SOMERSET -- Somerset Police Chief and SEMLEC Search and Rescue Control Chief George M. McNeil and the members of the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council would like to warn parents about a troubling new online challenge among teens called the "48-Hour Challenge" where they pretend to go missing for several hours and are awarded "points" for getting mentioned on social media.

It should be noted that there have not been any incidents of this trend taking place in southeastern Massachusetts, but Chief McNeil and the SEMLEC Control Chiefs would like to make parents aware of the 48-Hour Challenge and ask them to talk to their children about the risks and consequences of taking part in such a trend.

"Missing children and teens and the effort that goes into trying to locate a person that has been reported missing is a very serious situation," Chief McNeil said. "A trend like this could be cause for SEMLEC Search and Rescue to be mobilized to a community and spend hours looking for a person that his not actually missing or in danger. This would tie up vital resources that could be going toward dealing with real emergencies."

The SEMLEC Command Chiefs recommend that parents speak to their children about how they utilize social media and ask parents to be vigilant in monitoring their children's activities online.

"We want to make sure that parents are aware of this situation and hopefully there will not be any incidents in our communities. Of course, if you believe your child has gone missing please do not hesitate to call 911 or reach out to your local police department," Chief McNeil said. "With that said, Chapter 269 Section 13A makes it a crime for anyone who 'intentionally and knowingly makes or causes to be made a false report of a crime to police officers' and charges will be filed accordingly."