A sinister new web craze where teenagers are allegedly dared to vanish and not be found for 72 hours could be behind an unexplained disappearance of teenagers across Europe.
‘Game of 72’ is a supposed Facebook-based fad that involves teenagers going missing for 72 hours – or three days – without contacting their loved ones, and then returning home again without explanation.
There have been several reports of missing teenagers in France and the UK that could be linked to the new craze, however there are no known reports that it has arrived to Australia.
News of the game’s existence only came to light when a 13-year-old French girl went missing for three days in the north of the country, before turning up safe and well at her home, the Mirror reports.
The teen, named as Emma by the French press, apparently wouldn’t tell police or her parents where she’d been or who she’d been with – all she said was she had been playing the Facebook game.
“The minor remained very vague about what she had done during this fugue, refusing to give the names of people who would have helped,” French authorities said, according to the Societe website.
Meanwhile, there was speculation that two girls in Britain who went missing last weekend were also playing the game, according to The Daily Express.
However, there are no concrete examples of anyone else playing, despite widespread warnings to parents and their kids by police.
While some social media trends are quite harmless, like the Ice Bucket Challenge raising funds and awareness for motor neurone disease, Game of 72 is the latest chance for young people to risk life and limb for a dare.
In 2014, French youngsters took part in ‘A River or a Restaurant’ in which they challenged each other via Facebook to throw themselves into water or face the ‘fine’ of purchasing meals for that nominator.
The fad led to tragedy when a teen drowned after tying his bicycle to his leg before riding into a river.
Before that, Neknominate – which saw people posting videos of them downing alcohol before tagging a friend on Facebook to do the same – is thought to have claimed the lives of up to five people in the UK and Ireland.
Parents have taken to Facebook to warn other parents of the dangers involved with the latest fad, Game of 72.
They have been instructed to monitor their children’s Facebook accounts on their computers, tablets and mobile phones.
The Vancouver Police Department warned about the seriousness of missing people, but did not comment on the media game directly, Constable Brian Montague told mic.com.
Constable Montague said in Vancouver alone there were 3000 to 4000 missing people reports every year, which was about 10 each 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 told Global News.
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,” Constable Montague said.
“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.”