Suddenly Facebook is filled with talk of the "48-Hour-Challenge." Supposedly, kids are challenging other kids to make people think they've disappeared. But is it for real? Have any kids actually done this?

Local, state, and national law enforcement has put out statements that basically say, "Don't do this." And they're correct. If some kid does it, law enforcement can't assume the kid is a dough-head doing the challenge. They have to do everything in their power to find the kid.

But have any kids done it?

Stopwatch, close-up
Martin Poole

The current talk of the 48-Hour-Challenge seems to have started in Charlotte, NC. A girl went missing, and after much worry and concern, she was found under her bed, with shoes around her. Some volunteer searchers said they thought the kid was doing the 48-Hour-Challenge. But the kid's mom says that's not what the kid was doing.

That's really it. That's what started it off. Almost any news story you'll find from the past couple days talks about the Charlotte, NC situation. And that's it. Sure kids go missing, sometimes they're pranking, sometimes they're not. But shake the Magic 8 Ball and ask, "Is this a thing where people make a bigger deal out of it than it really is?" and M8B will probably say, "All signs point to yes!"

Three things point to the 48-Hour-Challenge being more noise than action.

  • In 2015 it was widely reported that a 72-hour challenge was running rampant among kids...using almost the same language as the latest one...and it wasn't a thing (source).
  • Do a search on 48-Hour-Challenge and you'll get a bunch of stories very similar to the ones now...but from 2017.
  • Check multiple versions of the story. If they say, "Reportedly" or "alleged" or "neighbors say" or "volunteers were saying"...those aren't real sources and they're not proof. It's

In summary, it looks a whole like media hype. You've got enough to worry about without adding this to the list. That's not to say I don't think law enforcement shouldn't send out notices like the one from the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department, they have to forestall the idea so kids don't do it.

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