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By Eric Lieberman
An 11-year-old boy from Michigan, who thought his girlfriend was going to commit suicide, died Tuesday after attempting to kill himself three weeks prior.
Katrina Goss, the mother of Tysen Benz, says her son was “pranked” and “manipulated” by a 13-year-old-girl who purported she was going to take her own life.
“She told him she was going to kill herself and used other friends’ social media accounts to put forth further fake proof that she did so,” Goss said, according to CBS. “He even said he was going to kill himself and she didn’t make any attempt to call me or someone else to try to stop him. [His death] should never have happened.”
Goss said she disapproved of her son’s relationship with the older girl, and tried contacting her parent and aunt to stop the two from seeing each other.
The boy allegedly purchased a cellphone from a friend in secret so he could communicate with the girl, according to the New York Post.
The mother hopes that she gets charged to the fullest extent of the law.
The Marquette Police Department confirmed that an investigation is underway, but would not verify any of Goss’ claims.
“Please monitor all of your children’s technological device usage,” Goss said, appealing to parents everywhere, according to CBS. “It is not an invasion of privacy. It is imperative to know what they are doing and to whom they are socializing with.”
On a GoFundMe page established while Benz was on life support, the description also implores parents and guardians to “communicate with your children about life’s precious gift and the danger’s of the internet.”
The tragic incident reignites the debate over social media and its potentially dangerous consequences. (RELATED: Facebook Thinks It Solved The Revenge Porn Problem)
Several people have committed suicide while using Facebook Live, the social media companies live-streaming function, and other similar platforms.
Frederick Jay Bowdy, an aspiring actor, killed himself in North Hollywood earlier this year while using Facebook’s live stream, just days after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A 14-year-old girl from Florida took her own life in January. Friends and other Facebook users witnessed the death on the platform’s live stream, reports the Miami Herald.
A 12-year-old girl in Georgia in December live streamed her own hanging in the front yard of her home, explaining to viewers that she had been sexually molested by a family member.
Suicides aren’t the only horrific situations broadcasted live through social media.
Quite famously, four Chicago suspects streamed the torture of a mentally handicapped “white boy” on Facebook Live, with widely viewed footage showing the black perpetrators beating the man and forcing him to drink toilet water. (RELATED: Chicago Torturers Could Face Up To 30 Years In Prison)