'48-Hour Challenge' could lead to criminal charges

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A new online challenge is allegedly encouraging teens and children to disappear from their parents for 48 hours.

Warnings about the 48-Hour Challenge have spread across social media and appear to have started in the United Kingdom.

Some reports claim an alleged point system is associated with the "challenge," which rewards participants for time missing and the panicked social media posts of their parents.

This isn't the first time a missing challenge has sparked concern among the internet parenting community. A few years back, a similar phenomenon called the "Game of 72" made the rounds online.

Some have claimed the games are urban legends and there's hardly documentation of any cases in the United State. Cincinnati Police said the department has not seen any local challenge participants.

Whether it's a hoax or not, Legal Analyst Mike Allen stresses that the idea should be taken seriously.

Participating could lead to legal repercussions with charges such as making false alarms or inducing panic, Allen said. For minors, those charges could lead to jail time.

"Normally it doesn't happen on a first offense misdemeanor, however, you know, if you get a judge or a magistrate that wants to send a signal that this isn't going to be tolerated, I mean, they could do some time at the juvenile facility," Allen said.

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