Experts and teen's father say viewers played role in webcasted suicide
A Miami teenager killed himself after announcing his plan hour before on his blog.
Abraham Briggs, 19, broadcast the last moments of his life on a webcast and experts and his father say those who watched the video and followed the blog contributed to his death, according to USA Today.
Biggs, who was a student at Broward College, died of a combination of benzodiazepines, which he was prescribed for bipolar disorder, and opiates, according to USA Today.
Police found him dead in his father's bed 12 hours after he declared on a bodybuilding website that he planned to commit suicide.
His father said it was "unimaginable" that neither the website's operators nor any viewers alerted the police, according to BBC News.
Reports say that some viewers who logged in to watch encouraged the teenager to kill himself, while others tried to dissuade him, according to BBC News.
After several hours, when he had not moved some viewers finally notified the site's moderator, who then called the police, according to BBC News.
"Those individuals who were egging Mr. Biggs on in essence were able to depersonalize," Keith Whitworth, a professor of sociology at Texas Christian University who studies Internet fraud and social networking sites told USA Today. "They would not do it face to face, but in the computer medium they were able to absolve themselves of any personal responsibility for their actions."
Whitworth told USA Today at least one other Internet suicide has occurred. It was Kevin Whitrick, 42, who hanged himself in front of his webcam while others watched in 2007 in Britain.