ALLEN PARK, Mich. (FOX 2) - A teenager from Texas died by suicide after being encouraged to do so by an Allen Park teen on a social platform heavily used by online gamers.
The suicide took place in January in Montgomery County in Texas, north of Houston. The victim shot himself in the head and was found wearing a gaming headset, according to police.
An investigation revealed the Texas teenager had been gaming with a group of kids online and chatting on Discord. A chat log shows the victim told the Allen Park teen about his thoughts of suicide, and he encouraged him to go through with it – which he did.
The Allen Park boy and his family had to fly to the Houston area where he was charged with a felony of aiding suicide, and misdemeanor for harassment, causing death. He pleaded guilty.
"I think some of the ramifications that kids don't understand is that there is someone on the other end of the phone," said Lt. Ken Washington, a public information officer with Montgomery County Precinct 3. "There is somebody on the other end of the computer. …Things you say and do matter."
A psychologist who runs Summerland Camps in Florida, Dr. Mike Bishop, said consistent gaming changes your brain chemistry. As that happens, your self-worth is then tied to the alternate universe.
"The elephant in the room here is where were the parents? I think parents need to get more involved in their child's online activities," Bishop said. "Virtual spaces create real emotions. We see that time and time again."
Allen Park police helped facilitate the investigation in Michigan.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org