A Los Angeles jury is set to deliberate the suicide of a Missouri teen who was emotionally tortured on MySpace and committed suicide. In yet another blow to the human race, a 47-year-old woman posed as a 13-year-old boy to tease and humiliate a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier.
Lori Drew, the 47-year-old woman, lived just a few houses down from Megan. She was upset that Megan had been teasing her daughter in school, and sought revenge. I’d like to take a moment here for you all to read that sentence again, focus on “sought revenge.” We’re talking about 13-year-old girls here. I know they are mean to each other, but as a parent, don’t you sort of prepare for this type of thing to happen in your daughter’s life? Has there even been a kid who wasn’t made fun of at some point in their life? It is part of growing up. It is what shapes us into who we are. As a parent, you have an ethical responsibility to teach your children to overcome those obstacles, not to retaliate to the degree that Lori did. </rant>
Lori is being charged with conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of inflicting emotional distress, a sentence that faces a maximum of 20 years in a federal prison.
I hate to see social networks like MySpace and Facebook as means to deliver these attacks. I can’t imagine it will get any easier as more social networks roll out. Hopefully we won’t be hearing about 50-year-olds seeking revenge against an eight-year-old who said he didn’t like their kid in 140 characters or less on Twitter.
Taylor Pratt is a Search Marketing Specialist at nFusion, a results focused marketing agency.