Here’s what we know about the alleged ‘TikTok trend’ where kids go missing for 48 hours

Harriet Brewis
Thursday 20 May 2021 08:38
news

The trend reportedly sees children deliberately disappear for two days

(iStock)

Fears have been raised across social media over an alleged TikTok trend which sees children deliberately vanish for 48 hours.

The “challenge” apparently sees kids as young as 14 disappear without a trace “to see how much hysteria they can cause,” according to one social media user.

Rumours surrounding the purported craze began to circulate after two school girls, aged 14 and 15, went missing over the weekend in Stockton, Teesside.

The teens were safely found, and there is no evidence of any TokTok link to the incident, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation.

So what do we know about this frightening-sounding fad? And is it really happening?

What happened in Stockton?

A major search effort was launched to find the two teenagers, as friends, family members and concerned locals trudged through the pouring rain to help police.

The local force confirmed that the pair had been reunited with their loved-ones on Monday but didn’t reveal details on the circumstances surrounding their disappearance.

Despite there reportedly being no evidence to suggest they had been attempting the so-called “go missing craze”, social media users soon began drawing their own conclusions.

Speculation over the trend became so widespread that Cleveland Police were forced to address it in a Facebook post.

They wrote:

So the trend isn’t happening?

Apparently not in that part of northern England, but people aren’t convinced that it’s not happening elsewhere.

The force’s statement was met with a flurry of comments from concerned parents, with one writing: “It’s not just localised to Cleveland, it’s a worldwide trend that is happening, it may not be the reason in some cases but it’s happening a lot worldwide.”

Another shared more information on the craze, which is apparently fuelled by how many “mentions and tags” a participant gets on social media as their loved ones “frantically search for them”:

Others shared their horror that any child would want to put their family through such an ordeal.

One wrote: “The kids that are doing this should be ashamed of themselves. Why would they want to hurt their loved ones like that?”

Another said: “If this is a trend then these kids are crazy!!! Mums & Dads put trackers on your kids iPhones (find friends). There’s [sic] many other apps, at least you’ll know where they are or where their last location was…”

A third said it would make sense if the trend were happening because “the amount of kids that go missing [and are] then found after loads of fuss and no reason is just getting ridiculous. It’s daily.”

While a fourth said bluntly: “This has to be the dumbest trend going.”

However, while many users insisted harsh punishments should be dished out to anyone participating in the trend, one posted a reminder that kids are still exactly that… kids.

“Even it is a game they are still unsafe and not protected from harm,” she wrote.

“Let their families and support teams get on with their job and stop assuming that it wouldn’t happen to you or your family.”

So far, Indy100 has not been able to find any firm proof of this trend being carried out.

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