Move over Tide Pods, police are cracking down on a dangerous Ikea challenge
It seems the internet can't get enough of dangerous challenges.
UK police have issued a warning about a teen craze called the "24 hour challenge" after an 11-year-old went missing while sleeping over in Ikea. It seems the internet can't get enough of dangerous challenges.
11-year-old Kaden Mirza from Sheffield, UK, was reported missing earlier this week after he didn't return home from school. Mirza was found the following day after having spent the night inside Ikea as part of the viral internet trend. The boy's father, Abid Mirza, posted a warning to parents on his Facebook—which has since been made private—stating that his son had been participating in a "stay in Ikea overnight and not get caught challenge."
After the incident, South Yorkshire police issued a warning about the dangers of the challenge.
Per the police statement, the challenge "encourages members of the public, particularly youngsters, to hide and build forts in large stores and warehouses overnight, before sneaking out the next morning."
The trend took off back in 2016 after Belgian YouTubers Bakuna Fatata filmed themselves sleeping over in Ikea. Since then, it appears young people around the world have been attempting similar sleepovers in stores.
In the statement, detective inspector Anna S
edgwick specified the potentially "catastrophic" dangers that could befall someone taking part in this challenge.
"Warehouses and shopping departments contain large quantities of heavy stock and items that could easily fall and crush someone if they are moved incorrectly, or used to build makeshift forts," said S
"There is also the potential risk of electrical faults and fires, which could have devastating consequences," S
She went on to state that, in addition to the safety risk, there's a risk that this challenge could lead to "large scale searches" and missing persons reports.
"This not only causes fear and worry for parents, friends, family and the local community but can also be a waste of valuable police time, which may be needed to respond to a life or death situation," S
She said police are working with local schools and community groups to "raise awareness of the dangers" carried by this trend. She advised parents to "give a little guidance" to their kids about the challenge. "A few words of advice could save your youngsters life," she added.
Mashable reached out to Ikea for a comment, and will update this post upon receiving a response.