An alleged social media prank gone terribly wrong has resulted in the suicide of an 11-year-old Michigan boy. Tysen Benz's mother, Katrina Goss, found her son unresponsive on March 14, and police say the boy was "engaged in communication with another juvenile via social media prior to the incident." The minor involved has since been charged with "malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime."
Goss claims that the minor charged was Tysen's girlfriend, who "faked her own suicide using various social media sites and also allegedly used social media accounts of her friends to circulate the rumor of her suicide." Following her actions, Goss says her son, who reached out to the girl's friends expressing thoughts of suicide, hanged himself an hour into the prank. Although he was found unresponsive, Tysen didn't pass away until weeks later in the hospital.
"We had to let him pass on," Goss told People. "He was severely brain-damaged and the doctors told us he would never recuperate, that it wasn't even really him anymore. I was at his bedside for three weeks. We are utterly devastated and we will never get over it."
Goss commented on the fact that her son reached out to friends about his suicidal thoughts and can't understand why no one tried to contact her or the authorities. "I truly don't know what the point of this prank was," Goss said. "I don't even know how that's supposed to be funny, especially if she cared about him at all. I am not sure how that could be a joke."
In light of this tragedy, the devastated mom shared an important comment all parents need to hear: "These kids don't even think what they're doing online is real. They don't comprehend the magnitude of their words and how their actions can impact other people. Parents need to monitor their children's online activities so things like this don't happen."