News outlets are reporting that there is a new, viral Facebook challenge called the “48-Hour Challenge.” The 48-hour challenge encourages teenagers to disappear for 48 hours. They score points for each social media mention they receive while they’re gone.
According to Snopes, though, this is an Internet hoax. It’s a new version of an old hoax called the “Game of 72.” This hoax was popularized in 2015 by an article in the Daily Mail, which is no longer available online. Snopes cites the lack of any real evidence or named sources as proof that both the 48-hour Challenge and the Game of 72 are hoaxes.
This doesn’t stop parents from being concerned. Law enforcement agencies across the country have issued warnings about the 48-Hour Challenge, according to NBC News. There is always the danger that someone may see the 48-Hour Challenge and decide to try it, turning it from a hoax into reality.
Hoaxes and challenges are just one more reason that parents should closely monitor their children’s social media presence. Have regular conversations with them about the importance of maintaining privacy online and how to tell reliable information from unreliable information.
Perhaps most importantly of all, encourage them to have real-life, in-person relationships. The Child Mind Institute recommends activities like volunteering or playing sports. These activities help build self-esteem away from the Internet and can give kids a stronger foundation of social understanding.