Grandmother warns of new Facebook craze that challenges children to run away
Lynn says she wants to warn parents about the game so they don’t go through the terror of a missing child or grandchild.
PHOTO: Gallo/Getty Images

The grandmother of an 11-year-old schoolgirl who disappeared this week has issued a stern warning about a new Facebook craze in the UK that “encourages children to go missing”.

Lynn Weatherill, from east Hull, was left worried sick when Leah Taylor, her granddaughter, disappeared on Monday. 

Lynn was supposed to fetch Leah from her school, Marvell College, but before she got there, Leah had already vanished from the premises, reports Metro UK.

Her family searched desperately for her, and various social media users reported ‘sightings’ of the little girl, but it wasn’t until 5pm on Tuesday that she was found.

Leah, who was found along with another girl aged 12, has said very little about why she decided to run away but Lynn says she suspects Leah might have been duped into taking part in the so-called ’48-hour challenge’.

“She said she stayed out with a friend but it was nothing to do with this dare. She said she didn’t know about it but she could be lying.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before and I do think it’s because she is getting in with the wrong people.

“I am just glad she is back. I am quite mad at her but I am more relieved that she is at home,” Lynn, who is a paranormal investigator, told Metro UK.

According to The Independent, the 48-hour challenge, which is circulating on Facebook, encourages children to disappear for up to two days.

The trend also gives the child points for every social media mention they get while they're missing.

The Daily Mail reports the game is steadily spreading panic among parents across Britain, as children as young as 14 are believed to have taken part in the dangerous game.

One mother, whose child was ‘in the lead’ because he had disappeared for 55 hours before he was found, says it’s terrifying because these kids find the game funny.

“There was not even a moment of remorse when my child was taken into police custody and when the police brought my child home, I could see posts of selfies from the police car,” she told Daily Mail.

Although Lynn praised those who took to social media to share the family’s pleas for help and those who posted sightings of Leah, she criticised the site for allowing the challenge to continue.

Lynn says she wants to warn parents about the game so they don’t go through the terror of a missing child or grandchild.

“It’s bloody horrible. Facebook needs to put a stop to it and that starts by not letting underage children sign up.”

Sources: Daily Mail, Metro UK, The Independent, Good to know

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Property - Find a new home