WATCH: Global News spoke with social media expert Jesse Miller and VPD spokesperson Cst. Brian Montague, to get their perspectives on the Game of 72 trend and what parents can do to get in front of the problem.
VANCOUVER – Police are warning parents about a teen Facebook challenge making the rounds online. It’s called Game of 72 and it’s a challenge to teenagers on the social network to completely vanish for 72 hours.
They are not to tell anyone where they are and the more mayhem and panic that is caused, the more points that teen is awarded.
The Vancouver Police are worried enough to issue a warning about it.
Const. Brian Montague says in Vancouver alone they get 3,000 to 4,000 missing person’s reports every year, about 10 a day. “So to add to the workload of our obviously very busy investigators, for cases that are a prank or a game, is something we don’t want to see.”
He adds, as far as he knows, they have not had any cases of this game happening in Vancouver.
“We have to treat every single missing person’s case as if it’s serious,” says Montague. “With a police investigation being launched into a missing person’s situation, I think one of the important things to remember is, part of someone’s private life could be made very public in an effort to safely locate them. And I think that hits home a little bit with kids, rather than the consequences of police being notified.”
Montague adds a missing person’s case uses a “tremendous amount” of resources. There is also the possibility that person could face charges if a missing person’s case turns into a criminal investigation.
Social media expert, Jesse Miller, says this is one of those Internet trends that has picked up some notoriety from Europe. “This is an absolutely ridiculous idea,” he says.
Montague says this is a good opportunity for parents to have a discussion with their children about what they are doing online and what behaviours they are engaged in.
“Proactive dialogue is always beneficial,” adds Miller. “That doesn’t matter whether it’s an online or offline issue.”
While this game does not appear to have spread to Canada at this time, Miller says they are seeing conversations among teens online that they are aware of this game and that can prompt the next step where someone might participate.
“We live in a society of things going viral and if this is a trend that exists in one part of the world, trends travel and social media makes that easier to occur,” says Miller. “What I think is a benefit is if we are opening up a dialogue about something that seems absolutely ridiculous, if a parent does have their child say ‘well that seems stupid, I shouldn’t do that’, that’s a good thing.”