Parents are being warned about a Facebook 'game', dubbed The 48-Hour Challenge, which is encourages teens to go missing for 48-hours.
Children as young as 14 are being reported missing, according to The Mirror.
The publication also reports that the missing teenagers get a higher 'score' the more they get mentioned by worried family and friends.
One mother whose child disappeared recently said, 'This is a competition and it's sick.'
'The anxiety it left our family in is unspeakable,' she said. 'My child and others left Co Down and Co Antrim and were found 55 hours later in Ballymena (almost 50kms away).'
The mother continued, 'I was terrified they were dead or would be raped, trafficked or killed. But these kids just think it’s 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.'
When police visited the teenager’s school pupils assured officers it was just a Facebook challenge and would be over within 48 hours. But the kids ignored the 48-hour goal and kept the game going.
The mum said: 'We got lucky this time. Another teenager may not be so lucky and I dread to think of the consequences that could bring about.'