48 hour game – new or hoax? And does it really matter?

Last week saw the explosion on national press, radio and tv of this alleged ‘new’ game – 48 hour missing.

The premise of the game, as reported, is to go missing for 48 hours and participants earn points for the number of shares they get of any missing posts that are put up on social media.

I was asked to speak on BBC Radio Humberside about the game and warn parents.

Initially, I was sceptical. Is this game real? There had only been one reported incidence and that came from a parent in Belfast. The game was being touted as a re-run of the ‘Game of 72’ which alleged occurred in 2015 and led to two French 15 year olds going missing for 72 hours.

News of this ‘game’ took the media by storm and hit the press as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. The more I dug into the story, the more concerned I became. As a professional I had heard of similar ‘games’ but not with the social media element or with this length of time. However, other professionals in my network were confirming similar stories.

Whether or not this game was real, actually wasn’t the point. The real issue was children going off on their own and not returning home for several hours if not days. Many believed what they were doing was harmless. This sort of behaviour is not new. The difference is that we are now more aware of the dangers and risks young people put themselves at.

At the Crossing the Divide Conference this October, delegates learned from experts how easy it was for predators to form a bond with victims which can lead to them being groomed and harmed. We saw how easy it was for teenagers to fall into child sexual exploitation.

Because of all the risks and my passion for protection young people, I decided that this was a topic that needed discussion.

It doesn’t matter if this game is real. The risks are the same for young people whether they go missing intentionally for hours or go to that party but tell their parents they are sleeping at a friends house.

Whatever the reason, as professionals we need to be open to the reasons young people take the action they do and help them to protect themselves the best they can.

You can listen to my BBC Radio Humberside interview here.

It’s at 2hours  5mins in.

Join Kate and other child protection professionals in The Safeguarding Academy community.

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Katherine T Young Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

 

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