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Calgary police caution public about 'Game of 72' social media trend expert calls 'horrifying'

Calgary police are warning the public about a social media fad one expert called “horrifying.”

The Game of 72 is an online challenge where youth are dared to vanish for a total of 72 hours and Karen Richards, a social media instructor at Mount Royal University, said it's one of the most disturbing trends she’s seen.

“These games seem to be the latest in a number of online challenges or dares that kids can send to each other,” she said.

While dares can be seen as natural behaviour for some youth, social media magnifies the impact as youngsters, “can connect with thousands of kids across the world.”

“It just makes it that much more easy to have these ideas spread quickly,” she said.

Social media can also make it appear a challenge is popular, when in reality it’s very rare. However, the illusion may be persuasive to vulnerable youth.

Earlier this week, the Vancouver police issued a warning to the public about the game of 72 and now, the CPS is cautioning parents as well.

“We haven’t seen any cases that we’re aware of,” said Sgt. John Hebert, who heads the CPS’s missing person unit. “But when somebody goes missing it creates great angst … within the person’s family circles and that’s where the concern really lies.”

Both CPS and Richards said the best way for parents to address the issue is to talk with their kids about proper social media use and to keep a close watch on their online activity.

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