Scary new ’48 hour Missing Challenge’ encourages teens to fake disappearance

Another dangerous social media challenge has parents taking proactive steps to protect their kids.

Just this past year, online sites have featured the Bird Box Challenge, where people walk around and even drive blindfolded, as well as dares to eat laundry detergent pods and swallow mounds of cinnamon.

The 48-hour challenge dares kids to disappear for a couple of days without telling anyone in their family, then record their parents' reaction when they finally show up.

Psychologist Kim Wagner tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers, "Kids' brains are very much wired for experience.. they seek out peer approval and social acceptance."

She adds that talking about social media challenges before children are exposed to them can make a difference. "The most effective way to talk to a teen is going to be to talk 'with' them versus talking 'at' them."

Wagner says parents should ask questions about what is interesting on social media and give their child a chance to explain what kids are doing at school. She explains that teaching empathy is also very important, "(ask them) to put themselves in the shoes of their parents and family members".

Arvada Police tell FOX31 these challenges can endanger others and put teens in situations they never imagined.

Officer Gordon Beasley warns "there are adults out there who are going to take advantage of a kid that’s naive, who thinks this is part of their fun game they’re playing but it could be a predator."

He adds that parents are required to report missing children, and hoax's hurt everyone when an officer is distracted, "that’s taking us away from important business we need to be doing on the street ."

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