default_cyberbullying

So, today is a big day in that the Megan Meier cyberbullying case is going to trial.  Lori Drew, the neighbor who is accused of creating and using a fake MySpace page to befriend and then break the heart of Megan by posing as a boy who had romantic interest in her.  You know the details, so I won’t rehash them here.  Drew has been indicted on four counts, and the prosecutor is using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as the basis for their case.  Generally speaking, the prosecuting team is arguing that Drew “intentionally accessed a computer without authorization or in excess of authorization,” did so via interstate communication, and violated the MySpace Terms of Service which prohibits providing false information while registering, soliciting information from minors, and using the social networking site to harass others.  I think everything will center around Drew’s mens rea – her criminal “intent.”  This case is fascinating to Justin and I because of the possibility (though unlikely) that a grand precedent is set in terms of how courts view and respond to heinous cases of online aggression.  Maybe a jury will empathize with the Meier family and the portrait the prosecuting team will surely paint of Drew as a cold-blooded, duplicitous, vindictive woman who knew exactly what she was doing all along.

13 Comments
  1. Rachel

    What I think happened to Megan was wrong but she new the possible risks involved when she first started e-mailing this kid. I mean If she didn't she should have and her parents should have been paying better attention to what she was doing. So shame on the parents for not paying attention to the daughter.

  2. Lynne

    I understand what Lori did what completey wrong and childish, but Megan should have been brighter and smarter about her decisions. There are so many online predators out there, thank god it was just her neighbor. Kids these days are not thinking and just talking to anyone online. Most of the time these kids are lost, or searching for someone to make them feel happy, but talking to a random stranger (no matter how cute or hot he says he his) is just stupid. Parents need to teach their children the dangers of the internet and should inform their children of the consequences.

    I must say however that what Lori did to Megan was unforgiving. To know that someone would do something intentionally to hurt another is just heart breaking. Even if you want to do hurt someone or make them feel bad, this is most certainly not the way. Kids have committed suicide after having been involved in a cyberbullying incident, and knowing this children should be making wiser choices.

    I just cant get over the fact that Lori would do such a thing. Do people not have any soul, dignity, or heart.

  3. Gabriel

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility and parental responsibility? This child should never have been online, albeit without a parent present. We don't allow minors under 17 to view an "R" rated movie, and the internet has far more insidious things. What Lori Drew did was childish, but she was well within her legal right to do it. There was no fraud involved because fraud invloves the acquiescence of money or real property through intentional lies or the intent to decieve. Drew got nothing out of it except a good feeling by making someone else feel bad, which makes her a sociopath not a criminal. Most people on the net are fake anyways. The net is a place where people – adults! – go to become someone else. That is why it is "virtual reality." The parents of the child are the ones responsible for her death, not Drew. But this is what we can expect from a society that has abandoned the virtues of personal responsibility. Moral application: Don't Have Kids!

  4. Brandon

    I think that Drew is to blame as well as the teen. Yes the teen should have been more protected maybe, but you can't just go around bullying little kids as an adult and not expect some kind of action to be taken by the teen. The adult should have known that nothing good could have come from this. She should have acted like an adult and talked to the teen in a more reasonable manner other than resorting to a very childish act such as that. The woman should be punished and severely because she commited a very horrible act in which she did not even think about the consecuinces and someone got hurt…. killed.

    She is definately guilty by me. The teen girl is to blame because she shouldn't have been on the internet talking to this made up guy. She should have known better and it might make some people question the parents authority. But you can't blame the parents because kids are kids and they will find a way to do whatever it is they want to do. So the woman should be the one to take the majority of the blame, not the teen girl.

  5. Denise

    We live in a cyberworld; anyone who thinks teenagers "should not be on the internet" simply doesn't understand the world today. The truth is that teenagers DO live in a cyberworld and will continue to do so the rest of their lives; in college and beyond, they will be required to be online every single day or face failing classes or losing a job. If we keep them off the internet, we are not preparing them as 21st century learners! That's simply fact.

