The parents of an Evansville teen are warning families of a dangerous game circulating through social media.
“We’ll find happy spots here or there. We’ll see something on tv and say that’s Mason and you know it’ll bring a memory back from something,” says Steve Bogard, Mason’s Dad.
For the Bogard family, 15-year-old Mason Bogard could be described as someone with a larger-than-life personality.
“An adventure seeker, he had no boundaries,” says Bogard. “I don’t know if I ever saw him afraid of anything except a zip-line. He didn’t like the zip lines. He would stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon with arms spread open wide.”
A parents worst nightmare–a social media challenge gone wrong.
“He just left a big hole in our life,” says Bogard.
The ‘choking game,’ the ‘knockout game,’ the ‘pass out’ game are just some of the names for a challenge circulating across social media. It requires a person to choke themselves to the point of almost passing out and then stopping which is said to create a type of high.
The game critically injured Mason forcing him to be hospitalized. Shortly after, Mason passed.
“Hug your kids and tell them you love them and don’t sweat the little things,” says Bogard. “I think part of it for one was spreading the word to show people these kind of things-this is what it can lead to.”
A video sharing Mason’s Honor Walk before donating his organs.
“Mason was able to help five people continue their life,” says Bogard. “You know it’s very rewarding if it was only going to be one person you know you’re helping someone. He’s helping someone.”
Now the Bogard family is making it their mission to share #MasonsMessage.
“I have never heard of the choking challenge,” says JoAnn Bogard, Mason’s Mother. “So I’m sure there are other parents who have never heard of it, but all of the challenges out there and all of the things they are exposed too that aren’t age appropriate.”
All starting with a conversation.
“Face-to-face sit down and have that conversation with them about the dangers that are out there on the Internet,” says Bogard. “Just try and keep teaching them and telling them it’s dangerous to try certain things that you might think are safe, but can go horribly wrong in seconds and they can use Mason as an example of what can go horribly wrong.”
Day-by-day Mason and his message is living on and possibly saving another life.
“We love him first of all. Of course he heard that everyday,” says Bogard. “We’re going to take it from this point forward and he’s going to go fishing and have fun where he’s at. We are here and we’ll try to protect other kids here and I’m sure we’re going to ask him to watch over us and we’re not mad at him. Not disappointed. Not mad, but we miss him and we do talk to him.”
The Bogard family says they have heard from people all over the world in response to their message. They hope to eventually speak in schools and teach students about the dangers of social media and how to stay safe.