There is a new game circulating in social networks and it is becoming dangerously viral, it is terrorizing parents and it could jeopardize children’s safety. Dubbed ‘Game of 72’ its alleged rules are simple: when teenagers are challenged they have to disappear without a word for 3 days.
The winner is who creates the greater hysteria among the adults around him. Meanwhile, the youngster has to avoid contacting anyone during those long 72 hours.
Police worldwide has warned of this dangerous game existence, which allegedly travels around social media and which would have originated with the disappearance of a 13-year-old French girl, who went missing for three days and after being found safe, she said that she had taken on a social media dare.
Parents need to be aware of a new “game” traveling around social media involving teens daring each other to vanish for 72 hours #Gameof72
— Revere Police (@reverepolice) Mayo 1, 2015
To this day, there is no evidence of this game really being played. According to the authorities investigating the disappearance of the French girl, she most likely made up the existence of the game to protect the person with whom she had disappeared.
However, hoax or true, this ‘game’ could be understood by youngsters as true and might trigger a boom of real cases of teenagers playing to disappear. Either way, the ‘Game of 72’ or its spreading hoax could become one of the many dangers teenagers face on social media, as are sextortion or cyberbullying.
Parents have to try to avoid this kind of situations or at least to minimize their children’s risk in their journey through social networks. This can be done by educating children on the responsible use of these platforms.
How to educate children on the responsible use of social media
- Control, as far as possible, the sites they visit, by checking the browser history. In addition, there are browsers for children that block inappropriate content.
- Allow them to have their own profile on social networks, when they are old enough. According to the Spanish law, you have to be at least 14 years old, though it is really simple to do it before, they just have to lie about their age. We must be on the lookout and make them comply with the minimum age.
- Initiate them into the privacy world: while adults know more or less what we can share online when it comes to personal information, children have to learn where to draw the line.
- Have your own profile on the social network your children visits. Monitor their actions on the networks can be done not only from a computer screen.
- Try to spend some time with them while they are on the computer, is a good way of knowing what they usually do on social networks. We must talk with them and explain them the dangers of the Internet.
The fact that the ‘Game of 72’ may be a hoax doesn’t mean that social networks are a safe place. If not an absurd challenge to vanish for 72 hours, there are others dangers lurking on the world of social platforms. That’s why, we should educate our children as soon as possible and monitor, as far as possible, their Internet activity could be key to avoid greater evils.