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11-Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide After Social Media Prank

I remember when I was younger, I used to emotionally invest in things like no one's business. This led to be me being absolutely crushed when something didn't work out. So much so, that I didn't feel like living anymore.

I've suffered with bouts of depression for a large part of my life, and the only way I've been able to punch it in the face is going after what I really want to do in life. The days where I work towards that are when I'm at my happiest. The days I settle are comfortable at first, but late at night while I'm lying in bed, that's when the terror sinks in.

For the most part, as an adult, I find myself not truly giving any one person my heart wholeheartedly. I'll invest emotionally in new friends or low-maintenance relationships because I can turn them on and off at a moment's notice. I find it much more difficult to sustain love and happiness in the most meaningful of my relationships, which is something I'm working on. The thing is though, this is something I was only able to learn after years of figuring things out and being hit in the face with honesty. Plus, I've been fortunate enough to meet truly good friends in the past few years who've helped shape me to become a better person. But some people aren't so lucky.

11-year-old Tysen Benz took his own life after a social media prank left him thinking his 13-year-old girlfriend committed suicide.

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Benz's mother, Katrina Gross said, "She did a prank that made it look like she killed herself and used other friends and their accounts to make it look like she killed herself."

Goss found her son on March 14th and rushed him to the hospital, but he passed away on April 4th.

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Her son led a life that Goss knew little of. He had purchased a phone from his friends without her knowing. She had no idea he was dating someone and expressed anger as to why anyone would come up with such a morbid and manipulative prank.

"I’m quite angry. I feel like, yeah, they’re young and all that, but I feel like when you’re 13, you’re completely knowledgeable of your choices and you know right from wrong. You can make your own choices. I do feel like she took advantage of a younger boy to control and manipulate him.‘I don’t feel like it should be taken lightly. She should be held legally responsible for this horrific prank."

Officials who are investigating the case say that Benz's girlfriend may be tried as an adult.

The tragic event has Goss urging other parents to communicate more with their children and reach out to them often.

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"I urge families to speak out, reach out and communicate with your children about life’s precious gift and the dangers of the internet and texting and how telecommunications can have the same effects as speaking face to face. I want Tysen to be remembered as he was and all the joy he’s brought to everyone. Keep his spirit alive by standing strong & fighting against social media bullying."

She's currently set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical bills before his tragic passing. She wrote of her son:

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"On Tuesday March 14 he impulsively chose to end his own life as a result of a horrific act of a social media prank which is under investigation by authorities. He clung on with the help of life support until Tuesday April 4th. He has now been set free and can rest in peace. He was loved by everyone he knew and he will absolutely never be forgotten. I urge families to speak out, reach out and communicate with your children about life’s precious gift and the dangers of the internet and texting and how telecommunications can have the same effects as speaking face to face. I want Tysen to be remembered as he was and all the joy he’s brought to everyone. Keep his spirit alive by standing strong & fighting against social media bullying."

Remember: Reaching out for support, guidance, and love is always OK. If you, or anyone you know, has mentioned they have thoughts of suicide, you can get help. Call the national suicide prevention hotline at: 1-800-273-8255. 

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