Coalisland: Schoolboy 'took own life after online trick'
A County Tyrone schoolboy is understood to have taken his own life after being tricked into posting images on a social networking site, police have said.
The boy has been named locally as 17-year-old Ronan Hughes from Coalisland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said they were investigating the circumstances of his "sudden death" in his home town on Friday.
PSNI officers have also issued advice to young people about the need to be careful when using the internet.
Mid-Ulster district commander Supt Mike Baird warned them not to share personal information online with strangers.
He described the boy's death as "tragic".
"Officers have spoken to pupils at a school in the area and offered advice regarding safe internet use and any type of virtual interaction including social media sites, chatrooms and through interactive games," Supt Baird said.
"If anyone has experienced anything of a similar nature or has received any inappropriate images or links, it is important that they contact police or tell a trusted adult."
Ronan Hughes was a pupil at St Joseph's Grammar in Donaghmore, County Tyrone, and was also a talented Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) player.
His head teacher, Geraldine Donnelly, published a statement on the school's website expressing sadness at the "untimely death of our dear pupil".
"Ronan's family have been heartened by the outpouring of support and sympathy in the last number of days. Together with Ronan's family, we want to try and protect other families from experiencing their terrible grief," Ms Donnelly said.
The head teacher outlined the steps that her staff and other agencies were taking to support pupils affected by the tragedy.
A team of counsellors has been called into the school and will be available from Tuesday onwards - the day the schoolboy's funeral is set to take place.
A PSNI community liaison officer and other professionals will visit the school to offer advice on how to keep safe online.
The teenager was a member of Clonoe O'Rahilly's GAA Club in County Tyrone and in a statement, they said they were "shocked and saddened" by his death.
They described him as a "quiet and modest young lad who was popular among all players and coaches".
"His death has left a dark shadow hanging over our club," they added.
In his appeal, Supt Baird urged young people to report inappropriate contacts on social media, saying: "By doing this you will be helping prevent further such incidents. You will not get into trouble."
The PSNI issued the following online safety guidance to the public:
- Don't share personal information or images with people you don't know
- Don't accept friend requests with someone you don't know
- Set your privacy settings on all devices
- Don't post anything online that you are not happy to be shared
- If someone has made you feel uncomfortable or you have had disturbing interaction online, tell someone you trust