Depressed teen's cry for help heard via Xbox LIVE

A 14 year-old Canadian boy is being credited as potentially saving the life of a fellow gamer, following his quick response to his friend’s online cry for help.


An effective, if unconventional use of the system.

According to police statements, the Canadian had logged on in late February when he noticed his online aquaintance – a 14-year old Texan – was “feeling pretty down on himself, feeling pretty worthless”. The Canadian asked his parents what they thought he should do about the situation, and they promptly called the police.

We’re not sure quite how the situation was explained, but an officer soon arrived, bringing with him experience in crisis negotiation. The officer – and the Canadian boy – spent more than two hours chatting with the American, trying to determine the boy’s location.

Thunder Bay Police spokesman Chris Adams describes the incident on behalf of the officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, but stayed in conversation with the boy the entire time:

“It was very intense, and a lot of back-and-forth to gain the trust of the kid at the other end of the headset.

“It took a lot of digging, asking the right questions, trying to narrow it down.

“More importantly, it took building a rapport. He was definitely going into his toolbox, and trying to come up with as many options as he could, but he described the experience as being ’emotionally draining’ because of the level of intensity that he had to go through to build that rapport.”

The officer eventually discovered the Texan teenager was at home, with his father in another room. Following further conversation, the boy was convinced to go and get his father, so Dad could talk to the officer via the Xbox LIVE headset.

Dad, understandably, was “shocked, but very grateful”. He knew his son had been struggling with some issues, involving a form of autism, but had no idea the situation was that bad.

The boys had gamed together before, but did not know each other outside of Xbox LIVE.

Adams continues:

“Games involve a lot of conversation and relationships; most of them are very superficial. But occasionally you might come across something that’s more serious and somebody is actually crying out for help.

“It was nice to see two things: the youth up here that was involved . . . taking it seriously enough to ask about it, and then, of course, it was really great to see the officer being able to negotiate a really great ending.”

(Thanks, Brenna! Source: The Chronicle-Journal)

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