Most of the time, when we think of preteens using Snapchat, we think of all the scary things that can happen online.
Bullying, predatory behavior, pornography.
It’s a scary cyber world out there.
But oddly enough, when one 12-year-old with a good heart and sharp instincts managed to use Snapchat to get his friend the help she needed in the nick of time, by responding quickly right when he noticed something was amiss.
Yahoo News reports:
Gabe Rongier had been chatting with his friend, who he met on the social media app through a mutual friend, when he noticed a drastic change in the girl’s emotions. According to CBS Pittsburgh, the girl shared a disturbing post that read she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow.”
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Gabe, not knowing how to alert the authorities in Texas about the girl possibly being a danger to herself, called the suicide hotline.
“I called the suicidal prevention services and it linked me to Officer Chandler [in Texas,]” Gabe told the outlet. “He went to her house, checked up on her. The next day he called me and said, ‘She’s fine. It’s real.’”
Gabe’s parents, Fred and Lori, were informed by investigators that they used geotracking to locate the girl and that they arrived in time to intervene with any plans she may have had.
“Of course, I’m very proud of him, but I really hope that other young people his age might see the story and also be inspired to also take action to help somebody in need just like Gabe did,” Lori said. Fred added, “When he went to bed, I always kiss him and, I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘You’re my little hero.’”
Officer Chandler also sent Gabe, who wants to be a SWAT officer someday, a package in the mail to thank him for his service. Included with a letter was a law enforcement coin, called a “Challenge Coin,” and a badge.
It’s so wonderful to know that the generation now growing up with these oftentimes scary worlds of social media haven’t lost their sense of caring and responsibility for the lives of others.
We certainly hope there are many more young people like Gabe out there willing to reach out and intervene when their friends are in trouble, even from thousands of miles away!