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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kids as young as kindergarteners are waking themselves up in the middle of the night and sneaking off, hoping to catch paranormal activity on camera.

“That’s really frightening as a parent,” said Debbie Breen, a licensed family counselor with South Charlotte Family Counseling.

“3 a.m., the witching hour, that’s just really dangerous for kids.”

The goal of the challenge: wake up at 3 in the morning, catch something scary on video, then post it to YouTube.

“This is just setting a dangerous precedent I think,” said Erik Goldfield, a licensed child counselor who specializes in the impact of social media.

“The biggest role models now for teens and young people are YouTubers. These are who our kids are looking up to, and they’re going to want to emulate that behavior.”

Every night children are waking up, literally seeking out danger, all for ‘likes.’

“This is critical for parents,” Breen said. “You need to talk with your kids about it.”

While the children may see a challenge that’s all in good fun, sneaking off in the middle of the night without mom and dad; that’s what real nightmares are made of.

“Just because everybody else is allowing their kid to go wander the neighborhood at 3 a.m., be okay with saying no,” Goldfield said. “Say no, I’m going to put a stop to this.”

Savannah Levins, WCNC

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