New parents are often up all night with crying babies who have yet to learn that sleep is an essential activity for all human beings. By the time your kids are teenagers, they’ve learned to doze. You might say they’ve become sleep geniuses, the way they’ve mastered the art of snoozing well past breakfast (and into the lunch hour if you let them). Perhaps you’re a bit nostalgic for the days when you could snuggle them in a rocking chair at 3 am, sleep-deprived as you no doubt were.
Good news! Those days of sleep deprivation might be making a comeback if a new trend manages to gain more of a foothold among Canadian teenagers. (Disclaimer: there is no sweet snuggling, rocking, or singing of lullabyes involved this time. Sorry.)
The Game of 72 is yet another social media-based fad being adopted by teens (recall: the cinnamon challenge, purple drank, planking, and pouring vodka into your eyeball like you don’t care whether or not you ever see again). The object of the “game” is to disappear for three days, leaving parents on the verge of having their first early-onset stroke because they’re beside themselves over their child’s unknown whereabouts.
A huge manhunt was recently undertaken in England after two British teens went MIA (no, not this MIA) after school one Friday only to be found unharmed on Monday morning, citing the Game of 72 as the reason for their heart-attack-inducing absence.
While incidents of the game have yet to be reported in Canada, experts are weighing in with advice on how to prevent kids from getting caught up in such a boneheaded trend. “It is important for parents to say, ‘Let me tell you what it would be like for me,'” says parenting pro Kathy Lynn. “Talk about your terror, your fear, your concern, what it would do for you if your child suddenly disappeared for 72 hours.”
Alternatively, parents may just want to play their own little game of 72: preemptively grounding their teens for the next 72 months. Or until they turn 30. Whichever comes first, right?