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The scary new Facebook game thats worrying parents
Children across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States have started playing The Game of 72, which challenges kids to disappear from real life for three days. - photo by Herb Scribner
Teens are playing a disappearing act on their parents with a new and nefarious social media challenge called The Game of 72, which dares teens to disappear from and have absolutely no contact with their parents for 12, 24 or 72 hours, NECN reported.

The game, which has inspired the hashtag #GameOf72, originated in France when a 13-year-old girl named Emma disappeared for three days. When she was found, she wouldn't tell authories where she went, but only said she had played the Game of 72. The game has now slowly crept into parts of England and the United States.

The Game of 72 starts when someone receives a private message on social media asking them to play the game, NECN reported. The person who receives the message then has to completely disappear both online and offline for, in most cases, three straight days.

As you might imagine, this game hasnt gone over well with local authorities and parents. After all, theres an average of 90,000 people missing in the United States at any time. This new challenge would only add to the burden of authorities.

"It is beyond foolish," Constable Brian Montague told The Huffington Post B.C. "Each year we have between 3,000 to 4,000 missing persons cases in Vancouver alone. This would add to the already overburdened workload of our officers, not to mention all the grief and torment it would cause parents."

This challenge has been a reminder for parents that they need to keep track of what their teen does on social media. Thats why police and local authorities have sent out warnings to parents to take a preemptive strike against The Game of 72, as many American teens havent started playing yet.

Expert Jesse Miller of Mediated Reality, a media safety organization, told The Vancouver Province that parents should monitor their childs social media habits to make sure their teens arent participating in this new fad.

This game is not unlike a Facebook challenge in France last year called "To the water or a restaurant," where social media users were challenged to either pay for someones meal or throw themselves into a river, according to The Huffington Post. The challenge caused the death of one teen, who drowned after he jumped into the water, HuffPost reported.

And then there was the cinnamon challenge, where youngsters were dared to swallow scoops of cinnamon. The challenge left some teens sick, poisoned and even with collapsed lungs, according to The New York Times.

The concern over these challenges has led parents to take more consideration into what their teens are doing on social media. The Wall Street Journals Anton Troianovski suggests parents familiarize themselves with social media websites so they can better understand what their teen may be doing online.

He also says parents should look at who their children are friending online, what specific pages teens are visiting and who might be following their child on social media.

This is something parents are already doing to a certain extent. I wrote about a Pew study back in March that found the majority of parents are already friends with their teens on Facebook. Parents have also started following their children on Twitter and other social media pages, like Instagram and Snapchat.

It also might be important for parents to help their teens understand the risks of social media. Our own Chandra Johnson talked to experts who said its important for parents to use social media alongisde their children so that teens feel comfortable talking to their parents about the problems they run into online.

"You have to walk the road with them. Its like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, parenting blogger Kay Wyma told the National. "If theyre telling me about their day, Ill ask them how something made them feel. And if theyre holding their phone Ill say, 'How does that make you feel?'"
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