    It is ridiculous to blame the teenager for the reprehensible acts of an ADULT who should certainly know better and who knew EXACTLY the kind of harm she was causing! We will never solve these issues if we continue to minimize them by blaming the victim. Did this girl have other issues? Of course! But that simply makes the actions of this so-called adult bully that much more inexcusable. As a society, we must stand up and say "Enough!" What this woman did was morally reprehensible! How can we as a society do anything BUT hold her accountable? Where's our moral compass, for goodness sakes? If we want our children to learn to be civilized individuals with integrity, we must hold ourselves accountable for modeling those character traits as well!

  6. Sarita

    I'm appalled by the comments here putting blame on the child. This is a common sentiment among adults when talking about bullying. They ask, "How can we get the victim to change so this doesn't happen?". It is your community that is broken if a person is being bullied. We can support the person being bullied but we have no right to suggest they need to change if they want to avoid harassment. The person with the bullying behavior is the one we focus on as well as the bystanders. What is wrong with that person that they feel it is acceptable to behave in an aggressive and negative manner?

    My second thought is will this case have any impact on websites that "bully" people 18 and up? A huge issue I have is with a site called The Dirty.com. People submit photos of others and the anonymous site owner uses homophobic, racist and sexist language to talk about them. So far, I hear it is protected because the photos were public domain–as many were taken from people's facebook pages and freedom of speech. Any thoughts on this type of site is appreciated.

    paz.

  7. Coldview

    What has happened to personal responsibility in America? What has happened to Parental responsibility? EACH of the ADULTS involved in this should have behaved in a more responsible and adult manner.

    Merely saying objectionable things about someone does not make anyone criminally liable for that person taking THEIR OWN life.

  8. Tom

    I agree that parents should have behaved as such, but that is no excuse for someone killing themselves for a few nasty comments from an internet website, where megan did not actually know if this person was really a boy or just the fat mom of her really ugly ex freind who lived in the same sub division. Maybe megan was simply too dumb to go on living and killing herself was an example of her stupidity.What is the point of legislating anything from this, it is not anything new about impersonating someone and then harassing somone else with the fake id.Stupidity will have to be legislated as well.

  9. Alice

    What that group and adults did to that poor girl Megan was sick and cruel.

    There's no excuse for bullying someone online, YOU JUST DON'T DO IT!

    Don't people who do this have anything BETTER TO DO?!!

    Seriously, cyberbullying HAS GOT TO STOP.

  10. amy stevens

    I cannot believe ANYONE is blaming a 13 year old child for believing that a profile was real! Give me a break!!! First Blame goes to the neighbor for being so sick and crule. If it were not for her cruelness that poor child might still be alive. Parents need to take action when their children are online but monotering their use. You pay for the PC/Lap top you have a right to their pass words to check things out. It is not a privacy issue thousands of people might know what your child is posting why should you not know. Come on people put the blame where it belongs and it isn't with a thirteen year old!

  11. Tracey Moffitt

    Just reading some of these comments, i'm sorry if i offend anyone but they are ridiculous. As a teenager, myself, i can tell you all this. Yes the parents should have tried to watch some of the stuff that was written but no teen wants their parents to read their private conversations or even be a part in their social life, so you cannot blame them if Megan didn't let them see what was being written. Megan definitely is not to blame, yes she should have taken precautions, but she can only be as cautious as she is taught, and there is not enough education on cyber safety in most schools. And honestly its called a social website so you can be social and make new friends, i met my boyfriend as a random friend request on facebook. Lori Drew, should have known better than to pick on a young teenager, but there is no way she could have know it would push Megan over the edge, obviously she was not well educated in the repercussions of cyberbullying, and she should have thought about how she would have felt if her daughter, was being cyberbullied like that and had of been sent over the edge. I believe Lori should of used hindsight, she would have known, she should have already known as a mature adult, that, that was not the way to go about things. However, it was Megan's decision to take her life, we all have that decision, many people decide not too, but there are too many people deciding to do it, for multiple reasons. No one is to blame, yes what Lori was wrong and inexcusable but, she is not completely to blame.

  12. Dude

    Okay, this girl is wrong. Even if the intent was just to have fun, the damage it caused is beyond it's measure. She deserves jail time. A lot if jail time.

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