Police have been issuing warning statements to parents to be on the lookout for their children potentially getting involved in the "48-hour challenge”.
The challenge is the latest fad on social media, but unfortunately, it is one of the most dangerous ones that have appeared so far.
The goal of the challenge is to disappear for 48 hours with no trace. Kids then allegedly score each other’s attempts based on how many times each incident has been mentioned in the media during the two days.
Participating children are encouraged to pretend that they are missing to the full extent of their abilities.
Tippencoe County Sheriff Bob Smith revealed: "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."
Smith added: "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."
He concluded by: "We are trying to educate our community and get out in front of something before it happens."
There has been a massive outcry in response to the new trend. Many parents have called it irresponsible and worrying, and authorities have stepped in to point out that it interferes with their work as well.
According to police officers, the challenge can take away valuable police resources that might be necessary in a real search for a person who needs help.
There have been no officially reported incidents involving the challenge so far, but many officers have been urging parents to talk to their children about the trend and discourage them from participating.
According to authorities, parents should emphasize the negative effects of the “prank” when explaining it to their kids, rather than taking up a preemptive punishing approach.
For the time being, most are apparently just hoping that the trend is going to go away on its own after some time, like all previous similar cases.
Some states are starting to address this problem, should the prevention go national?