimed:
„We never issued a warning about the game as has been reported,“ Constable Brian Montague, a spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department.
The Washington Post elected the hoax for the “Fake on the Internet this week”.
The media loves such challenges
That’s why they invent these themselves or make exaggerated claims. Of course, there were some famous Internet challenges like the Ice-Bucket-Challenge. By claiming this or that is the next challenge or picking up isolated incidents, the media wants to gain attention. Mix in some real parent’s fears and you got yourself “news”.
But neither the “72 hours game” nor the “48 hours challenge” are real. They neither were challenges nor trends. A real challenge has four distinct elements:
- There is a clear task (-> “Challenge”)
- This task has to be completed by the challenged person
- After completing the task they get to nominate the next person
- This challenge aims to go viral and have as much participants as possible
So, if there is a real challenge, you will find several people doing it. Obviously. So if you don’t find anybody doing it, it’s not a real challenge, it’s a bloody urban legend.