Getty Images | Lukasz Wierbowski

Rumored Teen Challenge Involves Intentionally Going Missing For 48 Hours

Whenever we hear about a dangerous challenge spreading like wildfire among teenagers, it's often hard to tell whether it's really happening or not.

You'd think it would be easy to tell which of these "challenges" are just urban legends spread by concerned parents by how extreme they sound, but one of the real ones involved kids literally setting themselves on fire, so that's no help.

Instead, we'll have to look a little closer at the details to get to the bottom of the "48-hour challenge."

If you ask 100 parents for their worst fears, it's a safe bet that most of them will tell you it involves their children going missing.

YouTube | FilmsPlus

And the "48-hour challenge" sounds like a cruel prank designed to prey on that fear since it involves kids disappearing and seeing how long they can drive their parents crazy with worry.

Depending on how you ask, there seem to be two ways to get "points" in this supposed game.

Getty Images | Lukasz Wierbowski

Since some reports call this the "game of 72" or "12 24 72," participants appear to be graded on how many hours they can stay "missing" for.

The other way to rack up "points" depends on what others do while they're gone.


According to The Miami Herald, players get points for every frantic post on social media about their disappearance.

Additional points apparently come into play if those posts get a lot of likes and shares. Since the "game" apparently spreads through Facebook, this seems like an appropriate aspect of it.

However, if any parents tearfully begged their teens not to partake in this challenge, this is likely the response they would receive.

There's a significant chance that their kids would have no idea what they're talking about. And that's not because this is some little-known challenge that comes from the internet's shadowy underbelly.

As far as we know, it doesn't exist at all.

But to get to the bottom of why this challenge might be a hoax, it helps to know how it started.

Reddit | YourASheep

Fact-checking website traced this challenge back to a 2015 article from The Local in France.

It tells of a 13-year-old girl named Emma who disappeared for three days. When she came back, she wouldn't say where she went or who she was with, but that somebody on Facebook dared her to do it.

Yet even at the time, police weren't convinced that the game actually existed.

YouTube | Phelan Porteous

Since they couldn't find any evidence that people were actually playing it, they figured that Emma was just using that as an excuse.

As far as they could tell, Emma ran away to meet somebody and used the "Game of 72" explanation to avoid having to identify that person. If she didn't outright make the game up, they think she at least pretended to play it.

It also turns out that police departments stateside aren't any more worried about the game's existence than the officers in Emma's case were.

Reddit | [deleted]

The Miami Herald reported that police in Detroit and Cleveland confirmed that no reports about missing children have had any connection to the game.

Furthermore, a representative for the Vancouver Police Department said that no cases involving the challenge have appeared in Canada either.

So it seems as though we don't need to worry about this dastardly challenge leading impressionable kids astray.

Reddit | evopsych

Until an actual confirmed case shows up, we can file the "48-hour challenge" or the "game of 72" or whatever you want to call it away with Vodka-infused tampons as a teen craze that managed to transcend its own non-existence to shock parents.

h/t: Snopes