Alberta RCMP urge parents to be aware of online trends

by Morinville News Staff

New trends and viral videos have the Alberta RCMP reminding parents to be aware of their children’s online activity.

Police say they are responding to allegations on social media of the 48-hour challenge, which dares youth to go missing for 48 hours to earn points based on the number of times they are mentioned during their disappearance.

While police are cautioning parents about the challenge, the popular hoax-busting website Snopes says the challenge is in fact a hoax that has been around for many years.

Originally called the Game of 72 [72-hours] and covered in the UK’s Daily Mail in 2015, the challenge hoax has morphed into the so-called 48-Hour Challenge.

Alberta RCMP say their investigations on current and recent missing youth have not revealed any link to the 48-hour-challenge.

Regardless of the challenge’s validity, police say every report of a missing person is taken seriously and investigated with all available resources.

“We don’t want youth putting themselves in danger to keep up with online trends,” says Sgt. Raymond Tardif of the “K” Division Missing Persons Unit. “We remind parents to be aware of their children’s online activities and remind them that fake reports divert resources from legitimate emergencies and investigations.”

Police offer the following parental tips:

· Set rules for what your kids can and can’t do online.
· Teach your kids to check with you before downloading anything.
· Set the expectation that you will monitor children’s use of devices.
· Use parental controls.
· Discuss what children are allowed to share online.
· Keep open lines of communication.
· Encourage kids to talk to you if something makes them feel uncomfortable.

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