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3 A.M. CHALLENGE: The latest viral online trend gets kids out of bed searching for paranormal activity

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The “3 A.M. Challenge” is the latest social media trend taking over the Internet. It encourages kids to wake up during the middle of the night, leave their rooms in search of paranormal activity, and post their findings in a video online.

Shel DeLisle is concerned Waukesha parent. She has three daughters, one of them a teen. DeLisle is no stranger to these viral trends. She says she had to take her daughter to the doctor after she participated in the "Cinnamon Challenge." DeLisle says these trends aren't safe.

“Some of the videos on Youtube show people actually being injured and stabbed with a knife because they made a mistake and messed up while they were trying to stab a voodoo doll,” DeLisle said. “I don't think kids necessarily possess the ability to see the consequences of some of their actions.”

3 A.M. Challenge videos have millions of views and likes on YouTube. Some kids putting their lives in danger and themselves out there for all to see in order to get those likes.

“It's very quick and easy to post something and get 1000 likes,” Joy Hartman, Child Therapist, said. “But 1000 likes doesn't equal 1000 friends and 1000 likes doesn't equal 1000 connections so these kids are getting a false sense of connection to the world.”

Each new challenge video posted to the web is trying to one-up the next.

“Kids love the thrill, they love the passion, they love the excitement of it,” Hartman said. “They are seeking that. They don't have the regulation skills slow it down.”

Officer Kelly DeJonge works every day with teens at Nicolet High School in Glendale. She says the students are not allowed to use their cell phones in the classroom, but in the hallways everyone is on their phones.

“I look to be knowledgeable about these trends and know the potential dangers that kids are taking part in so I can try to educate them and provide some information to them if it does become dangerous,” Officer DeJonge said.

The trend has not hit Wisconsin yet, but when it does the Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will be ready for it. They have a free podcast called Keeping Kids Safe Online. It covers different online trends and explains the latest technology and apps kids are using so parents can be aware of what's out there.

“Parents need to be aware of it,” Matt Joy, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Director, said. “They need to ask questions and find what are the trends at school, what's going on, what's happening. Ask those hard questions about online activities. We highly that recommend parents don't allow children to have their devices in their rooms at night.”

DeLisle is all too aware of these risks. She says she keeps a close eye on her daughter's internet usage and makes sure she knows the dangers that lurk online.

“What kind of creeper is going to come into your life just based on something they saw on your YouTube channel?” DeLisle said. “It's not so hard to find people anymore if you know how to look on the internet, so what are you bringing into your life that is going to cause problems later?”

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