Horry County Police warn parents of a new, potentially dangerous challenge on social media

Updated: Feb. 18, 2019 at 10:45 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Another viral and potentially dangerous challenge on social media is making its round. This time, it’s called the “48-hour challenge.” The challenge encourages teenagers to “disappear” on purpose for up to two days at a time.

The goal is to see a “missing person” post about them appear on social media, like Facebook. Once the teen reportedly disappears, they are awarded points for every like, share, and social media post views about their disappearance. Once the 48 hours are over, the child then goes back home. While it’s unclear where this challenge originated, Horry County police warn that faking a disappearance for attention can quickly turn into a serious problem.

“In South Carolina, a juvenile can face a status offense of 'runaway’ if they willfully go missing. A status offense means that only someone under the age of 17 can be charged for the crime. In addition, depending upon the particulars of a given case, a person who misleads others into believing they have gone missing involuntarily could face charges along the lines of filing a false police report,” said Horry County police spokesperson Mikayla Moskov.

Horry County police say the 48-hour challenge is not only dangerous for kids, but it could also tie up authorities while there are real emergencies that need to be tended to.

“When an individual is reported as missing, HCPD and other local departments dedicate resources in an effort to find the missing person as quickly as possible. A timely response is necessary to ensure that the individual is safe and cared for. If someone falsely leads others to believe they are missing, and a missing person investigation is launched, resources may ultimately be allocated to a fruitless search that may have been better utilized in other incidents,” said Moskov.

This challenge has parents like Amy Gathings worried about the potential effects it could have.

“It’s really frightening. It makes me want to hold on to my children tighter, and I can’t even imagine parents having to go through this - myself included," said Gathings.

Police say there’s been no documented instances of participation so far in our area.

Law enforcement stress the importance for parents to keep an open conversation with their children and know what your child is up to at all times. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on what your children are doing on social media so they don’t end up participating in the challenge themselves.

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