Police warn parents about ’48-hour challenge’

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Police are warning parents about an alarming viral social media challenge.

According to NBC’s “Today,” the “48-hour challenge” isn’t widespread across the country, but is on the radar of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana, where Sheriff Bob Goldsmith posted an alert on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page:

“We were made aware of a ’48-hour challenge’ involving kids. The challenge encourages teens to go missing for up to 2 days at a time and awards points for every social media mention while they are missing,” Goldsmith wrote.

Goldsmith asks parents in the post to talk with their children about the use of social media and the dangers such activities involve.

“Runaway and missing person reports are very serious matters and to use these attention seeking type challenges pulls law enforcement away from their many other duties and causes unnecessary anxiety amongst the families and friends that are involved,” Goldsmith wrote.

According to “Today,” Tippecanoe County has not had any instances of teens vanishing, but that Goldsmith and the Sheriff’s Office are “trying to educate our community and get out in front of something before it happens.”

The outlet said the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee also issued a warning about the “48-hour challenge” after five juveniles ran away last week. Bradley County officials, however, did not find a link to “48-hour challenge,” “Today” reported.

“Today” noted that the fact-checking website Snopes has found in the past the “48-hour challenge” was a hoax.