Among all the online trends and challenges we’ve witnessed so far this year, the social media “game” dubbed as the “48-hour Challenge” may just be the worst. The sick trend which seems to be popular among teens these days had parents alarmed and worried that the worst may have happened to their kids.
According to Yahoo!, the challenge is to pretend to go “missing” for two days (48 hours). Participants are urged to runaway and cut all contacts or means of communication with families and friends then reappear after two days. The disturbing twist of the so-called game is that they would earn “points” whenever someone would post, share an update, and comment on social media regarding them or their whereabouts. This means they get rewarded everytime their worried families, friends, or anyone online mention them and ask for help to find them.
The prank is said to be a spin-off of the “Game of 72” craze across Northern Europe in 2015 where kids would fake their disappearance for 12, 24, or 72 hours. Daily Mail reports that teens as young as 14 are believed to have taken part in the 48-hour Challenge in the UK and would often do it in pairs or groups as a dare.
The challenge recently made a buzz online after netizens speculated that 17-year-old Ica Policarpio’s disappearance was linked to it. But her family cleared in a statement that Ica did not join any kind of challenge and her disappearance was not a prank but caused by “deep emotional distress”.
Unlike Ica, many people go missing everyday and are not as fortunate to have been found or to even have as huge support in helping find them. Many families are still out there, searching, left in unspeakable anxiety and fear that the worst may have happened to their loved ones.
It’s unimaginable how people, kids in particular, would see this as a prank or a challenge without thinking how worried and miserable their parents would be. To top it all, they’re doing this to gain online presence and petty “rewards”.
It’s trends like these that make you shake your head and question if there’s really hope for the next generation. The 48-Hour-Challenge should neither be a game or a prank. It is never funny and anyone who thinks otherwise should probably need some serious counseling or seek professional help.
Artwork by Mark Ferdinand Canoy