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Stark warning after Michigan teen charged for encouraging suicide of Texas boy during online game

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A Michigan teenager has been charged for encouraging a Texas boy to commit suicide while they were chatting over a gaming messaging app.

“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,” FOX 2 Detroit reported. 

Authorities say the boys were chatting over Discord while gaming with a group of kids online. 

Investigators found a chat log which showed the victim telling the Allen Park, Michigan teen his thoughts of suicide, and he encouraged the Texas teen to go through with it, which he did. 

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“I think some of the ramifications that kids don’t understand is that, hey, there is someone actually on the other end of the phone or there is someone actually on the other end of the computer and that words, things you say and do matter,” Lt. Ken Washington, a public information officer with Montgomery County Precinct 3, told FOX 2.  

The station learned the Michigan boy and his family flew to the Lone Star State, where he was charged with felony aiding suicide and misdemeanor harassment causing death, and plead guilty. 

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PC microphone

Professionals who work with teens encourage parents to be involved in their online activities.

“It’s really important that we talk to teens, we talk to youth, to help them understand the reality of the virtual world, virtual gaming, chat rooms, all of that,” Dr. Jamie Freeny, the director of the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston told FOX 26 Houston.

PC gaming setup

Discord did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its website says it was founded in 2015, and “is used by everyone from local hiking clubs, to art communities, to study groups.” Discord has a dedicated “safety center” with resources for users and parents. 

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