In all of life's hectic-ness lately, I had heard a news story pertaining to a girl who had committed suicide and it had something to do with myspace. I was sitting with the kids this morning while they ate their breakfast and was reading the paper when I came across this article. I learned the details of that story.
Editorial: An Internet tragedy
A girl's suicide after cyber hoax shows that children aren't the only ones who can be cruel
Megan Meier was three weeks away from turning 14 last year when she hanged herself after an online relationship with a boy named Josh Evans ended in a flame of Internet vitriol.
Her world crashed suddenly, within the course of a day, as even her friends joined in on the cyber dumping, trashing her on the social Web site MySpace.
What Megan never knew is that she was the victim of a vicious cyber hoax. There was no Josh Evans. He was made up by a woman - a mother, making her actions all the more despicable - who lived four doors down from Megan's home in suburban St. Louis. The woman told police she wanted to monitor what Megan said about her daughter. The girls had been close but had had a falling out. The woman involved her daughter and others, but she was the mastermind.
She had Megan pegged, creating the perfect lure for a girl she knew struggled with depression and low self-esteem - a cute, sympathetic 16-year-old boy. In online conversations "he" complimented her. He said she was pretty.
And after six weeks of niceties he unleashed the terror of the Internet.
He wrote that she was mean to her friends and that he wanted to end the relationship. A chorus of people she knew quickly joined in to agree. An Internet poll appeared. Was Megan fat? A slut? During that single day of online piling on, Josh wrote that the world would be better off without her.
Megan's parents said they closely monitored her Internet use, but in the hyperspeed of the Internet, it all happened too fast. Prosecutors say no laws were broken because the law doesn't cover such online behavior.
Megan's tragic death is a sobering lesson for parents. Bullies aren't just in the schoolyard but also in their victims' homes via the Internet. It is up to parents to teach their children how to deal with bullies, and to teach them the sad reality that it isn't only children who can be cruel.
I was hit hard by the details of this story. I am ashamed to share a label with this instigator - MOTHER.
It made me think: Aside from the obvious things I am thankful for - first and foremost, my husband, and then my beautiful children, I am most thankful for being given the opportunity to be a mother. To be in charge of teaching someone how to be a good, honest human being. To live life with love and respect. I am the first to say - that sometimes on the exterior, with everyday pressures to live life in high gear - I may not always come across that this is an easy,fulfilling job. The underlying reality to all of it is - I am very, very thankful for all I have in my life.
I made it a point to read this article to the kids this morning. It has and will continue to be important to teach our kids what bullying can do to others. I was sad to have to tell them, that mothers can fall into that category as well.